Prepare to Lose Your Job

When jobless nightmare becomes a reality

It's official -- the country is in a recession. 

Economic news continues to paint a gloom and doom picture for Americans, and more and more are finding themselves with concerns about the security of their jobs.

You don't even want to read about it, let alone consdier the fact that it may happen to you.

The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday suggested that even those who are currently working need to watch for signs that their jobs may be in jeopardy.  "Are you layoff bait?" Charlie Meyerson's "Daywatch" posting asks, with the suggestion that an added awareness could help keep you employed. 

Tuning into what your rights are if you lose your job is also recommended.  Will you be paid for unused vacation? What's involved in keeping yourself insured?  Most full-time employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own are eligible for unemployment benefits, but what does that include and for how long?

There are a variety of resources to help with this research, including the non-profit National Workrights Institute.

If you've already lost your job, you have a whole different set of problems. 

The Oak Park Leaves recently profiled a 65-year-old woman who decided it was time for a career change last summer, only to quit and run head-on into one of the country's worst economic disasters. 

"I call this the sweaty palm part of my life," Ann White told the paper. She and her husband had moved to Oak Park to be near their granddaughter, but have been unable to sell their previous home on Chesapeake Bay

White is certainly not the only Oak Park resident who's out of work. In response to that situation, career coach Diane Grimard Wilson has begun facilitating a support group for workers in transition.  White is in the group and has found that she's got a lot of internal work to do.  Her move to Oak Park has left her without her network, and as the Oak Leaves article points out, networking is key to finding a new position.

Unemployment figures released last week indicate that the situation is worsening in Illinois, and that the state's jobless figures are slightly above the national average.  WBEZ (National Public Radio) reported that Kankakee and Rockford have been hit hardest, with Kankakee's unemployment figure hovering just under 10 percent.

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