With rising productivity at an advanced age, common concerns for older people facing job losses revolve around their pension and unemployment benefits. Senior citizens can avail UI benefits as there is no age limit to claiming them. This is as long as you have not withdrawn from the labor market, and you meet the other eligibility criteria.
Unemployment Insurance is a government initiative that is funded by collections from employers and not taxpayers. It helps workers financially while they are unemployed and looking actively for work. You can claim UI benefits while drawing social security benefits and pension payments, though it would be subject to deductions as per the pension plan.
When Can I Retire and Claim Unemployment Insurance?
As per the Social Security Administration of the US, the earliest retirement age is 65, for people who were born in 1937 or earlier. For each year after 1937 until 1943, the age increases successively by two months, culminating in 66 for those born between 1943-1954. From 1955, the age increases similarly by two months each successive year to 67 for those born in 1960 and later.
Thus, if you were born in 1957, you would retire at 66 years and six months.
Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits if I Retire Early?
If you have taken early retirement, unemployment benefits could be claimed by you. However, this only applies if you were laid off for no fault of your own and/or compelled to accept an early retirement package by your employer to reduce the workforce.
You may also be able to claim UI benefits if you had to retire due to health and safety reasons, and your employer failed to provide you with suitable alternative work. The exact conditions vary from state to state, so refer to your state’s website for details.
Does Pension Affect Unemployment Benefits?
Pension refers to any periodic payment which may be employer-contributed, governmental, union, from sharing profits, annuity, etc. Most states such as Georgia, California, etc. reduce the unemployment compensation of those who receive pension payments. This is not to be confused with social security benefits, which are not affected by pension or UI benefits.
Typically the weekly benefit amount is reduced by the amount contributed by your base period employer towards your pension (if they contributed 50% or more). If you draw upon your retirement plans like a 401(k) that too is subject to deduction, based on those amounts, the weekly benefit amount payable to you could drop to zero, thus disqualifying you.
The other requirements you would have to satisfy to claim unemployment insurance include:
Meeting all the reporting requirements
Registering for work with the state portal and proving that you are actively looking for work
Drawing the threshold wage during your base period (which may vary across states)
Being unemployed through no fault of your own
Older workers who get laid off have a tougher time finding new jobs compared to younger workers. As the unemployment compensation is not considered as income under the social security earnings, it is an added advantage for senior citizens and retirees who can also draw social security benefits.
Applicants should remember to file their claims as quickly as they can, regardless of whether they have been served the unemployment notice by their employer.
Most Americans decide to leave their jobs due to one or the other form of harassment meted out in the workplace. Toxic work environments affect people psychologically and their performance, making it an all-round bad experience for the employees.
A study showed that nearly 60 percent of employees have quit or are on the verge of quitting their jobs because of the workplace harassment they face. There are many types of harassment that one may experience – racial, sexual, religious, ethnic, age-based, disability-based, bullying, or employers holding personal grudges against the applicants.
This, however, gets complicated when one quits and applies for UI Benefits. The state unemployment benefits department has two major challenges.
The two biggest challenges that an applicant will face are:
The onus of proving that the harassment has taken place will be on the applicant
The applicant’s word will not be taken as final. If the employer contests the claim of the applicant, the applicant might end up losing the UI benefits if he/she does not have legitimate proofs
What Constitutes Harassment?
It is important for people to understand that you may not get along with your employer and this does not constitute harassment. Employers are not obligated to make you feel at home or make you get along with themselves or others.
If you quit your job because you could not get along with your manager, your resignation will be considered as ‘voluntary’, and you will not qualify for UI benefits.
For any case to be considered as harassment, the applicant must be treated unfairly based on factors that are beyond the employee’s performance or behavior.
Some of the instances that are considered as harassment include:
Your work environment made hostile due to your gender, sexual orientation, race, religious affiliation, age, disability or due to personal enmity
Your work environment made hostile because you brought to light a criminal activity, health hazard, or discrimination faced by someone else either to your manager or to the police
You were ‘constructively discharged’ by your employer. Constructive discharge is when an employee is forced to quit due to the discrimination meted out against him/her
How to Prove Your Claim?
There are some important steps you need to follow to make sure that you have sufficient evidence for your claims.
Show that you tried to solve the issue: First and foremost, any state UI department will see if you have made any efforts in trying to solve the issue within the organization. You need to furnish proof that you have amply communicated with your manager about your issue. You need to show that you did not leave your job at the first sight of the problem, but instead, you tried to solve it but found no success.
File formal complaints: File formal complaints while you are still employed if you cannot solve the issue by yourself. Either file a complaint with a higher authority in your organization or you can also file a complaint with the ‘Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’. You can also file a complaint with your state or local government authorities like the police, or the Human Rights Division of your state.
Documentation of your complaints: Make sure that all your communication about your issue is well documented. Communicating through emails is one of the smarter things to do while connecting with your manager. If you submitted a handwritten complaint, make sure to keep a photocopy of your submission. Keep the copies of complaints that you filed with the local government agencies or with the EEOC.
This will form a major piece of evidence to showcase that you went through harassment and you tried to find a solution by informing the respective authorities. Such documented evidence will be the difference between your word and your employer’s word.
If you are left with no other option but to quit your job, you have arrived in the right place. Check out FileUnemployment.org to know more about filing for UI benefits in your state.
