Show Notes for this Episode:
With unemployment at an all time high here in the midst of an economic recession, more people are experiencing job losses. Several industries have been hit very hard while others are thriving or holding up well.
It can be scary to lose your job in midlife, not to mention during an economic recession. I personally know this all too well as I was ‘downsized’ during the Great Recession of 2009. At that time, my industry (financial services) was hit the hardest of all!
Although it took about six months to recover and reinvent myself, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had been in a high pressure regional management role for a large financial services firm while also continuing to serve as a financial advisor. 80% of my time, however, was focused on the management career.
When I left my firm, I realized how toxic all of the corporate politics had been, as well as the environment. It was no longer the same company I had gone to work for 15 years prior. Ultimately this job loss that was very painful at the time led me to where I am today; running a successful, independent advisory firm serving women professionals in midlife, just like me!
In this episode of the podcast, I share more on my own story and provide hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel. I also share 7 tips that can greatly help you navigate a sudden job loss now.
Tune in to this episode to learn more about the following:
- How to shore up your financial situation quickly
- Evaluate where you’ve been and where you truly want to go next
- Assess all of your skills, expertise, and experience to determine what you are truly qualified to do
- Look across industries and roles where your skills and experience may be transferrable
- How to craft your resume(s) for exactly the position or role you desire
- How to expand and grow your network virtually with the right people
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Linked to Influence (My #1 best-selling book on Amazon)
12 Smart Tips for Making a Midlife Career Change (FREE PDF Download)
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(00:05): Welcome to the midlife money gal podcast. I'm Stephanie Sammons and experienced certified financial planner, guiding women professionals in midlife to, and through their retirement years. Have you recently lost your job or are you afraid that you might,
(00:33): We're going to talk about in this episode of the midlife money gal podcast, you know, most of my previous podcast episodes about career have been during times of full employment. And I talked about making a career change in midlife and what to do and steps to take, but that was more based on a choice or a decision when you were planning to leave an existing job and do something different and even make a complete career change. And I'm going to link to those old episodes of the podcast, just so you have access to them. You can find all the show notes for this episode at midlife money, gal.com/ 55, the number 55. Okay. So now here we sit in the midst of a recession and record unemployment, and it is true that some industries will probably be altered forever. Some jobs will not recover, but we also may see a number of new jobs created and invented as a result of this pandemic.
(02:11): My story is back in 2009 in the middle of the great recession, which was a terrible time for the financial services industry. In fact, my industry got crushed in 2009. So I found myself in the position where I had to leave my current company and make a change and do something different. And it really wasn't my choice. I like to say, I really didn't have any other option. You know, I had to go. And it was because even though I was still a financial advisor within a big financial institution, I had given up most of that role in order to pursue a management position. So for my last seven or eight years, within a very big firm, I was more, probably 80% of my job was in a regional manager role. So when the great recession hit and it hit my industry specifically, then my middle management career basically disappeared.
(03:37): That role was gone and I had come so close to getting that ideal director position within my company. And then I just poof, it just, it was gone right before my eyes. So I definitely know what it's like to be jobless during a difficult time in the economy and during a recession. And now what I'm seeing is, although my industry is okay, it's, it's volatile because when the economy is volatile in the stock markets and the bond markets are volatile, that makes my job my role more volatile. But overall, I believe the financial industry is in much better shape than it was a decade ago. This time around there are other industries being impacted by this pandemic. And now I'm seeing friends and even clients who are losing their jobs, mostly due to the ripple effect of the industries that are being hit the hardest right now.
(04:47): And also some of my clients. And in some cases, people are having to take pay cuts and earn less money right now, so that companies can get leaner and survive these difficult times. But nonetheless, you may find yourself facing a layoff, a job loss, possibly being furloughed, and it's not fun. And it's especially not fun when you think it could happen or you're, you know, you're living day to day with this uncertainty about your future with your career. So I want to tell you first do not get discouraged if this has happened to you, no matter what your age is. There's a lot of talk out there that if you're over 50 and you lose your job, that you're just in bad shape, like it's really tough to, to find employment and make the same amount of money. And that's just not true. And don't buy into that myth when, when we're over 50, as, as is my case as well, we have a lot of skills and expertise and experience under our belts to offer.
