The Big One is Coming

By: Cathy Goodwin, Ph.d.

When I asked my readers, "What's on your mind?" the greatest response came from readers who asked, "How do I leave a job, whether it's my decision or someone else's?"

Gwendolyn Parker, author of Trespassing, asked for seven months of severance when she voluntarily left her senior position at American Express. Seven months seems like a vast, open space when you leave the corporate world, especially if you hate your job. Your health plan unfolds into Cobra -- expensive but comprehensive -- so you figure, "I've got time." You're tired, so you need to relax.

But, as Parker discovered, seven months of salary seems a lot less when you're no longer working full-time.

So what happens when you have six, seven or even twelve months of severance in the bank and you're getting twitchy? Will you ever be back on a payroll? Should you start a business?

Discuss your resources with a qualified financial advisor. Can you stretch your funds beyond six months?

Explore feelings, if need be, with a qualified specialist. You will sabotage your own best efforts if you carry resentment and grief into your next career project.



Resist the temptation to make sudden drastic moves. Sell the house, move to Wyoming and live in a tent? By December, the tent is cold, the housing market has taken another jump and you've gone too far to turn back. Anyway, the bears have confiscated your computer to play hibernation solitaire. "Career winter" indeed.

Explore free or low-cost resources. Check out the Chamber of Commerce, your alumni career center, and the unemployment office. If you have trouble staying focused, paying your own consultant may be a good investment.

Now let's turn the clock back for a more proactive view. You expect to be fired -- or to fire yourself. What can you do?

First and foremost, begin to set up your safety net. See http://www.movinglady.com/safety.html .
Use the company's resources to build your skills and network. Pay yourself first, in time as well as money. Spend at least two hours a day on the You, Inc. project.

Want time off? Make a plan. Will you take two weeks, two months or two years? Commit to being free. Forget about planning your life purpose or dabbling in business ideas. See http://www.movinglady.com imeout.html.

However, even if you absolutely, positively hate your job, expect to feel a let-down when you begin to face empty days. Get yourself tightly scheduled with temporary jobs, appointments, or classes. Stay off the couch. Don’t' lose momentum.

If you can't get going, or you keep postponing a meeting with a coach, you may be really, truly stuck. See http://www.movinglady.com/stuck.html for some suggestions to dig yourself out.

The journey will probably take longer than you anticipate. You will have some bizarre experiences, especially in the beginning, but they eventually will be replaced by heart-warming encounters with warm, generous people. You will learn to transform wet blankets into comfort quilts. See http://www.movinglady.com/blankets.html.

Along the way you will probably stumble on your life purpose, which eluded you while you were reading self-help books on the couch.

Keep a journal faithfully. No one can predict where you will be in a yearHealth Fitness Articles, but you will be able to look back and realize how far you have come. Drop me a line to share your story.

Motivation
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