The 1099 form is used to record income that you have received as an independent contractor or through other sources of income. This would mean that if you are a freelancer then you will receive 1099 forms from your clients. The IRS requires businesses to issue this form if contractors are paid at least $600 in the same year.
Based on how you receive your income, there are a few different 1099 forms that will need to submit. The 1099-K form is used for payments via settlements entities like PayPal that record business transactions for that particular year. Finally, you should track the sum total of your 1099 forms and calculate the total income and adjusted gross income (AGI).
What is a 1099?
The 1099 form is referred to as the Information Filing Form. Usually, there are types of 1099 forms that are used to report tax dividends, the sale of personal property and debts. But the one that is most frequently used is the Form 1099-MISC used by independent contractors and business owners.
When is the Deadline for 1099?
You should ensure that you file form 1099-MISC with the IRS every year by January 31. On the other hand, Form 1099-K should be filed with the IRS by February 28 for mail filing and by March 31 if you are submitting it in the electronic form.
How to Go About Filing 1099 Form?
When it comes to compiling the 1099 form, you should ensure that you include Copy A of 1099-MISC and Copy A of the 1099-K when you share the 1099 form with the IRS. Also, ensure that you submit Form 1096 should be filed as well. This helps the IRS check the amount you paid out in total. These IRS forms are scanned to electronically read these forms.
When it comes to the electronic filing, you need to use a special formatting software which is usually worked on by developers. Anyone that files online should apply to the IRS to let them know that you are filing electronically. Moreover, the IRS prefers this method and there are major benefits like:
Filing for State and Federal together for 34 states
No 1096 form needed
Submission of 1099s in Bulk
Form confirmation of it being received and processed.
Preparing the 1099 Forms
The following seven steps will help you prepare your 1099 forms and adhere to the IRS guidelines:
1. Reviewing Your Work
You should ensure that you start the 1099 form process by filling in the correct information of the contractors. Ensure that you have filled out the Form W-9 for each contractor. This would include information like their name, address, and their Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN).
As a good practice, you should check with each contractor to see if any information has changed prior to when you started the 1099 filing process. Check whether all contractors have provided the W-9 forms and whether they have omitted specific information. Based on this, you can withhold 28% of the contractor’s pay and send this directly to the IRS.
2. Getting Your 1099s in Order
When it comes to the 1099s, you should ensure that you have accurate information to work with. Ensure that you do not use a downloaded Form 1099-MISC or a sample, as these forms will be read by the IRS scanner when it processes these forms.
Order these forms directly from the IRS from their website or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Alternatively, you can get these forms at office-supply stores or file it online. You should know that you can buy pre-printed 1099 forms that let you print all of the information to the corresponding sections of the 1099 form.
Use the IRS Form 1099-MISC to determine the incomes for all non-employee compensation. This is what independent contractors use file and calculate their taxes. Ensure that all contractors that you have paid more than $600 in the same year fill in the Form 1099-MISC. This form is to be filled in by contractors that work for partnerships and LLCs throughout the year.
When it comes to the paper filings, Form 1096 is attached along with the 1099 filing, wherein you report the total amount of the 1099 payments that you have filed. This ensures that the IRS has the cumulative forms add up to how much is paid out in total as reported in the 1096 form.
If you get a Form 1099-G from the government agency then you are required to report this information when filing your tax return. Usually, the 1099-G is used to report unemployment compensation or state or local income tax refunds that you have received in the same year.
3. Filling Out Forms
Once you have the details and information of your contractors and the forms, you then need to put pen to paper and fill them out. You can begin with entering the Federal Tax ID number which is the SSN or EIN and then add the contact information.
The 1099 form should include the total amount of money paid to the contractor which is entered in the title Non-employee compensation. In case, you had withheld any pay from the contractor then you need to fill in details in relation to federal or state income tax which was withheld.
Finally, you need to enter the contact information forms and repeat this for each contractor that you have worked with.
4. Sending Out the Forms
You should then proceed to send the forms to the IRS. Either, you should mail or hand each of 1099 Copy B to the contractor before February 1. If you fail to meet this deadline then there would be an IRS penalty fee that would be levied on you.
5. Mailing Form 1096 to the IRS
IRS Form 1096 sums up the total of your returns which would be the 1099s. In case you file through snail mail then you must mail Form 1096 and Copy A of each Form 1099 to the IRS before February 29. But, if you are filing electronically, then you can send it out by March 31.
6. Keeping Record of Your Filing
Always keep a Copy C for your own records in case there are questions regarding the information that is sent to the IRS.
What’s the IRS Penalty for Missing the Deadline?
If you miss the deadline, then the penalty would range from $30 to $100 based on the form. You will be fined a maximum of $500,000 per year. In case a company completely disregards the need to showcase correct statements, then it could be fined $250 per form with no maximum limit.
What’s the Difference Between a 1099 and a W-2 Tax Form?
Although the W-2 and Form 1099 are both used to report income that you earned from sources throughout the year. They are issued under different circumstances and requires different approaches when it comes to tax planning.
So, what is a W-2 Form?
A W-2 Form is usually given to you if you are an employee. Here, the IRS requires you to record your salary and tax information and file it with a W-2 form. This form shows you how much money you have earned from the employer during the year and you can thus calculate your AGI which includes your Federal and State taxes.
Here you can determine how 1099 forms differ from W-2 forms:
Here taxes are not usually withheld by the payer.
