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Thread: Losing my Job questions!

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    Bob
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    Default Losing my Job questions!

    Hello, I know there is a lot of wisdom here and was looking for some advice. We were informed the company I work for is closing the chemical plant where I have worked for over 20 years. We currently have a shut down estimate of 3 to 6 months or possibly longer. "I will get severance if I stay to the end, but is it best to leave sooner if I see a decent job posted?" I would like to apply to a couple I have seen but don't want to do anything to soon.
    I appreciate any opinions,
    Bob
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    Bob, my personal opinion is that if you get a good job offer that you want, I wouldn't stay on a sinking ship. With this job economy you have a better chance competing with less applicants than more, so if you wait until the end, you will ALL be looking for similar jobs with the same experience, so you will have a harder time, especially if you are an older worker, and I'm assuming if you have been at the company more than 20 years, you are an older worker.
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    Hi Bob,

    So sorry to hear about the impending layoff. I don't know that there is one "right" answer, but hopefully if enough people make suggestions, you can figure out what works best for you.

    The very first thing you'll want to do, if you haven't already, is start building up your network and honing your resume. I ALWAYS recommend using LinkedIn to connect with as many people from your present and past as possible. Have a professional head shot taken and make sure that your LinkedIn photo looks great - professional, yet friendly and approachable. See if colleagues will add recommendations to your LinkedIn profile. If you're in a situation where many colleagues are getting laid off, my guess is that several people will want to swap recommendations.

    Next, join industry groups on LinkedIn. Find similar or any related industry groups that might be out there and join as many as possible. Connect with recruiters and begin to contribute to group discussions so that you can be seen as an active member of your industry's community. BE CAREFUL about this, LinkedIn is not Facebook and you'll want to make sure that you're checking your commentary for grammar, knowledge, and appropriateness. Imagine that recruiters and future bosses will be reading what you write and act accordingly.

    DON'T stop networking and treat it like an ongoing job that you should spend time daily working on from now until the end of your career. There are 500+ resumes for every open position out there. If you wait to only go through normal job application channels, you may take years to get hired. Network. Network. Network.

    After you have your social network going, there are other suggestions. Some questions to consider:
    Does your current company have other positions in the US - would you be able to relocate?
    Will your company be offering career services to help ease the transition?
    Do you know for sure how much severance you'll be getting? I would imagine that with 20 years, it would be enough to keep you going for quite a while, but unless you have confirmed the amount you're getting (in writing, preferably) don't assume that you'll receive a giant check.

    Once you've thought about options with your current employer, there are other things you can do. Don't wait to start looking around! Start now and get your resume out there. Even if you don't plan on accepting a position until you get your severance, you can hone your interviewing skills. Worst case scenario would be you get offered your dream job and then have to choose between severance or a new job you'll love. This is actually not a bad problem to have.

    Lastly, if you've been out of the job market for 20 years, my guess is that your resume might be a little outdated. Don't let just anyone critique it and be careful about who you ask for an opinion. Think about what sort of job you're looking for and then ask someone who has hiring experience for that position to help you review. If you're looking for a more senior position, then I would highly recommend going to theladders.com and getting their free resume review. Yes they will try to sell you their 800 dollar resume writing service, but you don't have to say yes. Simply joining theladders for one month and paying the 35 buck fee will get you the free critique and access to view their sample resumes. Yes, they are great samples and look like what a higher-level employee would want to write. Even if you're not applying for senior management, at 20+ years of experience in your field, you need to look sharp. If your resume relies on the Word Resume Wizard, then it looks like 99 percent of other resumes out there - you need to stand out. (edit to add: I am not saying to spend the money on a resume writing service, rather take advantage of the free critique and access to some great-looking samples. If you're a half-way decent writer, you can get an idea of what to do with this)

    Here is one creative thing I found recently, but I would not use this in place of a resume, rather something visual and fun to accompany it: vizualize.me - Kenneth Lee


    Anyhow... that's all I can think of for now, but I'll keep thinking.
    Last edited by burbuja0512; 11-15-2011 at 01:07 PM.
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    Bob
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    Thanks to both of you for the excellent advice. It does feel very much like a sinking ship and while I feel its best to wait until the end, I believe you are both correct in looking for a new job now. We just found out last week and it all seems a little surreal. Thanks for the resume and networking advice.
    Bob
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    burbuja0512's Avatar
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    Hang in there Bob.. this will be a tough time, but you can get through it and end up with a great position., but it won't be easy.

    If you ever have questions on LinkedIn, feel free to PM me. I don't claim to be a LinkedIn expert, but I have done a ton of research on it lately for my company and have learned a lot in the process. The phrase "It's not what you know, but who you know" is still true, but these days networking is so much easier. Besides.. the job market is so bad that EVERYONE (or so it seems) is well-qualified for the job, so it is what you know AND who you know!

    Good luck!!!!
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    I'm so sorry to hear you received this news. I agree with Marianne's advice to take a job offer if it comes along, and burbuja's networking and resume advice is great.

