Friday, May 11, 2007

Making Ends Meet in a Tight Job Market

My husband, age 59, lost his job 6 months ago and seems to have exhausted the job market here (a small western city), trying to find any work, let alone work that uses his skills, abilities and experience (he has a masters degree and some work toward a doctorate, is an experienced adjunct university teacher and published writer).

I've had the same management-level job for 15 years at a small non-profit agency (I'm 52). The pay is not great, but the job provides health insurance and retirement -- for me. But my job doesn’t pay quite enough to meet our monthly bills, even though we live very frugally. We'd have to move to a small apartment to live within my income, unless I could find a better paying job here, which, when I've looked, hasn't been that promising with the skills I have.

We are debt-free, own our cars. We have no children or elderly relatives to support. We have savings of about $35,000, which we are now starting to tap into for monthly living expenses.

Question: Keeping our ages in mind, do we give up my steady income and move to a larger city, which would hopefully have better job opportunities for us? Risk that we could find decent jobs with benefits before the $35,000 runs out? Or do we stay here, downgrade our housing, and hope one or both of us can eventually find something better?

Thanks for the input.

by Richard Yadon, CPC, President/CEO, Health Career Professionals

There isn't a simple answer to your question. It has as much to do with your personal preference and preferred lifestyle as it does with employment. Only you can answer this question, but let me give you some personal perspective that might help you reach a conclusion.

I would avoid tapping into your savings. You've done a great job by staying out of debt and living on a budget. Whatever you should decide to do, be sure you stay out of debt, preserve your savings, and live within your means. You might want to check into attending a Financial Peace course near your home. This will give you more financial planning tools, ideas, and resources. You can go to for more financial advice and locations of the course.

As for employment you seem to only have two choices – stay and hope something turns up or move to where you can be hired. Unless your skills and industry experience are very specialized, it is unlikely that the job market for you will change drastically in the short-term. That means if you are having trouble finding work now, you will continue to have a hard time in the near future.

Checking Monster or Career Builder for jobs that match your skill and experience will help you determine where people like you are finding work. You might also talk with a recruiter that places people with your backgrounds. The recruiter can give you insight into your employment possibilities.

Richard Yadon is President/CEO of Health Career Professionals, an executive search and employee development company focused in the healthcare industry.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
Your husband might find some consulting or employment ideas through his university career center, through his trade publications, online newsletters, or relevant websites. Perhaps he can work from home, writing for a publication or website that specializes in his field. Or, if he’s even a little web savvy, he could start his own website or blog, and learn how to use online advertising (like Google Adsense) to earn a little extra income.

Job Lounger, do you have a question? Email it to me and I’ll post your question and an expert’s answer here in The Job Lounge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for your feedback and ideas. Some of the things we have tried; others we haven't and will check them out.

I appreciate the variety of helpful information you have on this blog. Thanks!