If you are a freelancer, then you are required to estimate your taxes and pay self-employment tax.
Here, you would not be withholding taxes on payments by doing tax payments quarterly based on your estimated annual tax liability.
The 1099 form will not show the taxes that you have paid to the government but the income you get from each client.
There were more than 1 million people that have been laid off this year based on the details suggested by the U.S Department of Labor. In case you are recently unemployed then you should be able to learn how to survive unemployment. Another equally hard fact to digest is that 3.7 percent of Americans are unemployed and 22.9 percent of those people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. The hardest thing is having to cash in your last paycheck and not know where the next paycheck would come in from.
7 Ways To Survive Unemployment
Here are the seven things that you should do when unemployed:
1. Apply for Unemployment Benefits
You should claim your unemployment benefits if you have lost your job for no fault of your own. The US Department of Labor usually takes two weeks before they can give you the benefits which are after you file for a claim. While some states allow you to apply online or over the phone, while others require you to visit in person.
You will receive a determined amount based on formulas that vary by the state which is typically based on what you earned over the previous 52 weeks. For example, one of the common formula that pays for half of what you earn with a cap that tied to your state’s average earnings.
In most states, you should be able to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks but there are programs that can extend this. Earlier, a federal program called the Emergency Unemployment Compensation offers additional benefits but it ended in December 2012. There are state and federal programs under Extended Benefits that provides 13 to 20 weeks of additional benefits to those exhausting state compensation. This program is available only in states where the unemployment rate is above the established threshold. This means that your state employment office can let you know if your state is part of the list. You should know that unemployment compensation is taxable.
2. Have an Unemployed Budget
Prior to the Great Recession, financial experts recommended saving three to six months of expenses as an emergency fund based on whether you would find a new job in that time. But since August this year, the US Department of Labor has stated that long-term unemployed made up 40 percent of the total unemployment rate. With these statistics, you would have to stretch your budget and make an emergency fund that will fund you longer than you wanted to. You should put your money on a survivor’s diet till you find another job. Here’s how:
a) You should first tally your savings and unemployment benefits and then divide the total into several months of income. This way you will know how much you spend in a month and survive many months. You should aim to save this fund for more than a year.
b) Next, you should update your budget and look for ways for savings. You can choose to downgrade your electronics or internet packages and save yourself some money.
c) Take a look at what you are spending on and see what you can cut out on without losing your quality of life. You can cut out cable TV and swap it for Netflix and save money that way without losing track of your favorite shows.
d) Be smart and don’t pinch pennies. You should know that you cannot spend as you used to but don’t make it worse for yourself watching every penny when unemployed. You should look at ways to save money and use coupons when you can.
3. Start the Job Hunt
While there are several jobs in the market, there is a strong competition and the job hunt takes time. Use these steps to get into action:
a) You should update your resume with some modern techniques to write your resume. You should note that you cannot make silly mistakes that should not come up on your resume.
b) Post your resume on job sites like Monster and Glassdoor. This will give potential employers access to your resume and contact you.
c) You should network both offline and online and let people know that you are looking out for a job. Tell people on social media that you are looking out for a job and search for jobs. Connect with previous colleagues, college classmates and potential employers that are there to help you get the job. Create a profile and start networking if you don’t already have a profile.
d) Clean up your online presence. You should hide or delete anything that you do not want your future boss to see.
You might have to hang out a little longer before you land your dream job but there are many part-time jobs that you can do now to bring a little cash. Some of these jobs include:
Seasonal employment: The holidays are coming up and retailers are looking for temporary workers.
Temporary jobs: There are plenty of employers looking for someone to work for a few weeks or a few months.
Side jobs: Going into an office isn’t the only way to make some cash.
5. Boost Your Savings
You should take inventory of everything that is in your house and see what you no longer use or use and make some extra cash by selling it. More expensive items like jewelry, you should sell online and for bigger things, you should use a garage sale as your best bet.
6. Keep to a schedule
A few days after losing a job, you would still wake up early and get things done. But then things start to slip up. Whether it’s waking up late, watching too much TV and feeling frazzled, you need to keep a schedule and stick to it. Once you get into the groove, you will be able to look for jobs, exercise and stop wasting time.
7. Don’t stop having fun
Most of your socialization happens at the office and this is why when you are at home, you might feel isolated. To keep from feeling disconnected, you can try these activities:
a) Volunteering is not only rewarding but its a great way to socialize, network and keep entertained. You can volunteer at places like a Soup Kitchen twice a week and this would get you out of the house and be within the company of people.
b) If you start a walking group there are chances that you might meet your neighbor and meet more people that could get you out of the house and burn calories.
c) You can also find a lot of free fun stuff to do like taking the kids to the park, catching a free concert or going to an art show.
Based on whatever you choose, you can make sure that you get the most out of it. Not only will it keep you busy but it can help you find your job even if it means visiting friends.
The employment situation continued to blossom under the stewardship of President Donald Trump with more than 2 million jobs being added in 2017 alone. Based on the report in April 2017, 164,000 jobs were added to the past month and the recovery dragged the unemployment rate to 3.9% which is the lowest since 2000.
The unemployment is around 4% since October 2017. The unemployment rate is declining at such a low level that you would wonder if low unemployment is good for the market. Also, some may wonder if the unemployment rate is too low.
