Starting over can always be scary and challenging but if done right, can be so worth it. Many people go to work every day and consider it a chore for some people it can be torture but there are some who have the ability to be happy at work. What does it mean? How can you balance your personal life and your professional life so that you can be successful at work and be happy.
For most people, the ability to walk away from a paying job into the unknown is just not possible. I recently read an article suggesting that everyone should have a “walk away” fund to leave a bad position. However, that walk away fund needs to be pretty large for most people who have responsibilities like mortgages, children’s school bills or even just medical insurance needs. The new rule of thumb is something like 1-2 years’ salary in savings to act as a cushion – it used to be more like 6 months of salary but with the economy and job market the way it has been since the financial services “collapse” 2007-2009 , 1-2 years’ is the safer bet.
That being said, as a country, the USA is full of horrible savers. It is just one of the many economic statistics I have gleaned from teaching Economics and Finance courses for various local colleges since 2003. Our savings rate is next to nothing. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, and if you are one of them – that is great. Some people are just natural savers; it is not the rule though. I often talk, in my classes, about the differences between life here and in, for instance, Italy. Here, we can have 2-4 cars per household (minimum is 2; maximum can be 4 if there are teenagers in the house with driver’s licenses) we have TV in every room and our houses are on average large. Versus living in Italy – all live in apartments, maybe one TV in the house and at most one car (but multiple motorinos – scooters).
In regards to our economy, I have been posting on Instagram an almost photographic journey of how I run my business and what things in the press and economy interest me and I recently put up two pics that show a little bit about how economics is shared with the public. One was a pic of the NY Times recent report on the government’s jobs report for October showing how job creation has improved so much for this month and indicating that the Fed will definitely raise the interest rate by early 2016. The other pic was from NY Post columnist John Crudele saying the jobs report is just magical made up numbers based on how many “phantom jobs” could be created by “new businesses” in October but will probably be dropped back down in November when said jobs did not materialize. It is an interesting read on the economy by two different sources.
Mr Crudele has been providing his cynicism on financial reports put out by the government for at least the last 10+ years (as long as I have been reading his reports). I actually once had his son in one of my classes and that is the first and last time I have taught the child of a “celebrity” – that I know of – but it was one of the most exciting for me because every time I mentioned an article by Mr Crudele (which was often), I was like – “hey, that’s your DAD!” . I am still kicking myself for not having said student invite his dad to speak to the class – hey, Mr Crudele, if you are reading this, I will be teaching Finance at College of Staten Island in the Spring, maybe you can fit us into your schedule for an in class discussion on finance?
Anyway, so job numbers and current unemployment rate of 5% recently publicized might be false numbers, false sense of security – so how does this apply to you starting over? It means you have to be brave and ready for your next step. You need to do all that you can to minimize your wait time between positions. Ideally, you will remain at your current job until you find your next step but sometimes, that is impossible to do. Your resume needs to be as close to perfect as possible, you should be considering how to use LinkedIn and leveraging your networks on helping you to find your next step – but remember not to make it a one-way street, reach out to any networking partners with something for them and a request for yourself (learn more in my category How to Network blog posts).
What do you think about my economics lesson and my quick advice on starting over? Have you ever started over? What did you do to prepare? Check out my upcoming seminars on how to take your next step for more information on how to prepare. Happy hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen