No I’m not on a plane or traveling, but you might say I’ve been on a bit of a journey. It’s started last year when a twenty plus year relationship came to an end. The “I’ve landed” phase is common one for job seekers, who have successfully obtained a new position. I’m so happy to report I’ve landed! It’s a great way to kick off the New Year with a fresh start. I have landed a new role as a project manager with a local company, which is closer to my home, gives me better work/life balance, and offers plenty of potential for growth. I am so excited for a new challenge, to work with a new team, and apply what I’ve learned over my professional career in a new environment. I will certainly approach the new role differently. I have learned so much living through this experience and I take it with me each and every day.
Debt and Emergency Fund
I think it’s pretty clear I’m not a fan of debt. We worked very hard for fifty months to eliminate ours. We continue to discuss money often, track expenses, and review net worth monthly. Call it pure luck or good timing, but when 85% of our income was pulled out from under our family, it could have been a devastating event. One that could have increase stress, fights and panic in our lives in an instant, but it didn’t because we were debt free. Having that piece of mind and a plan for my money I did not panic when I was let go. If this event happened while still in debt I cannot image how our lives would have been. It’s an amazing reminder of the power of debt freedom, one that is not lost on me or my family.
We had a six-month emergency fund save, when my former position was eliminated. I also was given a severance package as well. Having cash available I knew exactly how long I could be out of work without making any new income and survive. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday telling my three children what had happened and how since we had done a good job of planning and saving we would be okay.
Building wealth will now be goal number one for us. I’m leaning towards a cash emergency fund of one year. I just really like the security the savings gives us.
Nurture your Network
Your network is very important for your past, current, and future success. Don’t neglect it, ever. Whether it’s social media and causal friendships on Facebook or professional connections on LinkedIn, or your neighbor down the block you have no idea where you next freelance gig, full-time positions, part-time work, etc. might come from. If you are currently seeking a job or not stay in touch with your network, keep the relationships fresh, help your network when you can, build the network so when and if you have a time of need it will be there for you.
I was partly guilty of this. I could certainly do a better job of staying in touch, reaching out just to say “hi”, check in with people periodically, etc. Drop an e-mail, ask how the kids are doing, be polite, be consistent, you never know when you will need your network.
Bump It Up
I have had made different roles over the years. I’ve reported into others, been the boss, and had a team as large as twenty people reporting to me. The one thing I’ve seen that still drives me crazy is when people complain about a work situation to someone who has no power to change it for them. They will go on and on to their peers about all the things that are wrong in a company or about their supervisor, but when they have the opportunity to speak to someone who can do something about it for them, the clam up.
It makes no sense. So, I follow two rules in this area. If you are going to bring a problem to me, it needs to come with a solution as well. I will not fix your problem. I will certainly help you and we can work together on it, but I have my own work to do and can’t fix everything.
I will also not listen to a co-worker complain or if I’m the one complaining I ask them to redirect me and bump it up to someone who has the power to change or address the complaint. If we don’t bump it up it will just swirl and decay morale within the workplace and that is not a place I want to work ever again.
As I begin chapter two I’ll take these things forward into my new role, learning from my past failures, celebrating the successes, and hoping I’ve found a new home.