Here’s something interesting: the way you respond to specific situations tends to be the way you respond across the board. This is nothing mysterious; it simply reveals some of our character traits underlying our behavior. The goal here is to be aware of your behavior patterns during your career transition. Related: 5 Tips To Navigating Career Transitions Successfully For example: If some of your friends you frequently hang out with make plans to get together without you, what is your first reaction? Do you feel rejected, do you get angry, or do you simply wonder what they’re up to and assume they were just about to ask you? Your reaction to this kind of situation is likely the same you’ll have when you don’t hear back after applying somewhere. (And, as an aside: There are SO many reasons you may not hear back after sending in your resume – especially in response to a job posting – that have NOTHING to do with you. ) Another example – a personal one this time: I tend to want to be prepared and have my ducks in a row. Not very convenient when you’re running a business. So, I’m trying my best to unlearn this trait. It’s also not handy if you’re in career transition, as it may prevent you from taking action until you are “ready” – which, if you’re like me, you’ll never be! Perfection is unattainable. Progress, on the other hand, is a fantastic goal.
On average, people will change jobs 10 times during their lifetime. Whatever your reason for switching jobs—whether it be a desire for a new career path or the result of a downsizing effort—it can be a stressful time. If you find yourself at a career crossroad, the first thing you can do is take control of your finances. Related: How To Battle Your Financial Nemesis Here are some tips for managing your finances during a career transition...
1. File For Unemployment Benefits ImmediatelyTo qualify for unemployment insurance, your previous employer must confirm that you were laid off. Since each state has different eligibility requirements, you can visit the Department of Labor Web site (www.dol.gov) to obtain information regarding your state.
2. Understand Your Severance PackageSome companies allow you to negotiate a severance package. Make sure you get reimbursed for outstanding vacation days and expenses. See if your stock options have vested in order to sell them.
3. Health InsuranceWhen you get laid off, your health insurance may end immediately. One option is COBRA, a federal program that allows you to continue group plan coverage. The coverage period for the federal subsidy is nine months and the eligible period for COBRA is 18 months. The recipient must meet certain requirements, for more information and eligibility requirements, please contact the Department of Labor at www.dol.gov.
4. Retirement AccountsConsider rolling over eligible assets into a new employer’s plan or into an IRA. You need to check with your previous employer regarding eligibility and retirement account options. In addition, you should take into account any potential tax consequences, as well as expenses and sales charges and/or penalties for selling or buying investments before initiating a rollover.
5. Reduce Spending And Avoid DebtTake a look at your monthly expenses and see here you can cut costs. Contact your credit card company to see if you can reduce or defer your payments. You may have to give up such luxuries as cable TV, cell phone, or entertainment.
6. Take Inventory Of Your AssetsFind out exactly how much you have in stock options, mutual funds, savings accounts, checking accounts and retirement accounts. This will help you find out exactly where you stand financially.
3 Things You Shouldn’t DoHere are some things you should avoid doing during a career transition:
1. Withdraw From Your 401(k)Times may be tough, but resist the urge to take money out of your 401(k). You will get hit with income taxes and in some cases a 10% penalty.
2. Rely On A Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC)It will be extremely difficult to obtain a home equity loan while unemployed. But if you already have one, be careful when tapping into it. You could be without a job for a lengthy period of time.
3. Abuse Your Credit CardsIt may be tempting to purchase everything with your credit card, but that can be a mistake. Most credit card companies will raise your interest rates if you miss one payment.
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A career transition from one type of job to another can be a chosen path or it can be like a Tsunami wave that seems to engulf everything in its path. Related: Career Transition For Middle-Aged Professionals In either case, the way a person navigates a career transition translates into the difference between amazing success and failure. Here are five tips for navigating a career transition as effectively and successfully as possible:
1. Accept Help When Faced With A Career TransitionIf you are taking on a career transition on your own ask friends and colleagues in the field for advice, counsel, tips, and introductions. They will be flattered and more times than not they will help you. If you find that one person’s advice and counsel is particularly useful ask them to mentor you on a regular basis. A good mentor can make the transition from one career into another much easier. At the same time they are teaching you, they will be gaining a valuable ally and colleague for future projects and connections. Even though you will be getting more from the relationship initially, every good mentor knows that there will be chances to reciprocate over time. Use transitional services if they are available to you through your previous employer or a government organization. Ex-military, mature workers, immigrants, low income youth and people with disabilities or problematic health issues (especially those that have caused work issues in the past) all have access to government programs and services to help navigate a career transition. In some cases, large corporations will have career transition services available to laid-off employees. Training, resume services, life counseling, and job placement services are often available.
