Monday, May 15, 2006

Between Jobs: Should You Flip Burgers In the Meantime?

Author: Nick
Category: Money

mmm, burgers

The Wall Street Journal’s Career Journal site posted an intriguing question asked by a professional on the brink of unemployment:

I’m 35 years old and facing a potential layoff. I see many laid-off colleagues at home collecting unemployment. But wouldn’t flipping burgers or pumping gas be better than an empty spot on my resume?

Sue Shellenbarger, the Career Journal columnist, responded with two suggestions:

  1. Avoid the layoff if possible. Make your case to your employer as to why you are worth keeping around. Try to latch on to a new project or supervisor–anything to keep your job for a while longer… at least while you explore opportunities elsewhere.
  2. Use the off time for professional development. If the axe falls, use your “free time” wisely. While exploring the job listings, consider learning new skills, or find a temporary or volunteer position relevant to your field. This way, you can dodge a resume void and fill it with something potentially useful instead.

I would add two more suggestions…

  1. Consider a career change. If you’re going to have a mid-life crisis, now’s the time to do it. Start fresh, go back for your degree in Ancient Mesopotamian History or whatever, and never look back. Just be sure you have alternate sources of income (i.e. a loving, supporting spouse) lined up to help keep food in your belly.
  2. Get things done. In between these other options, don’t forget that you’ve got some extra time on your hands. Spend it with family, invest it in home improvements, or waste it playing videogames. Assuming money isn’t an issue, enjoy your “vacation.”

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