(06:02): And we're living in a world where that is very, very valuable. I just think you have to be creative and think outside the box a little bit in terms of what roles could you actually fill, what career path could you actually take on that might be related to what you've been doing for many years, but maybe not the exact same role that you've had. So I want you to just stay positive and keep an open mind. And I'm going to go through some tips in this episode to help you. And a lot of these tips are things that I did and that I followed during my time of trying to figure out how I was going to land on my feet and what I was going to do next. So I'll share pieces of my story as we go along here. Again, you can find the show notes for this episode at midlife money, gal.com/ 55.
(07:04): And I'm going to include links to a bunch of the resources that I mentioned throughout this episode, including the previous episodes that I've recorded about changing careers in midlife and these sorts of things that are related. All right, so let's talk about the seven tips. Number one, you want to get your financial foundation in place. This is very, very important. You've got to figure out how you're going to bridge the gap between now or the time you've lost your job until you find a new one. And if you're sitting here and you're a little bit uncertain about the future of your role, then you might want to be doing this anyway, so that you can plan and prepare for the worst case scenario, just in case. Let me also say, I don't think this pandemic is going to last forever. This virus is lingering now, and it still seems very scary in terms of the headlines.
(08:12): But I do think that over time, if we're all wearing masks and we're all protecting ourselves and one another and being more conscientious about this, that the virus will eventually subside. We'll have a vaccine. I'm not willing to bet against all the smart medical people coming up with treatments and developing vaccines for this terrible, terrible illness. So I think you got to stay positive that this will not last forever. It's easy to fall into that thinking trap. We will return to normal with some changes. I think that will stick around just like when nine 11 happened. You know, we have a completely different experience now when we go to the airport and when we travel. So we'll see some changes like that. I think that will stick, especially when it comes to, um, hygiene and cleaning. Um, these kinds of things that I don't think will go away anytime soon.
(09:24): They'll, they'll, there'll be a priority for companies and facilities and stores and all kinds of places that humans visit and spend time in. All right. So number one, get your financial foundation in place. First thing to do is figure out what expenses you can trim. Do you need to downsize? Are you in a position where you may need to get out of the home that you're in, maybe get rid of your expensive car. If you can't really afford it, if you go for an extended period of time without a job, you need to think about giving yourself at least six months. If you lose your job to finding another role, that's kind of the that's the, the marker I would use is give yourself, make sure you've got six months worth of living expenses that you can tap into. Another way you can get cash is obviously if you have an existing cash reserve or savings set aside, you may need to tap into that.
(10:40): I encourage you to file for unemployment. There's nothing wrong with that. That's what the benefits are for at this time. Benefits may be extended and, and this is being discussed right now in Congress, but I don't know that they will be as nice as they have been up to this point. So they may be reduced, but still, if you're going to be without work for an extended period of time, go file for unemployment and get that help if you need it. The cares act that passed earlier this year also allows you to tap into your retirement accounts without a penalty. If you take a distribution out of an IRA or a 401k, for example, now money that you pull out of these accounts will still count as income. And you have the ability to spread that income out over three years with 2020 being year one.
(11:49): However, I don't recommend tapping your retirement accounts unless there is just really no other option that money should continue working for you while you're in midlife until you're in retirement, because you're going to start tapping those accounts at some point after you retire. So you want that money to continue to grow and compound over time for you and be set aside for retirement. You may be in a situation though, where you have to tap a retirement account. Also, I should mention that taking a loan from your 401k, there's a more lenient payback schedule in place for that now as well. So it's an option. It's not the ideal option, but it's something to know about. And I've talked about it multiple times on this show. Another thing you want to check on is what happens with your health insurance will you need to get Cobra from your company where you can get extended health insurance benefits for another 18 months.
