What Your Loyalty Means in Light of the Fiscal Cliff

Everyone is talking about the fiscal cliff. I don’t have to tell you about our current situation in this country, the debt ceiling issue, expiring tax cuts and the fight between Democrats and Republicans. You know all of this.

But what does this mean for you – a working man or woman who has dedicated your life to a promising career?

It could mean everything.

The difference between having a job and becoming homeless. Between feeling happy and ending your life. That’s what’s at stake.

The fiscal cliff means uncertainty – in the economy, and our personal lives. If politicians can’t agree on extending the cuts with “certain provisions”, we may be in for one hell of a ride.

For starters, we may repeat 2008. I’m sure you remember that year well. It’s when we went into a recession. Millions lost jobs.

Those of us who are employed could be next. Our companies won’t keep us around for being “loyal” for x amount of years – that’s wishful thinking. When it comes down to staying in business or going under, we are nothing but numbers.

If the Market Panics, People Lose Jobs.

But don’t take my word for it. Pay attention to what’s going on at work. Are there talks of delayed raises? That’s just code talk for “we have to see what happens in January to decide whether to keep you or let you go.”

Hearing rumors of mergers or acquisitions? You better know that means cuts.

Are you asked to train a new hire? That’s your replacement.

Money is all that matters. So when you feel nice and cozy at your job, thinking nothing is going to happen because you’ve been loyal for many years, don’t. The fiscal cliff may sound like a politician’s problem to worry about, but it affects us more than we care to think about.

With that I will end my random blabbing. I couldn’t help but say something about this issue seeing how the news is bombarded with fiscal cliff this, fiscal cliff that and nothing mentioned about what it means for American jobs. Yeah, taxes are important, but without a job there’s nothing to tax.

Are you tired of hearing about the fiscal cliff, or is this something that truly concerns you?

The Thank You Letter that Landed a Job

When my boyfriend got his new job recently, it was all thanks to a 2nd interview that resulted from a thank you letter after initial denial. A few people were wondering what the letter said so I decided to include it here.

It may not help everyone, but I personally believe these kind of thank you letters are a special touch that you should send to your interviewer immediately following the interview. Notice this was sent after the bad news. You should really do it the right after you get home from the interview.

After reading other sample letters online I realized how his was much shorter and less detailed. I can’t help but wonder if this helped or just worked because nobody else sent anything.

Here is what it read (I omitted some things for privacy reasons):

Dear Mr. / Ms. Name, 

Thank you for the recent opportunity to meet and discuss your open position at “business name.”  I regret that I was not a match for this position. However, I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet me in person and allowing me to express my interest. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to contact me via email or telephone. 

Sincerely, 

 

Name

Of course people who write the thank you letter for the first time will have to adjust the wording to express gratitude and excitement for future follow-up instead of the way it’s written now, but you get the point.

He sent it to the physical business location addressed to the person who did the interview. Also included a return address with email and phone information. This is why its important to get their name and remember it!

Have you or someone you know had positive experiences from sending thank you letters? I’d love to hear!

Thank You

 

He Got a Job, I Interview Him!

After a long day at work, I finally make it home to find my boyfriend standing there, looking depressed.

I ask him what’s up? He begins to mumble something, but his voice is muffled by some sort of noise…

The phone buzzes.

I wake up. It’s a text. I fell asleep on the bus.

“I got the job” – it reads.

Yay!

Excited ObamaI’ve been writing a lot about unemployment, depression and some of those feelings have rubbed off in the last couple of posts. I know some people out there are still struggling to find work.

In fact, the bus driver I spoke to just before coming home informed me she’s been looking for a job for over a year. The current one she has is making her work odd hours and she just can’t keep up.

I thought I’d try to help some of you in search of jobs and do my best by interviewing my boyfriend to see how he got to where he is now. Bear with me as he’s kind of shy and doesn’t want to reveal much about himself or his work. Naturally, I oblige.

The Interview:

Q: How long ago did you lose your job?

It’s been a month and a half.

Q: How did you feel when you got let go?

I was very confused, very disappointed, angry and sad all at once.

Q: What have you been doing since then?

I persistently applied at many places, filled out many applications, renewed resumes multiple times (depending where I applied to), and made many phone calls.

Q: How many places did you apply?

I applied at 14 different places.

Q: How many interviews did you get out of those applications?

Seven.

Q: Can you describe how you got the job?