To define unemployment rate in simple words, it is the percentage of workers that are unemployed and actively looking for a job. The first question would be to question why the unemployment rate is way too low and whether it detrimental to the economy.
Based on the current trends, the labor market has reached a point where additional jobs do not create enough productivity to cover the costs. This is the output gap and this often refers to slack in the labor market. In an ideal scenario, the economy would have no slack and run at full capacity with no output gap. If there is a negative output gap, then this is based on the number of economic resources in the labor market that is underutilized. At this point, there is a positive output gap where the market is overusing resources and this is where the economy becomes inefficient and the unemployment rate dips. Economists usually suggest that the US unemployment rate is if it is below 5 percent is close to full capacity. This means at 3.9 percent, the level of unemployment is too low and the economy is edging towards being inefficient.
Increase in Wage Inflation
Generally, inflation is great for the economy. But at times, certain industry wage inflation above the natural pace can be detrimental. Sectors like industrial and consumer discretion have constraints with wage inflation and small-cap firms that cannot cope with rising wages.
In normal circumstances, wage inflation is caused by increasing demand for labor with the unemployment rate falling. This means that employers have to increase wages to attract and maintain talent. The worst businesses would face is that rising wages would produce a less talented workforce and reduced productivity.
Lots of Jobs, Not Enough Skills
Since there are a lot of jobs being created, there is a point where there is more job than there are people. This means that employers create openings for new positions to work towards economic growth. Some of these roles include software, service, sales, design, and engineering. A lot of jobs from analytics, machine learning, cloud computing and cybersecurity with 4-10X more scarce than the typical role but there are more healthcare and elder care than the usual demand. These jobs demand soft skills and not just the typical technical skills. This means that while there are a lot of jobs there an increasing gap between jobs that are created and the skills and solutions that are got by employers.
Automation: Creating Jobs and Lots of Stress
Contrary to popular belief, AI and robotics are creating jobs and not reducing jobs. There is a demand for people to create AI and robotics. This would include selling, training and repairing these products as time goes on. Though a digital marketer is a great writer and designer, there is no question that analytics and data-driven systems are used in their role.
With the pace of automation, it creates stress on specific technology and how it is implemented. Also, you need to determine what are the tools that are required that you buy into and how it compares to others in the market. There is a lot of room for error when it comes buying the wrong tools and selecting the wrong vendor. While expectations are going to be sky-high the job at hand will be much tougher.
There are hundreds of different corporate learning vendors and tools that range from recruitment and performance management to employee engagement. There are five major ERP vendors that compete for payroll and core HR and picking the right one is the challenge.
Today more than three-fifths of Californians believe that tech firms focus mainly on profits and drain local resources for their own benefit. 58% believe tech companies fail to protect them from security threats, and 67% believe the industry is secretive. At its worst, 60% believe that tech jobs benefit the state and only 38% believe it benefits individuals.
One of the toughest challenges that recruiters find is attracting the right kind of people for the job. They arm themselves with HR tech conferences but despite this, there is a 40% increase in the time to hire candidates. This is primarily because candidates are picky trends like job ghosting where candidates simply disappear. There are companies that have reported that people accept the job and simply walk away as they do not understand the role and what they are supposed to work on. The reason for this is because new candidates disappear in the interview process and look for opportunities.
Trends in the World of HR
There are some major trends that can be reviewed in business leadership and the world of the HR technological market.
Most focus on wellbeing and productivity and this is due to the stress that can be felt in this job market. It is the job of the HR manager or the business leader to make the work easier. This means that they look to reduce clutter and clear goals. In the process, this would simplify the organizational structure and make things easier. The main thing is to reduce clutter and help ensure that managers set clear goals, simplify the organizational structure and make sure that there are enough well-being programs in place. These programs are sure to bring a huge ROI by investing in this area.
The main thing to look for in an HR team is to ensure that the house is in order. Here, talent acquisition research should do more than just transactional recruiting. This means that they take a job requisition opened by a manager and post it on the internet and start the recruiting process. If you are not looking for the employment brand or passively seeking candidates that would fit your culture or creating a talent pool then your casting your net in a pond that is overfished.
If you take your employment engagement problems seriously then you would be in a better position to understand where your employees are coming from. This means that you should bring about a sense of work culture and engagement. The lack of which would hurt your own company. At the same time, you might want to hire, grow or gain market share but this needs to be done in a meaningful way. Otherwise, you might stand to lose your best people and when the next recession takes place you would simply not want to make sacrifices to keep your business growing.
Though there are several wonderful new AI tools, some are immature and need to be tried and tested. Some of the easy and easily implemented tools include Workday, Oracle, SAP, and ADP. You can learn by experience through platforms where you can share information and learn about each other. At the same time, you should learn to stop buying into more and more communication tools as in time it would make it harder for employees. Some of the best collaboration tools range from Slack, Google G-Suite, Webex, Skype, and Zoom. But you need to determine if you really need all of them.
The Crux of the Matter
Though you bring together the business leadership, IT and HR, it is important that your business works effectively to solve cross-organization issues. A recent development found that 73% of CXOs rarely work on solving these cross-functional issues. When dealing with low unemployment you need to check on the hyper-competitive job market and the increased need for productivity and career growth that falls in this category. Though economic growth is great, what needs to be measured is how to effectively work and live in this economy and plans for bad times ahead.
