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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coming Out of Transition

While I can't release details yet, I will be coming out of transition November 26th working as a Regional Director of Human Resources for a company in Indianapolis.  I signed a contingent offer letter last week and am awaiting the criminal background check and reference checks to be completed and the contingency to be removed from the offer.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your calls and notes of encouragement, your prayers, and your friendship.  I assume that everyone who offered to be a reference for me will follow through with a positive reference, and I know my own clean background, so this should be over for me soon.  Vonnie and I will take a much-delayed 30th anniversary cruise in early November and then come back preparing for what comes next.

This job lead came from a friend whose career I had helped a few years ago.  Almost every good lead I had came from someone I had helped at some point.  This was instructive for me and I pass it along to you; if you want to prepare yourself for transition in the long term, and make friends along the way, help everyone you can.  I don't think its unchristian to believe in good karma and intend to start this next phase of my career the way I ended it; showing everyone I know everything I know and helping everyone I can.

Again, thank you one and all for everything you did to support me during this transition.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life Insurance While In Transition

One of the most responsible things the family's breadwinner can do is to protect his or her family through life insurance.  Its easy while you work for a company who offers life insurance; it usually is 100% company-paid and automatic when you come on the payroll.  It is also easy when you leave one job and start another as the successor insurance usually becomes effective before the old insurance expires.  But what about when you are in transition, and especially if you are trying to preserve cash?  Here's what I've learned.

When you leave your job for whatever reason you have the opportunity to "port" your life insurance, that is to pay age-rated premiums and convert your group coverage to a personal policy.  You usually have 30 days to do that and your HR or Benefits department can provide you with the paperwork, or you can call the life insurance carrier yourself.  If you die during the 30 day "conversion period" after your termination date then your life claim would be paid as if you were still employed.

What I found problematic at my age and salary level was cost and frequency of payments.  Two times my salary at age 52, and being required to pay the first quarter's premiums up front, was going to be almost $700.  Because of that I began to look for options.

I approached my local insurance agent, and the best I could get was $167/month for ten years of term coverage.  The policy would go into effect when I paid my premiums but there was a catch.  Anytime during the first month the underwriters could decide not to take the coverage, refund my premium, and decide not to pay a claim.

In the interest of time and expense I began to look on-line.  I found an interesting option with Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage with Mutual of Omaha that would be only $12.50/month for $500,000 in coverage.  This was a really good cost-effective option should I die in some accident.  Then I remembered that we had an executive die on the basketball court of an unknown heart ailment, and realized that my family would be left with no coverage in such a health-related death scenario.  Thus I kept looking.

I finally came across a number of Internet-based insurance brokers offering the same coverage in the $60 - $70/month range.  One of them offered to give me his Tennessee insurance brokers license number and a couple of days to check him out with the Tennessee Insurance Commission.  I purchased a ten-year term policy with the benefit level I needed and immediate coverage for $61.50/month payable monthly by direct draft.

So now I have affordable coverage and the family is protected until I get my next job.  The premiums I would have paid to port my former employer's coverage for three months will pay for this coverage for 10 months, and I don't have all that cash out the door immediately.

The moral of the story is this; it pays to look around, reputable web-based brokers will give you the information necessary to check them out, and you can protect your family and your severance cash at the same time.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

How People Find Jobs Today

Note: This series is written for others who are in career transition, either from the same company I left or elsewhere. Having been fortunate to have transitional benefits, and a great network of HR pros,  these posts are written for the benefit of those who don't have as much time or the good advice available to me.  

Although this information is well-known in HR circles and intuitive to some, for others it may be news. This is especially true if, like me, you haven't been on the job market in years if ever.  I have worked since I was 14 (farm kid) and have been recruited to every job I've ever gotten.  Being on the offensive, actively looking for a job, is a totally new experience at age 52.

If you are similarly uninitiated here are some statistics about how people are finding jobs in this economy.

Job Boards - Only 10 - 15% of job seekers land a job off an Internet job board.  This is disproportionate to the percentage of time people spend looking for jobs, as most spend the majority of their time completing on-line applications.  With the average Monster or Career Builder add getting 1,400 responses it is the longest of long shots that any human will ever look at your application or on-line-submitted resume.  You still should submit one, but to a potential employer where you know someone and have a networking contact.

Recruiters - About 10 - 12% of seekers find jobs through recruiters.  This statistic is a little misleading, however, in that recruiters are far more effective in their work that the numbers show.  The issue is that very few people know a for-profit, independent recruiter who works across many clients.  If you know these folks and can get to them they can be helpful.  Also many of them are Executive Recruiters which means they won't look at you if you aren't making $80 - 100k in base salary.  For those making less you should try to make contact with temporary agencies who also have a recruiting arm.

Other -  About 5% land jobs through word-of-mouth, somebody you worked with knows-about-you-and-gives-you-a-call type of situation.

Networking - 75 - 85% of job seekers find their next job through their network of friends and professional acquaintances.

What's important about these statistics is how it should inform the job seeker in allocating their time.  So many times jobs seekers retreat from public life out of fear, confusion, shame, or a belief that getting 50 on-line apps out a day will create motion.  More accurate is that the job seeker should be out in the community making sure everyone they know knows that they are in transition.  When you find out about an opportunity then you network your way into that organization through a referral (ask the person who told you about it to make a phone call or send an email) and then complete the on-line application. The HR person or manager looking to fill the job then has your resume or application in their system and can readily assess your candidacy.

Remember, get out from behind that PC or laptop and engage the community, especially those you've helped along the way or who have been your advocates in past jobs.  Avoid the black hole of the Internet except when you have a personal connection to a specific company.