Author Topic: Talk to me about my unemployment options  (Read 3384 times)

COEE

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Talk to me about my unemployment options
« on: May 06, 2017, 09:44:10 AM »
I have recently found myself among the unemployed due to a company RIF.  Ironically, this is also a time with one of the lowest unemployment rates in American history.  I already have two phone interviews lined up next week.  Because of this, I'm not too concerned with finding a new job or getting a competitive salary.  But I have a few questions that perhaps getting some outside input might help with.

I'm an Electrical Engineer with 10 years of design experience in aerospace and IoT sectors.  I'm mid-career.  I have about 6 months of liquid emergency fund and my wife's salary will contribute another 3 months.  I was counting on unemployment contributing another 3 months - for a total of 1 year of cash.  If I count all of my non-real estate assets - I can get by about 4 years before I run out of money - but that would clear out all of my retirement funds.  I also have another 3 years of equity in my house if I need to sell.  I live in an area with many high-tech white-collar jobs within 30 minutes of my home and many more within an hour commute of my home.

1.  I have mentioned on my linked in profile that I have been terminated due to no fault of my own and that I have a letter of recommendation from my supervisor.  Is this good idea?  I think it's good from the standpoint that I've addressed the end date of my employment, but it might effect my negotiation for salary if they think I'm desperate - which I'm not.

2.  I'd really like to spend my summer with my daughter (6 yrs old).  I view this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to do so.  Is there a lot of harm in just not taking interviews for the next 3 months or so?  I've talked with the unemployment office in my state (CO) and they have confirmed that I don't need to apply for benefits until late September to receive my full benefit.  But they've also informed me that if I reject a job that it might be grounds to not qualify for unemployment at all.

3.  One of my mentors has also advised me to keep looking for work because he doesn't want me to look lazy on my resume.  I can assure you that I'm not lazy - but I really want the summer with my daughter - this might be my only chance.  How do I let future potential employers know that I wanted the summer off because it was probably my only chance to spend a entire summer with my only child?

4.  Should I claim my unemployment benefits now or later?  I'm told I need to at least initiate contact with 5 potential employers each week to receive my benefits.  This could really screw up #2.

5.  My last job was literally 1.8 miles from my home.  I really liked this arrangement on many levels - lots of bike riding and walking, close to my daughters school, negligible car commuting, etc.  Should I seriously be targeting a job in my town? 

6.  I think I have a good idea for a YouTube channel that might bring in some contract work and AdSense money.  I could start this and see what happens while doing #2, which could help alleviate my concern about #3.  I might need to contribute about 1/2 to 1 month of emergency fund to get it up and going to see what happens.  So this is not without mild risk.

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Has anyone here done something like this?  I seem to remember reading about someone that lined up a job starting the end of summer to start at the beginning of summer.  This would be ideal and a dream come true.

FIRE me

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2017, 12:00:46 PM »
I think that you'll be unlikely to have your cake and eat it too.

Over three months of joblessness (the time you intentionally take off, plus the time it takes you to actually land a job) in this low unemployment economy will look bad. 

Collecting unemployment while intentionally staying unemployed is considered to be unethical by many.

If you really want the summer off to enjoy your daughter, take it. But don't try to collect unemployment at the same time. And be prepared to explain the reason for your sabbatical, and accept the fact that it will be counted against you by some potential employers. Either they won't believe you, or they want employees who put career first over family time.

As you say, finding a great job with a three month delayed starting date would be the ideal.

My personal opinion would be to take two to four weeks off guilt free, enjoy time with your daughter, and then start an intensive job search and file for unemployment. 

I'm not sure of what to do about your scheduled interviews.

COEE

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2017, 12:34:25 PM »
Collecting unemployment while intentionally staying unemployed is considered to be unethical by many.

I agree with this.  My initial reaction was to take the summer off with my daughter and once school starts file unemployment and start looking for a job.  Then my dad informed me that at his last job they wanted to be able to call the unemployment office to verify that you were, in fact, unemployed.  He said that they were able to identify ex-cons more than once using this technique.  So that leaves me in a pickle to accomplish my goals, I think.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 12:42:59 PM by COEE »

Padonak

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2017, 01:13:06 PM »
Keep applying for jobs and take the summer off with your daughter, also get unemployment insurance. Be selective: if you get a great job offer, change your plans and take it even if it's before end of summer.

My last job search took about 3 months starting from beginning of summer. I started getting interest pretty soon, but it took over a month between getting a verbal offer and starting in a new job due to: decision makes being on vacation, background check, notice period at previous job, etc.

What I'm saying is you don't have to choose between spending time with your daughter and getting unemployment insurance. Get both. Also, because you keep applying for jobs, i think it's perfectly ethical. 

