Man on trapeze
Between the Trapezes Squandering Your Severance?
July 2007


Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in our lives feel precarious as we are suspended between two certainties. But the frightening moment passes as we bravely go on to the next step -- as we always do.

Enjoy reading, and feel free to forward this e-zine on to anyone, wherever they are job searching! And if you received this e-mail in error, our apologies -- just unsubscribe using the easy link at the bottom of this page.


  • Don't Waste Your Severance
  • Got Phone?
  • About Manufacturing, and Other Bits

  • Don't Waste Your Severance
    piggy bank

    Colleague Jack Chapman in Illinois wrote the following, which he's given me permission to use, and which I've edited slightly for length. Since I couldn't say it better, I'll leave it to Jack:

    We run into a lot of people who squander severance packages -- or burn up their own bank accounts -- in ineffective job campaigns. Eric was one: he was laid off and given an 11-month, full-salary severance package. He didn't use his time well and came to see us when he had just one week of severance left, and was in panic mode. People rarely make good decisions from a state of panic.

    If you've been let go and have received a severance package, here's a few things you can do to avoid Eric's mistake.

    Time Off
    If you want (and can afford) to take some time off, go ahead. Just make sure there is a clear beginning and end to the vacation. Then, get to work in earnest.

    Realize the financial consequences
    Plan time off in light of the financial consequences. Consider: if your salary is around $100,000, then each week of unemployment costs $2,000 in lost earnings. If you have severance, that's money you could be banking. If not, that's coming out of your nest egg -- or driving you into debt.

    Be sure you have a clear target
    Clearly target the industry or company size and the functions you will perform. Look for work with a vision of where you'd like to be in five years. If you don't have that vision, get help focusing your efforts from a career coach/counselor right away. Don't wait until the money is gone.

    Check on your job-hunting skills
    Your job-hunting skills may need some work. Read the 12 Biggest Mistakes Job Hunters and Career Changers Make -- and How to Avoid Them to assess where you may need help. This report is available free from Joanne by e-mail. Just send your request for it, with "12 Mistakes" in the subject line, to: Many people find that investing in professional support pays big dividends in terms of finding work faster and getting a better job. Doing the salary negotiations with the support of a competent coach can mean earning thousands of extra dollars.

    Set up a schedule
    Finding work is now your job. Set definite hours when you will work, then outside of those hours go enjoy yourself. Skip the computer solitaire.

    Finally ... get support!
    Job search is tough. Nothing puts you up against your self-esteem faster. Hook up with other positive people who are in the same boat, but avoid job support groups that are "pity parties"! You can't afford to show up for job-hunting activities looking like you're about to have a root canal.

    If your severance lasts six months, and you get hired again in two months -- voila! You have two salaries for four months! That's fun!

    ---Jack Chapman

    Got Phone?

    Although most of us have cell phones these days, and it seems like telephones are everywhere, too many job candidates are unprepared when an interviewer calls.

    This applies to the use of your cell phone as well as your home phone; most people still have both. If you put your cell number on your resume, and your phone rings, the caller ID may not always correspond with a company name. So always answer professionally, with your full name.

    If you are driving, tell the caller you need a moment to safely pull off the highway "so that I can give your call my full attention". Trying to talk while driving is not only unsafe, it could be bad for your job campaign. One candidate we knew answered her phone while driving only to hear the voice of a hiring manager she'd been trying to reach. She was unprepared, she had none of her job search materials with her, she was rattled, and her reception was terrible. It was a very awkward call that scuttled her chances of making a good first impression.

    Your outgoing greeting for any phone number you have should be professional, as well. One former client thought it would be cute to have his two year-old record the family's outgoing phone greeting at well over a minute long, another thought it would be cool to tell a gross joke. I had them change their greetings because few employers would want to listen beyond the first few seconds. Not only do hiring managers have too much to do, their first impression of you should be a good one. So keep it professional and tell anyone in your home who answers the phone that every call during your job search is an important one.

    About Manufacturing, and Other Bits

    No one in manufacturing needs to be told that this segment of our economy continues to shrink. While the field has had some healthy changes, the trend certainly continues -- smaller, more nimble manufacturing companies have replaced the behemoths of yesterday. Those smaller and more nimble companies don't need hundreds of workers.

    Here in Massachusetts, the June statistics from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development marked an historic development: Leisure and hospitality employment reached a record high and surpassed the number of jobs in manufacturing.

    Also strong: Professional, scientific, technical services; admin support, and waste management. In all, over 103,000 jobs have been added in Massachusetts since 2003. These statistics are gathered from over 9,000 employers in the state.

    The conclusion: our state's economy is increasingly information-based. What does this mean to you? Well, whether you're between jobs or thinking about what's next for you, adding to your information-based skills set is a smart move.


    On another note: I was startled recently to receive spam e-mail from my own business e-mail address offering either an unbelievable mortgage or some exotic pharmaceuticals. I hope you haven't received it. I'm told by those who know the ins and outs of spam that if one has a very public e-mail address, which I do, it can get hijacked by anyone with a PC, and there's nothing one can do about it. Sigh.

    So know that if our e-mail address has a subject line with something to do with job search, it's from us, because that's what we do. And if it has anything to do with other spam-type subjects, know that it was hijacked, and that those items are not our business, and delete it. With our apologies.


    Next month: The Resume Queen's Job Search Thesaurus and Career Guide for Professionals, authored by Joanne Meehl, will hit the book shelves soon! More in August...

    Thought of the Day
    Joanne's pic

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

    Marianne Williamson


    We are proud members of:

    • Association of Career Professionals Int'l
    • Northeast Human Resources Association
    • Career Masters Institute
    • Career Counselors Consortium/Boston
    • National Resume Writers Association
    • BNI Golden Givers, Holden, Mass.

    Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun with the nickname (which we've officially trademarked). But she also takes it seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading edge, through research and ongoing dialog with hiring managers.
    You're now seeing us use "The Job Search Queen", which better reflects the breadth of our services. The trademark is pending. We'll be using both "queen" nicknames in our materials.


    Next few meetings of Face2Face, the Job Search Networking Group (only $5 for members in July and August!):

    August 1st: "Is There a Non-Profit in Your Future?" Barbara Worley, former Director of Membership for one location of a large national non-profit, talks about the great jobs at non-profits. You may be surprised.
    August 15th: Topic TBA
    September 5th "Secrets of Salary Negotiation" - Peter Miller brings up the latest on this vital topic.

    All meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, 9am - noon, in Boxboro, Mass. near the intersection of Routes 495 and 2.
    For details about the programs, and directions, click here. Also on that page, you'll be able to see notes about previous talks at Face2Face.

    At Face2Face meetings, we make it easier for you to network, no matter how shy you are. Come meet new people who might be the link to your next job!

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