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Old 05-04-2008, 10:17 AM   #21
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I'm not ready to retire. I know that. I don't plan on retiring until 55. We have always planned on semi-retirement at 55. I want another job. I'm just afraid that in this area I am not going to find a position that allows me to save the way I have been in the past. I am afraid of age discrimination. I am afraid of searching for a new job and on the rejection that entails. I'm afraid that I have a mixed bag skill set that won't translate very easily into something else.

DH makes $53K/year. Our only expense is our home/mortgage. We owe approx. $40K on a home that is worth $160-$170K.

My 401(k) = 197,000
DH 401 (k) = 100,000
Home equity = $165k - 40K = $125K
Savings = $17K (emergency fund)
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:20 AM   #22
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I have been dealing with a job situation that I have pretty intensely disliked for about a year. I made the decision to suck it up and keep earning and saving as I moved toward FIRE. My job could go away any time, but unless and until I find another position that keeps me on the track I want to be on I will continue to stick it out.

It sounds like where you want to be in 5 years is debt-free and in a position to retire early. If you leave now, you would have immediate relief. But what do you want your life to be like beginning 5 years from now , continuing on until the end of your life? Would delaying or compromising that vision be worth the emotional relief of not having to do the travel that you dread?

Only you can answer that. Like I said, I've made the calculation to keep working where I am because - at least for me - the prospect of what my life will be like 5 years from now is worth the grief and uncertainty...but it has not been an easy call.

Best of luck.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:45 AM   #23
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I am afraid of age discrimination. I am afraid of searching for a new job and on the rejection that entails. I'm afraid that I have a mixed bag skill set that won't translate very easily into something else.
I was out of work starting in 2002 for about 15 months if you don't count substitute teaching. I finally found something that paid a little over half of my former salary but it stopped the loss of cash from savings. The job was pretty boring but it was a great place to look for a better job. After two years I found a perfect position with 15 - 20% more money than my original job, 4 weeks of PTO and no stress. I'm learning new things and it's actually fun. Neither of my two recent jobs remotely resembled my original jobs (or each other) but they did require my educational background.

I faced age discrimination (51 at the time), financial stress, rejection on a biblical scale (sorry Rich) and managed to live through it.

Do what has to be done. It doesn't sound like the "new" job is anything illegal, immoral but all the traveling may be fattening. Get a plan.
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:29 AM   #24
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I would advise you to stick with it. First, maybe you won't even be offered one of the "new" positions so the decision would be made for you. Second, if you are, maybe it would be better than what you are anticipating and you will want to take it. Or maybe it will be as bad as you are anticipating and you can then go look for something else. But if you take it and last it out for a year or so I imagine the overseas experience will be good on your resume in terms of how responsible you are and how you gave it a chance.

It seems you have been sticking out what seems to have been a bad situation for you for a while now, so imho you might as well hang in there and see where it leads.

Also, it must not be that bad all the time or you would not still be there? Can you focus on the positives (that 5 week vacay and $33K pension are pretty sweet) while you see what happens?
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:50 AM   #25
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the company which employed me was one of the early ones to "re-engineer" (their term for downsize). all our jobs disappeared then reappeared with new titles. they couldn't even decide what to call us so we became a this- and a that-specialist. handing out biz cards became an embarrassment.

i had been one of the experimental prototypes working on re-engineering prior to enactment of our metamorphosis. no matter, i still had to reapply to get my own job back once the deed was done, as did about 600 or more of us. the jobs actually became better at first. they paid better, we had more independence (previously my supervisor had been 30 miles away, but after he was downsized-out my new supervisor was 3,000 miles away) with carte blanche given so that we could get our jobs done how we saw best fit.

but then they started micro-managing & metrixing us to death. morale deteriorated. backstabbing became de rigueur. and, apparently, according to my visit to a regional headquarters building last year, those jobs have been swirling in toilet water ever since.