At the 2nd interview I didn’t get the job, but in a typical fashion I sent a thank you letter to show my appreciation for the interview. The person they hired didn’t work out and I got called in for a second interview, all because of this letter. I was hired upon our meeting for the 2nd time where the interviewer pointed out that he really appreciated the thank you note I had sent the first time around.

Q: What helped you get through this job search period?

You! :)

Q: How did I help you?

When I was searching very hard, it was difficult to expand my job search field and you encouraged me to widen my search. You were very supportive emotionally and that made day-to-day searching a lot easier. I lost confidence in myself many times and you reminded me that if you just keep looking, something will turn up.

Q: Did you do anything in your spare time besides searching for work?

I worked on my hobbies, considered volunteering (even though it never came to be). I may still consider volunteering in the near future. Just going out there to help someone felt like it would be a great idea. Other people have problems much worse than mine and I’d like to be able to contribute to benefit them somehow.

Q: What is the best tip you can give to those in search of a job right now?

Shoot at many targets, you’ll hit one eventually.

Q: What helped you get actual interviews?

I was able to demonstrate that my schedule was very flexible (on my resume) and I think employers really consider that sort of thing even if ultimately it doesn’t matter.

You have to be very persistent.

Don’t wait for them to call.

Keep calling them to show how enthusiastic you are.

Have good references. I was asked for references a few times.

Bring extra copies of resumes and references even if you already sent them a copy.

Let your friends know (if they are in the same job field) that you lost your job, they will look out for you. I got a notice from a friend about a few job postings.

Q: Can you recall any mistakes you might have made during this entire process?

I can’t think of any, but I’m sure there were some, otherwise I would have gotten more interviews.

Q: Was there anything particular during the interview that you think helped you get the job?

I think the main thing to do is to show enthusiasm – the type of attitude that shows “this is the only job I want!”

Have answers to questions and don’t be afraid to show that you are willing to learn new things. Be honest and don’t pretend to be a know-it-all. I honestly think being as transparent as possible says a lot about the type of person you are.

Q: Any final words?

Always dress your best – in fact, overdress.

Smile a lot.

Don’t panic or frustrate too much. Some days I couldn’t find anything so I stopped searching for the day. Limit the amount of time you spend on searching. New jobs show up every day.

Cut down expenses as much as possible.

Sleep in, get exercise, be lazy once in a while. Try to stay positive even if it seems impossible most of the time. Laugh every chance you get – I watched funny YouTube videos.

Try to have something else on your mind besides job search. Don’t forget to keep following up.

Most of all, send Thank You notes after every interview!

Do you have any questions you’d like to hear some answers to? What have you learned from past job searching experiences?

3 Tips to Stay Financially Afloat

The following post is by a good friend Steven Parks. Steven is a freelance writer who has been laid off in a series of layoffs last year. While struggling to find a new job, Steven has found ways to cut down on spending and eventually got into freelancing for additional income.

If you are unemployed or have been at some point in your life – I’ve been in your shoes.

While it takes some searching around to find your calling in providing an income for the family in these hard times, you can start being productive by cutting down your bills and reducing spending as much as possible.

Last year I lost my job that I will admit took good care of my family’s necessities. Luckily there was some money saved up but things weren’t looking up so great with job searching. With bills piling up and no hopes for a new job I decided to take drastic measures – cut down my bills and create my own job as a freelancer.

The following three steps alleviated my troubles and allowed me to focus on the important things and earning money once again:

1. Ditch The Unnecessary Bills and Lower The Ones That Aren’t Important

Cancel your TV and magazine subscriptions

The first thing I did was go through all of our family’s bills to determine which ones are just added conveniences versus necessities.

Cable bills, movie rentals, magazine subscriptions, yard and gardening services were all cut right away. My family hardly watched any TV with the exception of my daughter so I canceled the subscription and instead found an a-la-cart package that allowed me to pick and choose kid’s channels.

We stopped renting movies, because honestly the late fees were killing us all the time. No movies, no fees!

Magazine subscriptions were just an added bonus that had to go, while our neighbor kid mowing the lawn for some extra money wasn’t required either (I have a mower, I can do it myself). The goal here is to eliminate any expense that you can live without, and yes you can live without the ESPN sports package.

2. Take Advantage of Savings Opportunities When Shopping

When I decided that I would take steps to makes sure we never went broke, I realized that there is potential for great savings in bulk shopping. I had shopping club cards that I was not using and I have never considered using coupons.

