Monthly Archives: May 2014

MUCHO MONDAYS – Hot Tamale: 7 Priorities After Your Layoff

layoff, priorities, career, job loss, peace of mind, mucho Mondays, unemployment, recovery, job search
Photo by T.W. Collins

Just a reminder, if you have family, friends, or colleagues that are on the job hunt, please share this blog with them. Starting today, Memorial Day, I’m kicking off MUCHO MONDAYS, a 9-part weekly series derived from the content of my forthcoming book. Spice up your Mondays, and make the most of your job search for the week!

Chair throwing, keying someone’s car, blowing something up. If you’re laid off, these and many other emotions may run through your head in the first few days. And as satisfying as these may be, it’s always more practical to process through your feelings and get your priorities identified and covered. This can give you peace of mind and a place to start your journey into your next opportunity. Let’s look into some of the top things you can do to start cutting through the cloud of thoughts swirling through your head and begin taking your first steps.

1. Unemployment Benefits – Finances should be a hot priority. Severance pay or not, if you were separated for a qualifying reason (no misconduct, you didn’t quit, etc.) file immediately for your unemployment benefits.
2. Budget – Make a temporary budget based off your new income, factoring in income from any investments, rental properties, or side business in addition to your unemployment pay.
3. Insurance – There’s no “off-the-hook since you’re in transition” with an emergency room visit or expensive diagnosis. So I never recommend just winging it without insurance until your next job. You can try to get on your spouse’s policy, choose a policy on your own (a local broker like Dudley Carter 615-415-4328 or perusing a site like can help you with this at no extra cost), or if you’re not married, check for many options (with the government paying part of your monthly premium in most cases based on your estimated income for the next 12 months). Another option is companies like Cowan Benefits that you can find through the COBRA coverage from your current employer. They can help you find a similar plan usually at a lower cost.
4. Mental Health – Right out of the gate, you probably feel shocked, unappreciated, angry, etc. It’s a good idea to talk to someone besides your spouse, partner, or best friend about these emotions and work through them in order to “get the chip off your shoulder.” Ask for time with your pastor or a Stephen Minister (Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches who can get you in touch with one.), and feel free to meet as regularly as you need. Further, you can Google for job search support groups in your area.
5. Physical Health – Staying fit is not only good for your body but your mind, mood, and attitude as well. Take this opportunity to start exercising regularly (even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes daily). And keep up the good work if you already have a fitness routine.
6. Career Coach – Establish a relationship with a Career Coach at your local Department of Labor or a recommended life coach. This person can give you valuable advice on your Action Plan, Resume’, and current insight into all things job search as you begin to have questions.
7. Elevator Speech – Very soon at a party, family function, mixer, etc., you’ll have to answer the question, “What do you do?” Craft this 30 second schpiel that will cover your background, key things at which you’re successful, and a few top job titles to represent what you’re seeking and help people begin to keep you in mind as they hear of job openings.

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Credit Cards (and rewards!) during job transition

Acropolis Athens Greece
Did you know most credit cards can earn you points? These points can be traded in occasionally for merchandise or airfare. I bring this up because being on top of your finances is a key part of managing your job search.

Many people follow special introductory offers regarding interest rates or balance transfers when signing up for a credit card. Ask your friends, and surf around. See if the card you choose can earn you points (and make sure the interest rates are still good AFTER the introductory period). If the card doesn’t earn you anything, find one that does. Skip those with an annual fee. Put your credit card to work for you!

As you spend on the card, you can also look forward to getting yourself something like a new flat panel TV, restaurant gift certificates, or even airfare for a vacation. If you’re like me, you’ve worked diligently and very hard on your search, so you deserve this.

For example, I had enough points in 2012 to get airfare for 2 to Europe for free! And my April 2014 airfare to several cities in Mexico only cost me $69 (to buy a few make-up points since I was a bit short.) I took the photo above of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

As much as possible, pay off your full balance monthly, and only spend on the card what you’ll have in a few weeks. This way you can avoid snowballing debt, stress, and paying the credit card companies any interest.

You can compare different credit cards at I’ve been very happy with the customer service, perks, occasional bonus point programs, and concierge services that come as a part of the Mastercard I have, (the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card). And there’s no annual fee. Scroll through the options at this page, and check it out.

No, I’m not getting a kick-back from Citi–I wish–but a friend encouraged me to share my technique for using a credit card to your advantage. Enjoying some relax time or a goodie for yourself occasionally is a nice self-reward and healthy addition to your job search. What’s the coolest thing you’ve gotten with your credit card points?