(13:03): Can you go on your spouses insurance that might be a possibility, or do you need to go out into the open exchange and purchase your own insurance policy? Don't go for any period of time. If you can help it without health insurance coverage, especially during this time when we're in the midst of a pandemic, and then finally on getting your financial foundation in place, you might need to just take whatever job you can find to bridge the gap. If you need income, maybe there's some temporary work you can do. Maybe there's some consulting you can do. You may even be able to visit with your boss. Yes, the person who laid you off, um, or former colleagues who might know of ways to plug you back into the same company where you could come in on a more of a part time consulting role or something like that. Don't be afraid to ask and turn over all the stones to figure out what you might be able to do temporarily to keep your income going.
(14:24): Number two, evaluate where you were when you had your job and where do you want to go next? So I talked about this in the last episode where I gave some, some strategies for uncertain economic times. And this pandemic ironically has really been a time like never before to assess all acts aspects of your life, including your career. And you may have realized during this time that you were tired of what you were doing, you were not enjoying your job at all. And maybe you want to do something different. Anyway. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise for you. If you get laid off, you know, I that's what happened to me when I was let go or I walked away, however you want to be.
(15:32): Yeah, I've realized later it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was in a position that I couldn't stand. I didn't fit into it. Um, it was not me. It was not authentic to me. And I had just kind of cast aside my values and what really made me happy. And I sacrificed everything for that role to climb that ladder and to get to the top. And it just nearly killed me. It hurt my health and, uh, my emotional, mental state of mind. It was just not healthy at all. For me, it was not a healthy role. And I don't know how I got there, I guess, because I just ignored what was important to me, what I cared about, what my values were, what I really wanted out of life. I just set all that aside and just became so driven about getting this particular director role that everything else just fell by the wayside.
(16:42): So hopefully, you know, you've been able to use this time to figure out and really assess your current career, your current job and how you feel about it. When I was laid off, I really used that as an opportunity to think about, gosh, my, what else could I do might be really nice if I could do this, or if I could do that, I wonder if I could get paid to consult with, with other financial advisors Jessica was doing as part of my job in my big company, but I can do it on my own terms and I can build up my own curriculum and my own coaching and, and help other advisors out there. Or I'm a certified financial planner. I'm still working with family members and close friends. I could just hang out my shingle, start my own firm, my own wealth management firm.
(17:45): And I don't need the big company. There are kinds of big companies out there that partner with independent advisors. So I looked at all of the different options that I could pursue based on my past experience. And that's what I want to encourage you to do is brainstorm. What is important to you? What have you maybe lost sight of during this time and what are your interests? What would you really be interested in doing? If you could, if you could actually follow your interest, are you willing to make changes? Like, are you willing to relocate for the right role? And by the way, what do you think would be your ideal job, your ideal career, how much money do you need to make to live comfortably? Maybe you don't need the big, huge salary because you already live within your means. Maybe you do need the big, huge salary because you've got a big life and maybe it's time to pull some of that back or downsize a little bit. I don't know. You have to figure out for yourself and go through this planning exercise, where you really get back in touch with your values and put together a conscious plan so that you can make the best decision possible for your next move in your career.
(19:28): Number three, review all your skills and expertise and experience up to this point that you've gained over the years. What are your skills and your expertise and your experience? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Maybe there are some assessments out there that you can even spend time on. There's one called strengths finder that you may have heard about go through some of those assessments. There's a disc assessment and learn more about yourself and what experience you've gained and how you might be able to apply the strengths that you have to a new role. And how can you apply your skills and experience to other roles in other industries that you haven't even thought about? How can you go across industries and leverage your same skills and expertise, or can you move within your same industry into a different area or maybe a different vertical within that same industry, different company?