While the unemployment rate is at a decade low, it is still a problem with the policymakers. Here the Federal Reserve would adjust the monetary policy to reach the sweet spot of full capacity. This could be faced with challenges from economic and social problems. While an accelerated wage inflation could mean low unemployment but this eats into the profits. At the same time, the economic cycle is setting records with nearly 10 years of growth, the unemployment is at a 30 year low and this relates to how well the economy is doing. This is why the most important role for any organization lies with the HR and how well they can get the right pool of talent even through a low unemployment cycle.
Applying For Unemployment Claims
If you are filing your unemployment claims then you should know how to apply in your respective state by selecting your state from the Benefits by State option. Once you select your state, you can determine how to connect with the Unemployment Office. You will then have to learn how to submit your claim and understand your eligibility and what you stand to gain with the Benefits Calculator. You can also connect with the File Unemployment Community and get your questions answered in this forum. Make the most of your unemployment claims and connect with your Unemployment to help you find your next job!
The art of handling unsolicited and unwanted advice is one that every individual should practice and learn. This skill is even more important when you are unemployed. From relatives to friends, professionals to even future employers, the individuals around you will always have an opinion on what you should be doing next – and going on the defense or offense is never the answer. This point in your life is when networking and relationship building is most important, so tactfully handling advice from every Tom, Dick, and Harry can reduce your stress levels and allow the other person to feel wanted without you having to really follow through.
When sincere intentions are countered with hostility, or even instructions and control are met with outright rude refusal, sentiments can be hurt and bonds forged over years and decades can be broken for no fault of either party. It’s all about the art of balancing, knowing how to set boundaries so as to not invite more advice, but yet not offend the other; aggression and offensive remarks are pretty much off the table.
Intention – Positive or Counter-productive?
You will have to come up with a mechanism to differentiate between advice that is well-intended and just plain instructional or controlling. Is the information helpful, appropriate or at least coming from a positive place? Often our guard is up to such an extent that we shut out even advice that may really make a difference, or that comes from a loved one who would be hurt if we responded with anger.
At the end of the day, advice backed by fact is most beneficial when it comes to professional growth. When in doubt about information that is being thrown your way, looking for official facts regarding laws, resources, and training from websites of authority can help you filter the useful from everything else.
There are times when being too accepting of advice can be just as harmful as being close-minded and guarded.
Relationship dynamics, especially those that are official and professional, are set based on status and power to a great extent. There are times when you may seem at a lower position just by being too accepting of advice, or even looked at as someone who can’t hold their own.
Of course, on the flipside, there are situations wherein a simple acknowledgment of the others opinions and advice can strengthen the relationship and give the other confidence in your trust and loyalty.
Keeping a dynamic in place, or knowing when a particular rapport or network source is important for future endeavors. A functional relationship can be reason enough for you to politely acknowledge advice that comes your way, thank them for their opinion and tell them you will keep it in mind.
Of course, it isn’t always this easy, and accepting the advice most often leads to follow-up conversations and more thoughts and judgments. Use simple tactics to change the topic and curtail the conversation, pivoting away from the unsolicited opinions without hurting sentiments or sounding egoistic.
Limits and boundaries
With relationships which are less official and advice that comes without any base or real assistance, set boundaries and let the other know that you aren’t available for such conversation. Use simple statements like “I will manage on my own and get back to you in case I need” or “I have a different way of working around these issues”. These can gently affirm that you are not the kind of the person who is up for such discussions.
If it continues, firmly tell them that you are not up for advice and opinions at this time. Remember that in situations that are harassing and causing you stress, it is fine to be firm and take some distance. In fact, in the long run, it may even be better for your rapport than constant bombardment and negative interaction.
If your closest friend or confidant is the one that is the source of unwanted advice, then it’s a good idea to discuss your problems with someone else for a given period of time. Constantly discussing your issues with the same individual and getting into a dynamic where monologues and opinions are overbearing can destroy the bond for life.
Friends often hope to help or reaffirm the friendship itself and their own importance. Be aware that the person you approach for comfort at best is working towards genuine problem solving and in the worst case scenario is feeling inconsequential and is hoping to make up for it.
5 Responses and how they function
Having understood the bigger picture, here are five responses that you can choose to use depending on the situation you are caught in.
“Thank you, I will get to it and keep you posted”
Now, this is in the best-case scenario, where the person on the other side is genuinely being helpful. It can also work wonders when you are getting advice from an individual with whom a professional relationship will be beneficial in the future – especially if it’s advice you are receiving in a job interview itself.
“I will look into it”/ “I will keep it in mind”
On the plus side, it can handle the situation at that moment, and you can quickly steer the conversation in other directions. Cons: There is a possibility that the individual will get back to you in a few days to follow up, leading to more dialog.
“Thank you, that’s a good plan, I will look into if it will work for me”
This cuts out the certainty, accepting the other’s view but letting them know that situations, problems and appropriate solutions may vary from person to person.
“Interesting, but I have other ways of handling it at the moment”/ “I am not available for advice right now”
As a statement, this one will help you tackle a situation where an overbearing individual is waiting for you to act on his or her advice immediately. It is fine to let the person know in certain situations that you are not up for such conversations, and hope that you were polite enough to have not offended them.
“I’m sorry, I see your point, but I do not believe in that approach”
Worst case scenario, there are times when someone may nudge you in the direction of doing something that may not be in line with your value system and principles or maybe altogether immoral – even a simple act of pulling strings to get a job for example. Making it clear that you aren’t ready to sway only makes you look stronger, so don’t hesitate to make that clear.