still, that severence of yours will spend quickly. so in this market and economy, i would advise trying to keep your job while you look for another position in either the same company or in another one. seems to me you'd have a better chance getting another job while you still have one, keeping you in a bargaining position, rather then having to explain to the potential new boss that you lost your last job, even if by downsize.

if my life hadn't been so complicated with all the deaths i was dealing with at that time, i think i would still be working at my re-engineered company. only by now i'd have a new position, making everyone else's life miserable.
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:14 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Tracker View Post
I'm not ready to retire. I know that. I don't plan on retiring until 55. We have always planned on semi-retirement at 55. I want another job. I'm just afraid that in this area I am not going to find a position that allows me to save the way I have been in the past. I am afraid of age discrimination. I am afraid of searching for a new job and on the rejection that entails. I'm afraid that I have a mixed bag skill set that won't translate very easily into something else.

DH makes $53K/year. Our only expense is our home/mortgage. We owe approx. $40K on a home that is worth $160-$170K.

My 401(k) = 197,000
DH 401 (k) = 100,000
Home equity = $165k - 40K = $125K
Savings = $17K (emergency fund)
I don't think you have anything to worry about. If you are in the midwest you have it made. You just need a little job until that pension kicks in. My family lives on about half of your pension and there are two of us. We have a paid for home but you are almost there. It is true you will not be able to save a ton but you should be still able to save some. If you want peace of mind take 20k from the job and put in on the mortage and take out a 20k mortage for 30 years.
That would make the payments super low. At this point I think any job will do you.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:03 PM   #27
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Tracker,

Sounds like you're WAY under employed in your current job. I'ld ask for the severence (take a little time for yourself) then march into the resident lawyers office and tell them they better hire you before you open a competing office.

Got any friends from law school you can partner with?

This can be a BEGINING rather than an END.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:04 PM   #28
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Sorry to hear the bad news.

I don't understand why no one has suggested this (maybe I missed it):

Take the offered position, but immediately start a back-burner job search on the down low. That is, you take the job that you don't like, but hire a headhunter to find you a new position, explaining that your current employer does not know that you are searching.

When we were hiring, we'd often have applicants ask us not to contact their current employer.
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Old 05-04-2008, 02:13 PM   #29
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... She can be paid not to work. 16 year severence and unemployment insurance should combine into a nice chunk of change (43k for me after 19 years).
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:03 PM   #30
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Thank you for all of the responses, and please continue. A lot to think about.

Note: I have 33k in my pension. If I left today the pension would amount to $6K a year when I turn 55. ($400 - $500 / month) It's laughable, but better than nothing. This is not the same as a pension that would provide $33k/yearly. I have never really counted on the pension as a significant part of our retirement planning.

I'm thinking that my DH and I could live on his $53K/yearly salary until I found something. Even if I took a $10/hour job as a stop gap, that would still put us at $73K yearly.

The stress of this whole process is horrendous and I am having trouble sleeping. I have a friend in another building (going through the same thing) . He is 50 and his wife has Stage IV breast cancer. He really can't travel, but he must have the insurance.
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:11 PM   #31
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tracker, it sounds to me like you are panicking. So I would suggest you take a deep breath, step back, and relax a bit before figuring out what comes next. You have money in the bank, you do not owe atone of money to anyone, your hubby's salary should pretty much cover your expenses, and you will stand to get a nice chunk of change as severance. So you are in no immediate financial danger. So stop panicking.

I would actualy suggest that you make no firm decision either way about the possible new job. Instead, I would view it simply as one option (and not a very attractive one at that). In order to make an informed decision about what comes next, you really need to (calmly) investigate what might be out there as an alternative. You could look for similar jobs, try something new that builds on your experience, or perhaps even take the kickin the butt as a sign it is time to strike out in a new direction. You seem stuck in your rut and do not have any idea of what comes next. I think that if you can find one nearby, a career counselor could probably give you a lot of food for thought and help you see what your skills and experience might land you.

But do all of this after you have given yourself time to calm down. Frantic worrying will not make the situation better and in fact will make it harder to sort things out.
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #32
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I was never in a "downsize" quite as you describe, where there are some jobs available that you might get to avoid the downsize, but I think the situation in any layoff or potential layoff is that same. Since you do not know if you will be employed or not, you should start your job search outside the company. You can do it slowly and quietly, but you should immediately update your resume, start looking at available positions, do some market research and so on. If you find something wonderful, fine you can take it. If you don't you are prepared to kick the search into high gear if you find you are in fact out of a job. Meanwhile, within your current company you try for the jobs that will be available. If you are lucky enough to snag one but cannot get one without travel, you are still ahead of where you would be without the job. Having the job, you can decide to try the travel, try to postpone it as long as possible, delegate the travel to someone else (many people would likely volunteer to do that part for you), save them money by inventing new remote meeting practices they can learn from, do the rest of the job so well they will make a concession to you, or any number of other possibilities.

In any case, the basic choices seem the same. Look outside starting now, since you are likely out of your current job soon. If you can land a job inside the company - better to have a job and be able to talk about duties and preferences than to not have one.
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:54 PM   #33
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Brewer had good advice. Take a deep breath and calm down. I've been downsized, rightsized and plain out fired. I lived through them all. When the storm clouds gathered I became pretty much like you seem to be now. It actually works against you and can become a self-fulfilling fear.

Stop talking and thinking about the situation. It is beyond your control and ultimately doesn't matter. You and your husband will survive.

I am not a doctor but I'll give you a prescription to fill this evening. I prescribe a bottle of merlot or shiraz -- brand of your choosing but no generics. You can share it with your DH because he is also probably more worried than you can tell. Do not talk about the job situation.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:16 PM   #34
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Thank you for all of the responses, and please continue. A lot to think about.

Note: I have 33k in my pension. If I left today the pension would amount to $6K a year when I turn 55. ($400 - $500 / month) It's laughable, but better than nothing. This is not the same as a pension that would provide $33k/yearly. I have never really counted on the pension as a significant part of our retirement planning.

I'm thinking that my DH and I could live on his $53K/yearly salary until I found something. Even if I took a $10/hour job as a stop gap, that would still put us at $73K yearly.

The stress of this whole process is horrendous and I am having trouble sleeping. I have a friend in another building (going through the same thing) . He is 50 and his wife has Stage IV breast cancer. He really can't travel, but he must have the insurance.
I misunderstood your pension I thought your would get 33k a year. But not to worry you still are in good shape. Better than 99% of 40 year olds that I know. Can you save 5k to 10k of DH's income and just knock out the house debt? Since you have 24k from the job and 17k in an savings. How much a year can the both of you live on? Even a $10 an hour job would knock out the house debt in a couple years. With a paid for home there is little to worry about and you are just about there.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:36 PM   #35
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It's painful to stay in or accept a job that you do not enjoy at all. Sometimes a workforce reduction may open more opportunities. You may be pleasantly surprised that you already have the skills that are very marketable. Start taking inventory of you skills and identify what type of work that you like to pursue. As other posters have suggested, see if you can live with a single income.
This site may provide useful career info: Articles on career, education, men's issues and politics

Goog luck.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:47 PM   #36
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I am with Brewer. and 2B. A certain amount of concern and stress is normal, but don't go overboard. The situation is much better than you think.

First the big economic picture isn't bad. Unemployment actually dropped last month from 5 to 4.9% Probably when your dad was laid off the unemployment rate was much higher. In fact until the 1990s 5% was consider full unemployment. The fact that you can string sentences together in coherent fashion gives you a leg up on 1/2 of the unemployed folks, passing the bar exam gives you an advantage over 80%.

Financially, you are fine shape. You have emergency fund good for several months, longer with DHs income. As you said your severance package pays the mortgage for 2 years. You easily have two years to find a job that is many times longer than the average worker takes to find a new job, and most are less employable. You also have unemployment benefits which typical run $1500/month for 6 months, mostly tax free.

The situation between your dad and yourself really aren't that comparable 41 isn't 50. No kids is much less stressful than kids, and with no disrepect intended for your dad a law degree and 16 years shuffling paper is more valuable and transferable skills than working at a steel mill.