(20:53): That's kind of what I did as well. I did decide in my first few years, when I left the big firm to start my own company and consult with other advisory firms across the country, using some of the skills and expertise I had gained over all my years of helping other advisors in a management role. So I stayed within the same industry that I leveraged all of my experience in that industry. And then I just started reaching out to financial advisors and firms across the country. Once I built a program that I could offer. So try to get creative as you think about everything that you've learned and gained up to this point, think bigger and more broadly about what you're qualified to do, and that will help you be more open minded when you see certain opportunities and roles that open up that, Hey, I might be able to do this.
(22:03): I might qualify to do this. I just need to put the right angle or spin on my experience in order to fit into this role. And that's something I'll talk about in just a moment. Number four, do your research, do your homework, figure out what roles, what jobs would make your list. What sounds interesting to you, and you may need to start Googling any kind of role that you might be interested in and see what you can learn about it. Another valuable tool when you've lost your job. And really a secret weapon is using LinkedIn to do research and to connect with people for a while. There, I thought LinkedIn was not very valuable. It kind of lost its shine. And now I think it's making a comeback because so many people have lost their jobs and the economy is in a recession and things are changing.
(23:14): There's a lot of turnover and Tran transition happening within companies. And there are also new positions being invented as a talked about earlier. So on LinkedIn, you can research roles that you might be interested in jobs that are already open. You can find hiring managers and recruiters to connect with, and you can really build a list of relevant people to connect with. I also recommend connecting with former bosses and colleagues you've worked with in the past, who can help you get the word out? Who are the people you're already connected to in LinkedIn within your network and where do they work? What do they do? It is still a world where, who, you know, matters. That's going to get you a lot further along when you know, somebody who can make an introduction on your behalf. So make that master list of job positions that are interesting to you and people that you need to reach out to hiring managers, decision makers, and let people know that you are, that you have been laid off or that you are currently looking for opportunities.
(24:52): Number five, you redesign your resume or resumes because you might need multiple. Once you might have three or four resumes that you put together and you frame each one around what role interests you the most, what you're most interested in pursuing. So you may have three or four resumes and each one is angled for a different type of career role. Another thing on your resume is there are lots of resources online that you can do some research and learn how to craft an effective resume today. Uh, there even resources out there. If you're in midlife, if you're over 50 and you've lost your job for how you can do your resume the right way. And the one thing that stuck out to me was really highlighting your most important or valuable job experience for whatever role you're going after or pursuing. You don't need to have a record of everything you've done. So if you leave some years off, that's okay, you want to be able to speak to that. But in order to keep your resume succinct, you want to just highlight either your most recent job experience or the most relevant job experience. So I thought that was a really good tip that I found when I was doing some research there. So number five, redesign your resume or your resumes. Number six crap after story for where you are.
(26:45): So go through this exercise. I did this with a coach one time where I went back and I started from my very first job, which was a high school teacher. And I wrote out everything. I had done all the different positions and roles that I had had over the years. And by the way, I was 40 during the last recession, during the great recession when everything crashed and I ended up starting over. So, you know, I had a lot of things that I could write down about my story, but the idea here is to craft your story for where you are now and take relevant pieces of your past experiences, your past work, to create a narrative for yourself that makes sense today, or that makes sense for the kind of role you're interested in pursuing. You want to be able to easily tell your story to someone who is interviewing you, or if, if a company requests or requires a cover letter, you want to be able to, to talk about your story, but it needs to be relevant tying in your relevant skills and experience and expertise, depending on who you're talking to or what role you're trying to pursue.
(28:18): So you don't need to tell everything about your past experience or everything about your story. And this is something with my own career path that I have worked to refine over the years where I just have picked out the highlights of my career that I think matter most and weave those into a story. Now I'm not looking for a job today, but I still share my story in when I'm interviewed, I've shared it on this podcast because I think it can help other people. So number six, craft her story for where you are now. Number seven, expand your network. I've talked about this before, when we've been in the midst of a good economy that you always want to be building your network because you never know when you will need it. And when you lose your job, you really, really need your network. So you also want to keep expanding your network.
