Career Corner: March-April 2007

What advice do you have for a dual-career couple when one loses a job?

When you first become a dual-career couple, you typically spend countless hours deciding important questions: Where do you want to live? Whose career comes first? How important is job satisfaction? Where would be the best place to start a family?

When your life is thrown into chaos through job loss, you’ll need to review your answers to all these questions and unemotionally assess your situation.

But your immediate concern should be whether you have enough money to survive without a second paycheck and, if so, for how long.

The longer you can live at your current level, with little impact on the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed, the longer you can take to assess your options. Reducing discretionary spending, getting loans, or refinancing your mortgage can buy you more time. But it’s important to put limits on how long you’re willing to be unemployed.

From a career perspective, it’s unwise to take a long-term position at a lower level just because you need the money. That could limit future income. Try instead to work for a temporary firm that handles professional positions, or identify consulting opportunities.

Experts predict that unless the economy is really good in your field, you may be unemployed one month for every $10,000 of salary you need. If you’re looking for a faster turnaround, treat your job search like a sixty-hour-a-week job, have a trusted professional critique your résumé and cover letter, and start talking to everyone you know about what you’d like to do. And take heart. It may seem tough now, but job loss often leads to better opportunities.

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