Unless you have no interest in using your law degree, I'd spend some time and money bringing your legal credentials up to date. Also go buy What color is your parachute and figure you out what you what you really want to do instead of your current job.

Life is to short to spend most of your waking hours doing something you really dislike, do something you fear you'll hate make no sense. Especially when people are going to give you $33K (severance+Unemployment) to quit. Take the money and look forward to the next chapter in your life.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:51 PM   #37
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One piece of advice from experience - the first package is the best package. See if you can get career outplacement benefits, Right management really helped me repackage myself and get a new job in 4 weeks at a higher salary.

If it was me I would take the package and get another job. Life is too short to hate your job. You will also get 6 months unemployment on top of the package, so you will have time to reevaluate. You say you can live on your husbands salary and even a minimum wage job is $7.25/hr next year. Outsourcing also provides a lot of opportunities for people with your skills, but it does involve travel. Also, many women get back into the workforce after raising children, so I don't think you would look that unusual looking for work at your age. Many employers are looking for people like you, you just need to find them.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:55 PM   #38
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I am terrified to leave a decent paying job with good benefits. It does not help that every time I turn on the TV all I hear is that the economy is falling apart, recession, massive job loss, etc.

I don't want the job. In my heart of hearts, the new job is not what I want to do.

Does anyone have any insight, wisdom, simliar experiences or words to help me make this decision. I have a few weeks to decide.
I've been in similar situations prior to my early semi-retirement and here is what I recommend you do based on my experience.

Grab the bull by the horns and start preparing for a job search. Update your resume. Make a list of people you will contact to be a reference for you. Start making a list of relevant employers you will contact when your job search gets fully underway. Start a file of job listings. The fact that you have a few weeks yet means you can do these activities at a leisurely pace rather than being in "panic mode" if you wait until the last minute. I would recommend being careful about telling people what you are doing on grounds that if your present employer finds out you are looking for a job, you might get walked to the door (some bosses are like that).

At the same time, think though what it would mean if you end up staying at your present employer, but are in the new position. Could you handle such a trip once or twice (before quitting)? If so, that will buy you another six months to a year of time to find an alternative that is not with your present employer (in case you need this time to prepare or find something else).

On a longer time horizon, realize that job security and loyalty is a relic of the past. Start thinking about how you might solve your financial needs sooner by achieving financial freedom as early as possible. In my case, a volatile economy and a string of bad employment situations made me realize I had to find a way to early semi-retire (i.e., failure was not an option), so I really reduced my living expenses (which included getting out of debt) and found ways to increase my investment income (often by investing as much of my takehome pay as possible in quality stocks).

As my investment income grows, I plan to increase my standard of living, but only slowly and carefully so that I don't jeopardize my financial freedom. Investing in Corporate America is great (because Corporate America is working for you), but working for Corporate America is the pits.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:13 AM   #39
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I'm with DJRR. I'm 51, and last year after a number of years at reputable Megacorp they announced a restructuring and I was offered a package. I agonized over many of the same issues. During the decision period I got a serious blood infection that nearly killed me. I decided that no job is as important as my health, and took the package.

I'm now working in a startup, having fun, and don't regret the decision for a minute. Almost all of the stress melted away once I made my decision. I find myself not even worried if the startup fails and I need to look again. Life is too short to be overstressed or miserable. Take me - I'm very frugal but my focus on saving at all costs would have been pointless without my health. You should enjoy what you do.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:54 AM   #40
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If you feeel like you cannot see the light in your tunnel, try to find a job coach and work with him/her on new job options.
I did that several years ago when I was stuck in a similar situation.
The investment paid off very quickly.
At that time I contacted a well reputated outplacement specialist and asked him if he would consult me, even though I was not in an outplacement program but wanted to "outplace myself". I got a fresh view on my skills portfolio + job opportunities, learned interview + networking skills. Within 6 months I had a new and even better job as before.
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