(29:28): Now it's tougher to do this virtually because you can't get face to face with people. You can't go to cocktail parties. You can't go to dinner parties, you can't go networking events. You can't go to conferences. So it is tougher. I think to network and build relationships virtually it's easier in many ways, because it's just a, you know, a couple of clicks away, but it's just not the same, the way you can make it almost the same is getting interacting with someone on something like a zoom call. Getting to that point with someone in your network that you want to really have a conversation with a zoom call is great. Even a regular phone call is great messaging and emails. Um, that's really the next best thing. And that's where you have to start when you network virtually. As I said before, I do think more people are engaged on LinkedIn now, and that's just anecdotal.
(30:39): I don't have any, you know, hard and fast evidence to back that up, but you definitely want to look at LinkedIn for expanding your network. Uh, also Facebook and Twitter, a lot of people, our age, who are in mid life are active on Facebook. I'm really surprised by it, but I can't believe, um, how many of us are engaged in active on Facebook still. And a lot of us are women on Facebook. Twitter also might be worth your while. I do think that there are a lot of smart business people on Twitter. There are a lot of media folks on Twitter. There's also a lot of trash on Twitter. So you have to be careful and you don't want to get sucked into the Twitter hole where you waste tons of time, but I really enjoy Twitter. And, um, that's where I get my news actually every day.
(31:37): So it's easy to connect with people on Twitter. Also, if you can find the right people. So how do you reach out? How do you do this? What do you say when you send a stranger, someone you haven't met before? A message? Well, I happened to have written a book about this and the book is called linked to influence. I wrote this book in 2015. It actually became a number one bestseller on Amazon. And the price of the Kindle version of this book is two 99. I've lowered it way down because I did ride it in 2015, but here's my secret to you. Not much has changed with LinkedIn. The only thing that may have changed is that you might have to pay for some of the tools that I talk about, but mostly this is a book that has timeless strategies and techniques for building your network, building your influence, connecting with the right people and building and cultivating relationships that matter virtually.
(33:02): And I also talk about taking the online connection to an offline relationship, which you can do over time, but I provide some scripts in the book on how to reach out to people. What to say, what you want to do is you want to find a reason you want to find something relevant or what I call in the book, a connection point. When you reach out to somebody, if, if the person you're reaching out to thanks that you have something in common, a common interest, or that you've noticed something that they've done well, whatever it might be, whatever observation you can come up with by doing your homework, they're more likely to accept your connection. And they're more likely to feel some kind of affinity with you. So I'll give you an example. Recently, it came across my radar that a woman at a particular particular university has written a brand new book.
(34:08): And the book was very intriguing to me and it impacted me directly. I'm a part of the LGBTQ community. The book was about that and about how the LGBTQ community impacts the economy. So I thought it was fantastic. Well, it turns out she's a professor at the college that one of our sons attends U mass of Amhurst. Her name is M V Lee. So she's got this new book. And so what did I do? I reached out to her directly and I made the connection that, Hey, my, one of my sons goes to UMass. I saw your new book. I couldn't be more excited about this book. I think we've always known this to be the case, but now you've done the research and you're backing it up and I'm thrilled. And congratulations. And I sent her an email because in the press release of her book, she gave her email address.
(35:13): I sent her a direct email, but I also sent her an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. And I put a little note in the message or in the invitation that I was looking forward to reading her book and very excited about it. So I did it two different ways in case she didn't see one of those messages well responded to the email. She accepted my LinkedIn invitation, and now we're connected. And now we have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship. So we've gone back a little back and forth a little bit in email and stuff. So that's how you do it. You find something about the person you want to connect with by doing your research and opening up some dialogue with them. Maybe you congratulate them on something. Maybe you mentioned that you went to the same college that they did, or you've worked for the same company in the past or something like that.
