Job searching can be a challenge in itself, especially in a downed economy and for Gen Yers and/or recent graduates. If you’ve felt stuck in a career you dislike or are having trouble just finding a job in itself since jobs are few and far between these days, you’re in luck! Workplace expert and author (“Getting From College to Career”) Lindsey Pollak joined me recently to discuss simple tips for finding a job in tough times, how to get the most for your money, tips for lowering your debt and much more!
Candace Rose: Finding a job in this economy can be difficult in itself, what advice do you have for Gen Yers who are fresh at of college and on the hunt for a job?
Lindsey Pollak: “Like you said, it’s a really difficult time, so it can be difficult and challenging. And what I tend to suggest to millennials in particular who may not know exactly what they want to do is to really give yourself time to explore and try lots of different things. So internships, taking different kinds of classes, part time work, freelance work – anything you can do to get experience and test things out. Sometimes you don’t really know what a career entails and whether you’ll like it or not until you try it, so try lots of things while you’re a student and after you’ve graduated – even while you’re working in a position you’re not sure about. And you may not be able to plan ever step along your career path, but at least you can see what you might want to do in the current job and the next one, and then you’ll connect the dots from there.”
Candace Rose: And how about for those who may not be in a job that they like, what can they do to not get “stuck”?
Lindsey Pollak: “So if you’re in a job that you don’t like there are a lot of things that you can do besides looking for another one. If you’re in a larger company you can look and see if there are other divisions at the company where you might want to make some relationships and possibly move over. Sometimes making a lateral move can be easier than joining an entirely different company. You can also see if there are ways to change your job and alter it to the kinds of activities that you do like to do. Most bosses will absolutely accept if you want to do more work, so if you add things to your job and start to get better at those, you can kind of transform your job in some situations if you show that you’re bringing value to the company.
You can freelance or start your own business on the side- a lot of people go that route. Or if you’re really, really unhappy it’s often easier to find a job when you’re currently employed, so looking on the side (after hours of course) and try to really figure out what you do want to do and how to explain to employers why you’re making that change is a good use of your time if you really feel that you have to leave the position that you’re not enjoying.”
Candace Rose: What do you need to know when faced with the decisions of rent, benefits, taxes, work and debt?
Lindsey Pollak: “All the real world stuff! That’s exactly why I’m working on the campaign that I’m doing right now with The Hartford. I spend a lot of time, like we’ve just been talking about how to get a job. And what a lot of people miss (especially millennials) is how to succeed and protect your career once you have a job. So making all those decisions like you said about finances, choosing the right benefits and insurance when you are employed and those things are offered by your employer. So think about things like life insurance- are you married? Do you have children? Are you supporting a parent? That might a choice that you have to make.
Disability insurance is something that I’ve been learning a lot about – 90% of millennials overestimate the cost of disability insurance. For the cost of $250 a year you can protect your salary if you’re not able to work because of an injury or an illness or a pregnancy. These are real issues that young people face and you need to think about not just getting a salary but protecting it once you have it.
And also thinking about budgeting and managing your finances. How are you going to make the most of the dollars that you’re making now and into your future. So cutting costs today as much as you can, as well as putting money aside for the big goals that you have tomorrow.”
Candace Rose: And how about for those that are financially independent, what can they do to ensure they’re getting the most out of their money?
Lindsey Pollak: “So getting the most of your money, is again about saving and making the most out of the dollars you have today, and thinking about things like cutting annual fees and choosing credit cards that don’t have those kinds of fees. Negotiating your cellphone bill and your cable bill, really minimizing those expenses as much as you can and then taking some time to think about where you want to be in the future – protecting your income with things like disability insurance, life insurance and planning savings for what you want. And actually figuring out how much it would cost to start your own business or take a sailing trip around the world. Putting dollar amounts to those dreams can be really helpful.
We’ve actually created a website at TheHartford.com/Tomorrow to give you tips on protecting your income and also managing your finances for those big goals.”
Candace Rose: You mentioned negotiating your bills; is that something that’s easy to do?
Lindsey Pollak: “You just have to have the guts to call. Sometimes (with some not all) providers, you simply have to ask for what it is that you want. Also thinking about ways to cut those bills so for instance with your cable bill- are there channels that you don’t need to be paying for.
With credit card companies in particular they often have different options, so it may not be a choice of cutting the bill or not, but switching to a different kind of credit card or a different kind of plan with your cellphone.
There are websites you can look up like Mint.com that will show you ways to save in particular areas of your budget. But actually joining a site like Mint.com, making the phone call to your providers of cellphone or cable, that’s the first step that you need to take. And every single one might not lead to a cost savings, but most of the time it will, if you take the time to call and look into these issues.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Lindsey Pollak: “Sure, I’d love to tell you a little bit more about the website at TheHartford.com/Tomorrow. We’ve got something called a Real World Roadmap that offers tips on saving money for your future, thinking about how to cut expenses today and also these insurance issues we found most millennials weren’t aware of or don’t really understand what life insurance and disability insurance are all about. So I think my final tip is really about educating yourself about the career options out there; the benefits that employers can offer; making sure you take the time to go through everything an employer offers – you might get discounted membership at a museum or discounted health club membership. I find in my conversations with millennials that they overlook a lot of these freebies or discounts. A great way to manage your finances is to take advantage of everything that’s offered to you. Don’t just think about your compensation from your employer as the number on your paycheck, think about the bigger picture of everything that’s available to you and take advantage of anything that fits your lifestyle.”