Padonak

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2017, 01:16:34 PM »
About your linked in profile. Don't say that your job was terminated, etc. Just keep the previous role as if you're currently employed and haven't yet updated your profile. When asked about job status, tell them your were laid off due to RIF and manager can give you a great reference. 

COEE

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 09:05:19 AM »
Keep applying for jobs and take the summer off with your daughter, also get unemployment insurance. Be selective: if you get a great job offer, change your plans and take it even if it's before end of summer.

I think this is what I have to do.  I think according to the unemployment office, if the offer is reasonable financially I have to take it.  I'm not quite sure what that means though.  I have to start digging.

I do have a phone interview lined up next week with an awesome company.  They do positive work for humanity (something I look for in my jobs), pay well, have good benefits, 401k match, mid-cap, a stable company with many long-term employees, and the job would be pushing my skill set.  Really sounds like a good opportunity to me.  The only downside I see is that it's a 35 minute commute from my home.  That's not the end of the world at my desired salary range though.  The recruiter originally made contact with me before I lost my job.  So I've been debating even bringing it up.

Obviously, if I get a reasonable offer, I'll take the job and hopefully only be unemployed for a few weeks.

COEE

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2017, 09:06:27 AM »
About your linked in profile. Don't say that your job was terminated, etc. Just keep the previous role as if you're currently employed and haven't yet updated your profile. When asked about job status, tell them your were laid off due to RIF and manager can give you a great reference.

I don't like 'forgetting to change my profile'.  How can you 'forget to change your profile' with a job loss?

lhamo

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2017, 10:12:53 AM »
I agree that you should start looking now, but if you get an offer see if you can negotiate a delayed start or start on a reduced hour schedule for the summer -- in some work environments this might be very do-able.   Worth a shot, anyway.

Padonak

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2017, 01:36:51 PM »
About your linked in profile. Don't say that your job was terminated, etc. Just keep the previous role as if you're currently employed and haven't yet updated your profile. When asked about job status, tell them your were laid off due to RIF and manager can give you a great reference.

I don't like 'forgetting to change my profile'.  How can you 'forget to change your profile' with a job loss?

Because it's none of other people's business what you post or don't post on LinkedIn. 

I update my profile only if I believe I will benefit from it. I post as little or as much as I want keeping in mind that I have to look out for myself, not worry about what other people think.

It's bad enough that we are now supposed to publish our career history and current position for the whole world to see. LinkedIn and social networks in general are not there to help you and me. They are in it for the money, so of course they encourage everyone to post as much as possible about themselves and keep everything up to date. It doesn't mean that we have a moral obligation to do so.

As a specific example, i looked at linkedin profiles of many of my former colleagues after big rounds of layoffs. None of them updated their profiles to "laid off/no longer working there" shortly after they left. A couple of them were let go a few years back and still haven't updated their profiles.  Even after finding new roles, not all of them updated their profiles (I suppose in case the new job doesn't work out, or just because again, it's none of other people's business where they work now).

« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 01:39:25 PM by Padonak »

letired

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2017, 02:18:12 PM »
About your linked in profile. Don't say that your job was terminated, etc. Just keep the previous role as if you're currently employed and haven't yet updated your profile. When asked about job status, tell them your were laid off due to RIF and manager can give you a great reference.

I don't like 'forgetting to change my profile'.  How can you 'forget to change your profile' with a job loss?

Because it's none of other people's business what you post or don't post on LinkedIn. 

I update my profile only if I believe I will benefit from it. I post as little or as much as I want keeping in mind that I have to look out for myself, not worry about what other people think.

It's bad enough that we are now supposed to publish our career history and current position for the whole world to see. LinkedIn and social networks in general are not there to help you and me. They are in it for the money, so of course they encourage everyone to post as much as possible about themselves and keep everything up to date. It doesn't mean that we have a moral obligation to do so.

As a specific example, i looked at linkedin profiles of many of my former colleagues after big rounds of layoffs. None of them updated their profiles to "laid off/no longer working there" shortly after they left. A couple of them were let go a few years back and still haven't updated their profiles.  Even after finding new roles, not all of them updated their profiles (I suppose in case the new job doesn't work out, or just because again, it's none of other people's business where they work now).

^^ What they said. LinkedIn is a tool that you make work for you. There is no requirement or expectation that you update the information on a minute-to-minute basis.

Chrissy

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2017, 02:56:55 PM »
Askamanager.org would say that a gap of less than 6mo is no big deal to most employers and won't require "an explanation" as long as you have an otherwise solid work history.  And, if an employer DOES demand an explanation, it's probably not a company you want to work for anyway.

Start looking in June-ish, and file for unemployment then, when you can be honest about your search.  You probably wouldn't have an offer before August anyway.  If you want, tell the employer that you're currently taking care of a family member, but you expect the situation to be resolved by [Aug/Sept, whenever school starts] so a/n [Aug/Sept/Oct] start date would be ideal.  Remember, withdrawing yourself from consideration for a job is NOT the same as turning down an offer.

