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Laid Off And Time For A Career Change

Oct 15, 2007
If youre forced into a career change because of a layoff, dont panic. While it may seem the end of the world it could end up being a blessing in disguise. In fact many, especially those in middle age whove been stuck in jobs they dont enjoy because theyve built up seniority, find they ultimately welcome the forced career change. Here are some things you must do to help yourself survive the career change.

First, take stock of what you are due by your former employer and make sure you get all of it. If you are laid off unemployment compensation is your right. It may not be a lot of money many states pay1000 a month or less but its your right and its tax free. Take it. Youll generally only have to wait one week before you start getting your checks. You also have a right to the same medical coverage as you had when you were working, as long as you pay into it the sum total of what you had been paying and what your employer had been paying for you. While this might seem a hefty price youll generally find that the coverage will be a much better buy than anything you can find on your own. Dont be tempted to go without health insurance. Its far too great a risk.

The plan that allows you this coverage is called COBRA, which stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Its regulated by the U.S. federal government and you can take advantage of the coverage for up to 18 months after you leave your job. Your employer is required by law to provide the coverage. It doesnt require any medical exam and you have up to 60 days from the expiration of the insurance coverage period you were paying into when you were last employed. In other words, if you paid for the month of April and were laid off April 9th, you would have until the end of June to pick up COBRA.

Many companies offer laid off employees a severance package. If you are not offered this, do ask. Your career change may involve further education and this money might be the difference between being able to go back to school or not. It may also be that your former employer will pay for an outplacement counsellor to help you with your career change.

You must strategize your career change. Take full stock of your finances and devise a plan to manage and pay your household expenses. Reduce and even eliminate any luxury items. Make smart budget decisions. Digital cable TV is far less important to your career change plans that your high speed Internet connection, for example.

Plan your job hunt and your career change wisely. It may be that an immediate job hunt is not going to be the same as your ultimate career change. You may need to take a job at least part time, or second shift, or temporarily to get by while you pursue your career dreams, expand your training and so forth. It may be that youll have to take a lower-paying job in your new field to get your foot in the door. Accept that if its necessary, and budget accordingly. Keep in mind the ultimate career change goal and look at it as the first step in the very right direction.
About the Author
James Copper is a writer for http://www.newcareerskills.co.uk where you can find out about a career change
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