Although I had no interest in becoming an extreme coupon clipper, I made it a priority to keep an eye out for coupons on items I purchased. Buying regular household items in bulk from Costco saved quite a bit of money over the long run. Even though I didn’t have a Costco card to begin with, it wasn’t difficult to borrow a relative for a day of shopping.

3. Buy Used

Kids are notorious for being careless with their clothing, not to mention the pace at which they outgrow them. Instead of going low-key and shopping at Wal-Mart we went a step further and began hunting down weekly garage sales.

Kids hate used clothing, but trust me when I say this – they don’t care about it as long as it’s not for school. School clothing has to be new and cool, that’s the rule!

As for my own purchases, I made sacrifices by buying used light weight jackets instead of shopping for design brands. I also purchased gently worn shoes at garage sales, you’d be amazed what people try to get rid of when they move (I think the pair I bought last weekend was in someone’s storage for its entire existence.)

When the dryer went out, we stopped using it entirely.

Luckily, the climate here in California is warm year-round. To avoid the energy costs associated with dryer use and the cost of replacement of the unit we simply purchased some strong rope and hung it outside.

It’s been working like a charm and I won’t bother to estimate the amount of money we’ve saved in electricity charges and initial replacement fee.

If you live in a colder climate, consider shopping around for deals on Craigslist. People are constantly moving and sometimes don’t bother taking older appliances, creating a perfect opportunity for you to buy great used products. I’ve bought so many things on Craigslist for huge discounts that it’s become my number one website to check before buying anything.

If you are able to, look for freelance work to hold you over until you can find a steady job.

In Summary…

  1. Cut back … a lot
  2. Shop smart
  3. Buy used
  4. … and … look for another job!
Have you lost a job and found yourself stranded? What are some things that helped you get through those tough times?

How To Get Out of Unemployment Depression

If you have ever been unemployed for prolonged periods of time then you know that feeling of hopelessness all too well. You try looking for a job every day, leave no opportunity unturned and yet you can’t find work. At this point you feel like absolute garbage and you begin to wonder if you’re worthy of anything. How would I know – you ask? I’ve been in your shoes.

UnemployedFew years ago after being a self-employed affiliate marketer things turned for the worse. Things changed so quickly that literally overnight I was unable to make a living. I’ll spare you the details but all that matters is nothing I previously did worked any longer. This new period of struggling to survive and constantly searching for employment lasted for an entire year. I grew sad, depressed, fatigued, hopeless – you name it. Every time I’d apply for a job it seemed like one hundred other people were there before me. It was quite depressing. Even though it was most likely not the clinical type of depression, it certainly felt like it.

Over the course of the next few weeks following this period of sadness I learned many things. It gives me a great pleasure to be able to share with you the things that have helped me and may possibly get you out of your infinite state of sadness:

Seek Support from People You Love

Surround yourself with people you love and those that love you. Forget searching for work for a bit and spend time with family. Don’t do it for the sake of distraction, but rather allow your mind to fully heal with support of others. If this is something you have already been doing this whole time, then combine it with the next suggestion.

Take a Mini-Vacation

Taking a vacation during the worst of times may sound like terrible advice but consider the situation: you’ve been out of work for quite some time and are not getting closer to finding anything. By spending time with people you love in a place away from home you can begin to forget the pain and agony of searching without results. I’m not saying you should spend a lot of money to do something exotic – just take a road trip out of town. Go camping, go fishing, just get out of town. Spend a few days or more just relaxing (and no, those times when you have nothing to do at home because no new job postings were added don’t count). Think of any activity that you truly loved doing just before your life got very busy and go do it.

Volunteer Your Skills for a Good Cause

I know, doing charity work at a time when you should be asking for charity sounds completely insane, but it really isn’t.  Is there somewhere you have to be after months of searching for employment? A few days won’t kill you. Take some time off and donate it along with your skills to a good cause. You may be surprised how happy it will make you feel to see someone else benefit from your talent. Who knows, someone may even notice your work which could lead to a connection here and there.

Start Networking with Others

Speaking of connections, go out and make new ones. From meetups to job fairs, every bit of networking will help you feel like a worthy human being. Join local meetups and make new friends. Don’t be afraid to talk about your situation. Job fairs aren’t just for meeting with potential employers, seek company with like-minded people. Talk about your efforts to find a job, make jokes, make friends. You’ll need every bit of friendship at this point.

Everything listed here is what has worked for me to overcome severe sadness and in my mind – depression. There are many other things you’ll have to do differently once you get out of feeling too miserable but that is another post for another time.

For more awesome articles on dealing with unemployment check out some of these:

Great Reads for the Unemployed