    To support the suggestion to start applying now and take something if it is a good fit for you financially and culturally, the severance pay you will receive at the end is likely a few weeks or a month's wages. Depending on the state in which you live, a severance package could reduce or eliminate your right to draw unemployment income while you search after your job has ended. You would need to search your particular state's handling to know how or if it will affect you. Even if it does not, if you wait until the end to start searching, like Marianne said, you will be pounding the pavement with everyone else that held out for that last check, likely prolonging your search and the amount of time that severance check and any unemployment pay must support you.

    I will save the "don't let it get you down" talk because it is only natural to feel stunned and scared, but I will offer the advice to be persistent (but not too much so) when applying for and following up on your job hunt, and when you get called in for interviews, do your very best to stay positive about your working experience. It is so easy to get stuck in the negative given this news, but those potential employers want to hear about what a great worker you will be for them (and you will be!) While working on your resume, try to make a list of positive contributions you have made for your current employer, things they did that made you feel valued (I know that might be difficult right now, but it is a common question at interviews), and various other common interview questions. Look up the various lists on Google and form answers for each, then take a day or so away before reading back through them to make sure they are honest but not colored by the feelings this layoff has no doubt brought on.

    Work on your sales pitch before you get called for an interview, so those jitters do not interfere. . That is what interviews are, afterall; you are selling your talents and skills in competition with other job seekers. Your sales pitch should show that your 20 years experience is a benefit; you've been there, done that, and have a few t-shirts so your onboarding and training will be much easier on the company, so sell it. It sounds silly, but practice answering those oh-so-annoying questions in front of a mirror so you can work on showing confidence, a pleasant attitude, and how knowledgeable you are. (I'm serious about the mirror. You will feel like a goofball, but it does help. Better yet, record on your phone or a camcorder so you can't instantly see your own expressions and use playback for a more realistic picture of expressions, appearance of confidence, etc.)

    Again, I am so sorry, but you will get through it.

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    Lindagerr's Avatar
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    With all of the above. I must emphasize it is easier to get a job when you have a job. My husband was laid-off after 30 years with his company. He was given 6 months severance and that helped keep us alive. He finally was hired as a consultant full time for a company that promised full employment after 6 months. After 9 months he was still a consultant.

    Now for the good news, a Director of a big company in his field saw his Linkedin profile and liked it. After E-mail and phone interviews he was asked up for an in person interview and he got the job. This has started a new chapter in our lives. We are moving to a new location we have bought a larger great home and we are excited. My husband LOVES the new job and his new coworkers.

    So I know this is difficult, but you will get through it. My husband had gotten his 1st job right out of college and it was very difficult for him to have to start over, but it has worked out for the better.

    My only other suggestions are start cutting back on expenses now. Pay off any revolving credit and put as much money in savings as you can. If you get severance and can collect unemployment at the same time that is great(my husband did). Do not live on that money try to live on the unemployment and finish paying down credit. I started cutting things out, less cable channels, less phone features etc. as soon as we heard about the layoff (we only got 2 weeks notice), if I had not followed the suggestions I just gave you we would not have made it. We have 2 adult sons living with us and I only worked part time so it was difficult, but I paid every single bill ontime and in full. Thaat has made it possible to qualify for a new mortgage just 12 months after his being unemployed.

    Do not lose hope it will get better and it might just get great!!


    PS you say you work for a chemical company what kind of work? I may have some leads or suggestions. The company that my husband used to work for was in industrial gases and I have worked in biochemistry and chemistry labs. Feel free to PM me if I can help I know it is still a shock and things can be overwhelming at first.
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    cookderosa's Avatar
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    It may take 3-6 months to get something. I'd start sending out feelers WHILE youre employeed asap. You won't need severence if you land a new position. In this economy, waiting isn't a good plan.

    P.S. I'm really sorry to hear this. My husband lost a good job last month, he'd been with them 8 years. Now he's working 2 full time hourly jobs, 1 full time 1st shift and 1 full time 2nd shift....playing the waiting game too.
    Last edited by cookderosa; 11-15-2011 at 09:00 PM.
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    This happened to me a few years ago. My entire office was outsourced to India and they didn't even tell us. One day they said, "hey stop what you are doing and write up a bunch of documentation, we don't have good enough documentation." I of course asked why. They said, "cause we don't have good enough documentation." So I said, to what audience should we address and to what reading level. The answer was a technical audience without a strong grasp of english.
    Ok ok I get it. My job is going to India. I see.
    So we all started talking about it and then the VP pulled us in to a room and confirmed what we had been expecting, we were all losing our jobs to a bunch of guys in another country that would work for less money.

    It stinks when it happens to you.

    So I sharpened my resume, started studying for new certifications and looking for jobs. I actually started looking about a month earlier because I knew something wasn't right. I had a leg up and found a job, my present job, rather quickly. I left without collecting any severance and declined a large cash offer to stay on and fly to India a few times to train these guys over the next six months.

    Nobody wants to be on a sinking ship. Especially not me. So I would get the heck out there before your coworkers flood the local market.
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  10. #10
    Bob
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    Thanks for all of the great advice and information. Its good to get different view points from others not directly affected. Everyone where I work is wondering what is the best course of action, whether to wait till the end or start looking now. I do believe it is best to start looking now. Just curious what qualifies as an older worker these days? I will be 50 soon so I guess that makes an old timer?
    Thanks again,
    Bob
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