Knowing that there are others who face the same problems as you are, and may be able to help in ways other than just giving one-sided advice, can possibly make a big difference in your way of approaching people. FileUnemployment.org brings you a community section, where people from across states can reach out to each other and discuss issues that they are attempting to tackle. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a conversation with an absolute stranger to gain some clarity, instead of constantly being faced with advice from a loved one.
The marginal decrease in the unemployment rate does not necessarily translate into what the ground reality is, where unemployment rates do not account for individuals who have stopped attempting to look for jobs altogether or the large numbers of individuals who have settled for work which is below their paygrade. Looking at the bigger picture in the USA, statistics are strongly leaning towards a reality that is grim, indicating that only a little over 60% of the population which falls under the ‘adult’ age bracket – stretching from 16 to 64 – are employed, and even they are making less than required on an average.
Fighting with issues of unemployment, underemployment and a job market that is at constant odds with the number of people standing in line and waiting for interviews, the widespread income drop shows in the Labor Bureau reports, but it still hasn’t accounted for the psychological, physical and familial stress that the situation has caused – the human toll, so to say. The recession in 2008 has not entirely been tackled, which is evident in every field of life in one way or the other, but did you know that the median income for each household in the US is still 8% below than what it was before the recession?
Tackling such issues and dealing with unemployment from the individual and agencies point of view works on two levels, one where each working individual or potential-working individual in the family or household takes measures to increase their chances of getting and keeping a stable job, and the other wherein macro issues are altered and improved from the side of the agencies, military and government.
From an individual’s standpoint
What they are looking for
Keeping in mind that the job opportunities are now a needle in a haystack, and the individuals up for each position are often overqualified, even the course you choose to pursue has a considerable impact on your chances at a good job, if not any employment at all. While your love for the liberal arts or natural sciences may lead you to choose them as a major, it is important to be aware of the majors that are preferred by employers.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers has narrowed down the employers’ and agencies’ demands to four major categories in bachelors, masters and even doctorate levels – engineering, computer, communication and information sciences and technology, and pure sciences. Graduations such as liberal arts, natural resources, and agriculture are very low on the demand scale.
Even within the majors that are in demand, employers are looking for lateral and problem-solving skills, quantitative analysis skills and an on-hand experience as opposed to academic prowess.
The appropriate approach
It’s not enough to skip through classifieds any longer, or even apply with an immaculate resume and a letter – every person looking for employment needs an approach both proactive and aggressive.
Here are a few out-of-the-box steps that may help you get the ball rolling:
Show them how badly you want it: Sorting through hundreds of applications, the human resources team is on the hunt for a resume that stands out. A short paragraph or two on why you want to work for that particular company, and what you will do once you get the position can give your application that extra attention it needs. It’s all about relevance and specificity, so don’t write a general note for all the places you are applying to – personalize!
More than just an application: Answering advertisements and front door attempts are not cutting it anymore – use your resources to get in touch with people who have the power to hire. Even if you approach them from the standpoint of getting advice, a foot-in-the-door short-term project is good enough for you to nurture a relationship.
Give more than you might get: Try other routes, propose to volunteer for a few months as a trial – at least the employer has the incentive of free labor if nothing else.
Pooling resources and strict budgets
All said and done, shoe-string budgets and the need to cut corners are inevitable when it comes to dealing with unemployment within the month’s expenditure, so it’s a good idea to get together family resources and work on sustenance while you job hunt. Keep in mind that pooled resources are always easier to budget through, cutting down on the individual expenditure and saving money collectively.
From the employers
Strategic creation of opportunities
Human resource management from the employer’s side should work towards collaboratively creating employment for individuals with all skill sets, even those that are lacking in academic excellence. Even outside of the larger fortune 500 or similar employers, citizens who can afford it can encourage personal aides for their homes as a way of generating jobs – especially in sectors such as education, housekeeping, and round-the-clock health care.
Entrepreneurship and Crowdfunding
Yet again, a way to both stabilize the economy and create jobs, entrepreneurship should be a part of the curriculum, encouraging students or newly graduated individuals to develop businesses that can sustain them as well as others in their field, using capital from resources besides their own inheritance or companies with capital.
Walk into a dinner party with strangers and the conversation starts with what you do for a living, children from kindergarten to near adults in high school are constantly faced with the question of what their parents are and what they do; by and by our identities are inseparable from our field of work, position and employment status. Looking at the flip side, each of these casually made remarks holds within them the reactions of shock and pity when the other is unemployed for the time being.
Stigma in the society when it comes to unemployment, for however short a time it may be, can cause distress to the individual and their loved ones – pushing them to their limits both physically and mentally. The proportional relationship between unemployment and physical health is undeniable, but the way it impacts social behavior can often be trivialized and overlooked even though it is just as or even more important. From a simple act, such as living a double life to hide one’s idleness or keep financial distress from your family by continuing to live a lavish lifestyle through credit and debt, emotionally destructive decisions such as these can both waste time as well as curb positive results.
From clinical depression, alcoholism to cope, and even increased rates of suicide, the situation seems grim, but know that unemployment isn’t permanent and the consequences can be dealt with, as can the societal stigmas. The issue is two-fold, both which exist as two sides of a coin.