Just put the end date with your recent employer on LinkedIn sans explanation.  You can explain the circumstances in the interview.  I don't think employers will automatically assume you were fired, especially if you have a reference from the company.

If there are appropriate employers in your close geographic location, I would target them first.  Think about how much more money would be necessary to make a commute worth your while when you apply to farther-flung employers and build that into your required salary range for the positions.

MrsPete

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2017, 05:37:27 PM »
Why not search for jobs /interview now ... but make it clear that your earliest start date is August X. 

COEE

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2017, 06:20:02 PM »
Why not search for jobs /interview now ... but make it clear that your earliest start date is August X.

I've thought about doing this.  I'm not sure how willing companies are to talk to you if your start date is that far out though - that's three months from now.  My experience is that if they are looking for someone in my field of expertise, they need me ASAP.  I like the idea of saying I need to care for a family member over the summer.

This is what I've put on my linked in account - I just don't see how that hurts me - it's up-front, honest, and the letter of recommendation shows that I'm not a putz.  Sure it's nobody's business, but hiding it would look worse in my opinion.
"I am no longer employed at [snip]. I can provide a letter of recommendation from my direct supervisor and my notice of termination due to no fault of my own, upon request."

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2017, 10:10:27 PM »
I agree with Padonak on not mentioning your layoff on LinkedIn.  While some sources indicate that employers don't mind a 6-month employment gap, my recent experience with layoff indicates otherwise: several employment application forms asked to explain any unemployment gap longer than 2 months.   

damyst

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2017, 10:53:28 PM »
I already have two phone interviews lined up next week.  Because of this, I'm not too concerned with finding a new job or getting a competitive salary.
Quote
I'd really like to spend my summer with my daughter (6 yrs old).  I view this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to do so. 

It seems to me that, with these two points, you've answered your own question regarding whether to take the summer off. The opportunity is rare, and the risk is low. I say go for it. If a potential employer considers a few months break to be a red flag, then it's not an employer you want to be working for anyway.
Quote
My last job was literally 1.8 miles from my home.  I really liked this arrangement on many levels - lots of bike riding and walking, close to my daughters school, negligible car commuting, etc.  Should I seriously be targeting a job in my town? 
Your call, but on this point I'm firmly with MMM. The total costs of a "normal" commute - in money, time, happiness, and opportunity - are grossly underestimated in our society. Nowadays when evaluating employers this is literally the first aspect I consider.

COEE

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2017, 07:41:22 AM »
I already have two phone interviews lined up next week.  Because of this, I'm not too concerned with finding a new job or getting a competitive salary.
Quote
I'd really like to spend my summer with my daughter (6 yrs old).  I view this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to do so. 

It seems to me that, with these two points, you've answered your own question regarding whether to take the summer off. The opportunity is rare, and the risk is low. I say go for it. If a potential employer considers a few months break to be a red flag, then it's not an employer you want to be working for anyway.
Quote
My last job was literally 1.8 miles from my home.  I really liked this arrangement on many levels - lots of bike riding and walking, close to my daughters school, negligible car commuting, etc.  Should I seriously be targeting a job in my town? 
Your call, but on this point I'm firmly with MMM. The total costs of a "normal" commute - in money, time, happiness, and opportunity - are grossly underestimated in our society. Nowadays when evaluating employers this is literally the first aspect I consider.

Thanks for your post!! It helps reassure me that I'm not crazy just waiting to start my job hunt.  Living close to work and my daughter's school has been so blissful - It's my preferred scenario.  It sounds like finding the right employer might be difficult (based on the ratio of support to warning here), but your post helps me know that these kind of employers are out there.

I am hoping that as I keep looking I naturally start work in August.

TimmyTightWad

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2017, 07:57:40 AM »
Hmmm I didn't realize that having breaks in employment were still a big thing now days. If I ever get laid off I think I want to travel for a bit to unwind, maybe do something like you and take off 3 months to travel , go to the gym, and slow life down a bit. I'm a software engineer and I wonder if the demand is so high that employers won't care that I took months off to enjoy life. Maybe it'll actually make me look more attractive since they may assume I'm so skilled I can do whatever I want knowing jobs will be waiting for me

mozar

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Re: Talk to me about my unemployment options
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2017, 02:42:23 PM »
I'm unemployed too. The recruiters I've talked to always seem to be surprised that I'm available immediately. I asked one of them why and the recruiter said that most people he has talked to were taking a break for the summer. So when recruiters ask when I'm available I'll tell them I'm not going to the Bahamas for 3 months. Hardy har har.

I put the end date on my last job on linked in. No explanation or anything. In my field they don't do much hiring until the fall anyway. But 5 contacts is a lot. I only have to do 2 thank goodness, and I get unemployment for a year.