2. Set Up A Weekly Schedule To Learn ThemSuccessful career transitions rarely happen without acquiring new skills. Embrace the learning process and look at this time as an investment in your future. Rarely will there be time to acquire these new skills. Make time by temporarily taking some of your “free time” and devoting it to your self-development. This is an extremely important step for women who often spend much of their “free time” taking care of others. Clearly explain to your loved ones that this is a temporary and essential step to improving your collective future.
3. Don’t Quit Your Day JobHating where you work and what you do is an intolerable permanent situation. However, it is a tolerable temporary predicament. Having the additional income coming in while preparing for a new career prevents stress. In addition, acquiring new skills and preparing for a new career often provides hope and optimism. This optimism can migrate into the current hated career and make it tolerable. Knowing that there is an end to horrible employment is fabulous knowledge.
4. Plan On The UnexpectedA career transition rarely goes to plan. Keeping an open mind about where your new skills can take you helps to increase possibilities and secure an excellent “next career.” For example, taking marketing classes may make it possible to get an excellent job in sales. This may not be the career transition you were expecting, but it might end up being the career you love.
5. Be Kind To Yourself And Keep At ItLearning new skills and making a career transition is stressful and difficult for most adults. Embracing change is tough. Furthermore, a successful career transition takes time. Often, friends and family won’t be as supportive as they could be. If this is the case, make a point of making new connections with people that are optimistic, upbeat, and supportive of your career transition. Local and online support and entrepreneurial groups are excellent places to find support and encouragement. You will get through this!
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Career transition for middle-aged professionals poses particular challenges and hazards we’ve become all too familiar with. “I’m too old,” “they’ll want someone younger,” “I’ve become too expensive,” and “They might see me as past my prime or otherwise burned out” are all common and fairly logical assumptions that 50-somethings have made since the Great Recession of 2008 reared its ugly head and produced a jobless recovery. Yet we all know more experienced contributors and leaders offer a great deal more insight and wisdom than many of their younger peers. There’s certainly no perception that mature adults suffer from an entitlement mentality or lack of appreciation for work and career, which might otherwise vex their earlier-career counterparts. So, how do you reinvent a paradigm that may be real or imagined (probably both) and stands in the way of helping you land your next role? While this isn’t necessarily simple or easy, remember to think opposite of the herd. Informed candidacy is the key to standing out among your peers. There’s no reason you can’t become your own headhunter; branding this “candidate” you’re representing and developing a strategic marketing campaign that focuses on exploiting opportunities within the hidden job market. It all starts with research because, as they say, “knowledge is power,” and because you’ll have a tremendous added benefit that other headhunter-represented candidates won’t have: there’ll be no fee attached to your scalp! Think in terms of answering the magic question, “What criteria are you using in selecting your next role or ideal employer?” Structure your response in terms of industries, companies, and role titles that make most sense for you, even if they entail a twist or transition from what you’ve been doing. Start with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, which you’ll find at www.bls.gov/ooh/. What are the highest paying and fastest growing industries out there right now? From 2010 – 2020, U.S. job growth will average 14%, or roughly 1.4% per year. However, travel agents will only grow 1% within this ten-year time period, while pharmacists will grow 30%+ in that same window. If you’re in a professional field that’s not linked to a particular industry (e.g., human resources, IT, finance, legal, and the like), then the Handbook will show you very clearly what industries have the greatest demand for your profession in terms of an attached spreadsheet on the “Job Outlook” tab, labeled “Employment by Industry.xls.” For example, if you look up the role “Human Resources Managers,” you’ll find that HR job growth by industry over the next ten years stacks up as follows:
- 72% Home healthcare services
- 41% Social assistance
- -9% Motion picture industry
- -27% Postal service
- 5 Skills For A Successful Career Transition
- 5 Tips To Navigating Career Transitions Successfully
- 6 Tips For Managing Your Finances During A Career Transition
If you want to get rid of the knot in your stomach every time you hear the word “negotiation”, you can’t miss this date. Join Mariela Dabbah for her webinar “Negotiating Skills: From Salary to Your Next Career Move” as she shares the fundamental insights that will reveal old thinking patterns that are interfering with your own goals.