1.Questioning Self and guilt
Though it is easier said than done, it is of utmost importance that you do not link your self-worth to your employment status. Blaming oneself for the lack of a steady income, or for being laid-off, can keep you from even getting out of bed every morning, consequently cutting down on your proactive actions to solve the issue at hand.
What’s worse, doubting and guilt can keep you from accepting support or help, and even imagine stigma and persecution where there may not be any.
2.Stigmatization and pity from others
The reaction of people around you can cause anguish in a large way as well; negative perceptions and even pity and sympathy can function as then looking down on you. It’s all about dealing with the situation at hand, making it essential for you keep your head up high and work towards objective and constructive solutions.
Working through unemployment
The solution to social stigmas when it comes to being a part of the unemployed section of society, even for a few months, is primarily to do with perceptions. Even from the opinion of a potential employer, the need to keep occupied and productive in one way or the other is seen as a positive use of time, not to mention being engrossed will keep you involved, distracted and usefully engaged.
Building upon a curriculum vitae and resume in the present job market isn’t about only official work experience and recommendations, in fact, an out-of-the-box involvement in activities is greatly appreciated and makes your resume stand out – pointing towards your active participation in community projects and exercises even at a time of difficulty.
Look to spread out to areas outside your comfort zone and field, focusing on skills such as teamwork, community interactions, multitasking, and initiative – all skills that an employer is bound to notice in an application. Social stigmas and an employer’s hesitation can be handled with one swift sweep, showing both the other and yourself that you aren’t one of the lazy and languid unemployed.
Even as a direct result, a mere volunteering project and a non-profit initiative can lead to employment opportunities – allowing you alternative modes of networking and relationship building and pointing you towards areas you may not have considered before.
Sharpening your gray matter
A few months of losing touch with constant work can make you lose speed and skill – it is not always like riding a bike and adjusting in your new place of work can be an issue for a while. If you are out of work, keep updated on the current activities in your field, keep your brain cells working and try and explore opportunities in freelance and apprenticeships that may not pay much but will at least keep you in the loop.
Alongside, it is an idea to extend your skills as well, taking certificate courses and updating your resume through learning as opposed to only clear-cut work experience. Stagnation is the greatest worry when one is unemployed, and adding to your aptitude and expertise can only ever help.
Dealing with the hiring process
The constant job hunt is a given through the period of unemployment, and the stigmas often translate into difficult questions in the scenario of a job interview. When and if you are faced with questions regarding your not having procured a job in the given amount of time, steer clear of negative answers that may blame the situation or other agencies. Instead of mentioning the economy of the country, the increased unemployment status of individuals and a company that should have hired you but didn’t, try and bring the conversation back to your achievements and how you have worked through your time without a stable income.
Negative approaches to answering questions, as well as a general defensive attitude will most certainly be counterproductive. Both in handling conversations with family and friends, as well as with potential employers, it is important to stay sharp and positive and not allow yourself to be shaken by remarks that may be inappropriate.
While employers being discriminatory or tactless about your employment status can be unfortunate, the fact remains that the need is ours at the end of the day and we don’t have much choice but to work around their insensitivity and direct the dialog in more optimistic, constructive and beneficial directions, for both.
Every statistic points towards losing a steady income as one of the key causes of anger, depression, health deterioration, fear and anxiety in today’s adult population of the United States, if not of the rest of the world. While anxiety of the future is difficult to shake off, if you find yourself or a loved one in such a position, keeping your self-esteem up, being as efficient as possible and having a purpose through this time is extremely important. Even though the tension can seem to be overwhelming, it is important for you to keep up a routine, taking part in activities that will not only help you survive the period of unemployment but also have you walk out on the other side stronger and prepared.
Acceptance is essential, as is the understanding that it isn’t a permanent setback and with time and effort you will be able to get your life back in order. Though changes and budget cuts must be made, they are only valid until you bounce back.
Even if your reflex is to pull away and withdraw from those closest to you, remember that for mental stability as well as monetary help, these are the people who will be able to help most. Social stigmas do exist and they cannot be done away with, but never underestimate the positive impact of social interaction – a friend who listens without judgement can be a powerful stress relief and a mentor or guide will be able to give you advice, all of which will be out of reach if you withdraw from your circle of friends.
Now is the time to make up for your lost time at the gym or morning jogs. Not just a great way to create a new routine and keep in shape, physical exertion releases antidotes to relieve stress and relax muscles – the endorphins released when you run are enough to boost your mood, as is the satisfaction of getting rid of anger and frustration with a little kickboxing!
The To-Do List
What next? Here is a 8 point plan to keep you occupied, organized, positive and focused, allowing you to concentrate on what is most important – your strengths.
1.Space and time
The first thing that most people who are unemployed begin to miss is their own workspace – the room, cubicle, cabin or even just the desk. Start by setting up a room or corner for yourself at home where you can keep the files important to you, access the web, and focus on the task at hand.
We know distractions at home are inevitable, but it’s important to create a niche for yourself as soon as possible. If your daily tasks include familial obligations, carve out a little ‘me’ time as well, and stick to giving yourself a few hours towards being productive. You can choose to be a part of a co-working space close to home as well, where freelancers from different fields work in a space outside of their homes to be a part of a community even though their jobs don’t call for it.
Determining career goals, listing out priorities both in life, finances and work preferences, and having a checklist to keep you focused can all be powerful self-motivators. The time you spend hunting for work is a job and must be treated like one – with fixed hours, networking and daily requirements.