(36:19): And LinkedIn is really a great tool to tell you people that went to the same college as you did, or people who have worked for the same companies. And so you can really find a lot of information about people on LinkedIn. That's one of the reasons why I still love it. I'm also in my book linked to influence. I give you some ideas for how to Polish up your LinkedIn profile and how to help the people in your network, how to help people find the answers they need, or the resources they need, how to be listening for that and be a giver, spend your time giving to other people and how that gets reciprocated over time. So I highly recommend it. Of course, it's my own book, but I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that book. And a lot of those practices have worked very well for me throughout the course of my career.
(37:23): And I think they can help you as well, whether you've lost your job or not. I think it still could be a resource for you. And by the way, if you've ever written and published a book, a book is not a moneymaker, okay? You're not going to ever get wealthy writing a book, unless maybe it's a number one New York times bestseller, and you write multiple books and then you go and do speaking gigs and consulting gigs from that. But the book in and of itself is not a moneymaker. So I just want to clarify that. All right, I also have a friend. Her name is Jody. She left the corporate world several years ago, very successful. Um, I believe she was in the pharmaceutical industry or the medical medical supplies or something like that, but she started her own business a few years ago and decided to start a business to connect executives who were looking for employment to C suite roles, very specific C-suite roles with big companies.
(38:36): So it's a really niche kind of matchmaking service. And by the way, this is not what she did for the 20 years prior. This was really a brand new thing. And she told me the story when I asked her of what made you start that, because it really seemed out of the blue for me in some ways. And she said, you know, I read this book called the 20 minute networking meeting, and I'm going to put a link to this book in the show notes, but this book gave her some great tips on how to get meetings with people and exactly what to say and the way she did her meetings, they were coffee meetings and she had a script and she got people to go have coffee with her and asked them a lot of questions about what they did, what was important to them, what they were looking to accomplish, and just really made these meetings all about the person she was sitting with.
(39:48): And that's how after, I don't remember how many meetings, she's coffee meetings. She said she did. I want to say like a hundred. She uncovered a need. And that need was these C suite roles. And the, the, the CEOs of these big companies really needed specialized people to fill those high level roles at their companies. And so that's what she did. She started a business around that. So now she's semi retired, but has a great little business that she spends time on and has a much more flexible schedule. And she really got herself out of the rat race, which she did by choice. She did not lose her job, but it was just a decision that she made. So I thought I would share that story as well, to give you some encouragement. Now, obviously you can't go out and have in-person coffee meetings right now, but you can still use some of those same tactics virtually for building connections and maybe having some kind of conversation or introductory call.
(41:03): So the book was called the 20 minute networking meeting. All right, I'm also going to provide, as I mentioned, additional resources for you on the show notes, web page, it's midlife money, gal.com forward slash 55, the number 55, I will link to several previous podcast episodes that I've done about changing careers, including, uh, reinventing yourself in the new economy. That was a recent one that I did also must know money tips for when you're changing careers in midlife, you don't want to, you want to kind of get your financial life in order and not leave money behind and leave it all over the place. So that's what that episode is about. And I also created a PDF one pager checklist. That's free 12 smart tips for making a career change in midlife. So I'm going to link to all this on the show notes page, including a link to my book, linked to influence, and the book, the 20 minute networking meeting.
(42:20): I hope all of this helps you, even if you haven't lost your job. If you're worried about losing your job, these tips can help you expand and grow your network rediscover where you are now in your life and how you want to spend the next 20, 30 years, what you really want to be doing in your career and have some strategies for, if you have lost your job, how you can get back on your feet quickly and create a plan and have some steps and some tips to follow. So don't give up, don't give up on your search. Don't give up on yourself,
(43:07): Keep a positive attitude, keep building that network and keep the faith. It will work out. Thank you so much for listening once again. I appreciate you very much and I will be back with you next week. This show is for informational and educational purposes only. Please do not consider any of the content as personalized financial investment tax or legal advice. You've been listening to the midlife money gal podcast to learn more and to join our community, visit midlife money, gal.com.
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