3.Other channels of productivity
Productivity and resume building is not only about concrete work experiences – companies are flipping through piles of applications in search of out-of-the-box initiatives, volunteer work, socially responsible acts with non-profit organizations and small entrepreneurship projects and apprenticeships.
Don’t focus on only the monetary benefits, it’s a good idea to develop skill sets and learn new things through short courses and certificate programs; the world is rapidly changing, as are the requirements for each field of work, especially in terms of technology.
4.Portfolio, CV, Resume
Now is your chance to update and rework on your portfolio, list your strengths and add skills to your CV and Resume. Self-assessment is a part of the process, boosting your confidence in yourself, as well as allowing others to see you for all that you are capable off.
Offbeat applications are all about that little extra something, so add letters of recommendation, intent, and excellence to your portfolios. A simple typed letter letting the company know why you want the job, why this particular post is perfect for you and what you will bring to the table can make all the difference.
6.Upcoming interview preparation
It’s a good idea to network, talk to others who have been through the same process and look online for sample questions and interview preparatory information. The entire application process aside, many get rattled during the interview, lose their train of thought or choke-up because of fear.
Practice with friends and family or in front of a mirror if that is more comfortable, and know that the individual in front of you is not out to get you.
Broaden your horizons, look at opportunities outside of the classified section in the daily news, and apply for jobs that may not fall under your exact expertise or previous area of work. Try and see where your other strengths may help, ones that may not necessarily by academic in nature. From building a strong portfolio to understanding your aptitude and going through the application process, research through conversations with people, media, and the internet is always of great help.
Look at which companies are of most interest to you, and get to know about the space you are working towards – extra information will take you a long way when you are faced with an interview panel.
Don’t wait for the phone to ring before you get together your documents and run through interview questions – prepare in advance for any such event and be ready to walk out the door at even a moment’s notice.
Do you like planning for future? Have you planned your finances well? How easily can you make it through difficult times? We are living in a time where money is a necessity and a continuous in-flow of the same is required. In the case of any diversion from the routine path, there can be a tension that can induce stress and worry.
Why should we plan for future?
Managing for difficult times is mandatory as it is never pre-decided. While growing up, we are always taught to prepare for future so that if there is an emergency, one is not caught in a situation. Midlife unemployment is one similar situation that’s critical and can affect your family life. Keeping a check on contract details may avoid this situation but it is important to ensure that your finances are well-planned and do not create a havoc in case of an emergency.
How to manage midlife unemployment crisis?
Plan your finances: Lack of money can create a lot of stress resulting in depression and several other worries. Thus, it is crucial to plan finances so that there is no stress if an unplanned situation surfaces. Further, even if there is a situation, ample supply of money can keep stress at bay and help you prepare for upcoming opportunities.
Be patient: Stress can induce irritability and make you feel unwanted. But losing patience cannot solve a problem and only make things worse. Therefore, it is important to not lose focus or pressurize yourself to perform. Giving you the time & space to rebound and look for goals is essential. Midlife unemployment often creates a messy situation but with your pragmatic approach, you can reach a solution.
Do not lose hope: Giving up on a situation is the easiest thing to do. But being thoughtful and persistent is a winner’s way of doing things. If faced with such a situation, you too should believe in yourself and muster the courage and will to realize your dreams. One often feels negative and hopeless in such situations, but with constant effort, you can motivate yourself to create a better future for you and your family.
Follow a passion: Each one of us has a hobby that we never get bored of, and pursuing the same in times of crisis will help you feel positive and stay motivated. This will also help you create some good moments that you can cherish in hard times and make it through easily. Research shows that people who don’t give up on their hobbies are happier and tend to live long.
Talk to your family: There is only one family. And there is no other person who can back you like them. So, staying close and connected to your family is important as sharing your situation with them can lend you emotional support and hence, relief. You may even borrow some money from them if needed. They are non-judgmental and will help you focus on the right things without criticizing you. Thus, talk to your family and tell them how you feel because there is no one like them.
Stay Vigilant: Most of the companies provide their employees with unemployment benefits and being knowledgeable of the same, can save you from a lot of trouble. There are companies that can assist you with evaluating your eligibility and the amount for insurance benefits. It is safe and risk-free. Filing unemployment is necessary as it not only entails you to your rights but also keeps you aware of any opportunity possible for you.
Hone your skills: In case of unemployment due to poor managerial or technical skills, you can try & learn the same during your free time. This will boost your confidence and help you perform better in future without being conscious. Having good interpersonal skills helps us communicate better and also prevents us from any confusion in difficult times. Thus, it is important to be open to learning more and connect with people, in order to grow in life.
Keep trying: The most important fact is that life is all about trying and trying hard. So, don’t give up on you and strive to learn more each day and silent the critic with your achievements. Unemployment is just a phase but it gives you sufficient time to process what went against you and work on same. Stay motivated and fit to keep trying for bigger goals, while improving your skills each day. And in no time, you will succeed.
Importance of Staying Positive
Everyone goes through hard times but it is how we come out of it that matters the most. So, stop crying and start living. This time is not meant to put you down but help you discover yourself and realize your potential. There is nothing that cannot be achieved once you are determined and have the willpower to achieve your goals. Midlife unemployment is just a phase that introduces you to the better half of your life. And with assistance from professionals, it is a cakewalk!