Six simple steps to take, when you've lost your job

When you've lost your job, these simple steps will help you move forward.

Wake up everybody! Get out of the unemployment line, and launch your new and improved life: This is not the end of your world. It's the beginning of a much happier career and lifestyle.

Look around you. What do you see? There's a new world of possibility unfolding right in front of you. Wipe the fear from your eyes and focus on the opportunities. The world is crying out for new solutions to old problems.

Alternative energy and green lifestyles have become mainstream; careers in that field are the wave of the future. New technologies are needed to march us successfully into the future - as are new health care paradigms. People are searching for health solutions that don't require thousands of dollars worth of medical interventions. You're standing on this threshold for a reason. You intended to be here. Embrace the change and move forward.

America's Jobs Disaster

Is the Great Recession about to end? This has been the dominant meme at least since June, when my local paper, the Anniston Star, ran a front page story by McClatchy's Kevin Hall with the headline, "Economists: Recession Nearing End as Unemployment Dips."

Sad to say, though, that if such news is the basis for optimism, in June or today, then we are in trouble.

Before I explain why, let's review Hall's article. The July job figures turned out to be much less bad than predicted. Job losses for the month were reported at a mere 247,000, which was about 25 percent less than the figure anticipated by forecasters.

That, coupled with optimistic labor market revisions for May and June, led some economists to declare that happy days may finally, if slowly, be getting here again. In this spirit, the British investment bank, Barclays Capital Research, concluded in a report, "June is likely to have been the last month of the US recession."

7 Creepy Careers With Staying Power

Sometimes making a living requires working with blood, dark spaces, or creepy-crawlers. Are you up for a little fright? The following jobs each include something a little unsettling, but one just may be the right fit for you.

Take a look and see if you're brave enough to make a "creepy" career move.

1. Funeral Director
Median Salary: $46,000

While shows like "Six Feet Under" like to emphasize the drama in this career, a calm demeanor, soothing words, and attention to detail are the qualities most needed to excel. As James Olson of Lippert-Olson Funeral Home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, says, "I don't think of what I do as creepy. Being able to give a person the opportunity to grieve for their loved one is an honor."

Besides ensuring that the funeral service goes smoothly, funeral directors must also coordinate transportation and burial of the body. Employment projections for this job are good. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), funeral directors are older, on average, than workers in other fields, so many are expected to retire in the coming decade.

Building up America: Jobs in Infrastructure

Looking for a job that can't be outsourced and that could provide a good income for years to come? Think infrastructure. In the 21st century, infrastructure isn't just roads, bridges, railroads, and water or sewer plants -- it's high-tech electrical grids, high-speed Internet cable and wireless networks.

Several factors have come together to make now a great time to get into infrastructure jobs. One is demographic -- a generation of baby boomers who've spent their careers maintaining water, sewer, and power plants are hitting retirement age. Another issue is America's longtime habit of deferring maintenance on its roads, bridges, and other infrastructure systems, says executive recruiter Stephen Hinton of Hinton Human Capital in Atlanta.

This has recently come home to roost with prominent infrastructure failures such as the 2007 Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis. With infrastructure crumbling, many cities are launching massive infrastructure-repair programs, Hinton says, sometimes under federal-government order.

Businesses Struggle With Malaysia's Restrictions on Foreign Workers

KUALA LUMPUR — It is lunchtime at the Wangsa Ukay restaurant in suburban Kuala Lumpur, and regulars are coming in for local favorites like roti canai, chicken curry and tea tarik, the sweet, milky drink that is ubiquitous across Malaysia.

The owner, Muneandy Nalepan, has time to stop and talk for now, but when peak times hit on weekends, he and his wife must pitch in to help clear tables.

He used to have a staff of 120 — almost all foreigners — working in his five restaurants across the city. But after the government made it more difficult for businesses to hire workers from abroad, he is down to 80 because he has been unable to replace the 40 employees who had to return home after the maximum work period of five years.

Unable to find Malaysians willing to work as cooks, waiters or dishwashers, he is awaiting approval to employ more foreigners. But if he cannot get more workers soon, he says, he may close one of his outlets. Mr. Muneandy, an 18-year veteran of the industry, is even considering other business ventures.

“To run a restaurant, it’s becoming impossible,” he said.

It is not just restaurateurs complaining. Many business owners, from furniture producers to rubber glove manufacturers, say a labor shortage is harming productivity.

Scrutinizing 2010 Insurance Options

Whatever you do with your health benefits during the current open enrollment season for 2010, there’s a good chance it won’t be what you did last year.

The time-honored “evergreen” option — defaulting to your current plan — may simply no longer be an option. Either your employer no longer even offers that plan, or the terms may be so radically different that you may no longer want it.

With so much in flux, this may be the year you will need to switch health plans. That realization hit home with me recently, and painfully, when I studied my own family’s health insurance options for 2010, under my husband’s employer-sponsored plan.

65 and Up and Looking for Work

It is well known that during the nation’s gale-force recession, many older Americans who dreamed of retirement continued to work, often because their 401(k)’s had plunged in value.

In fact, there are more Americans 65 and older in the job market today than at any time in history, 6.6 million, compared with 4.1 million in 2001.

Less well known, though, is that nearly half a million workers 65 and older want to work but cannot find a job — more than five times the level early this decade and this group’s highest unemployment level since the Great Depression.

The situation is made more dire because of numerous recent trends: many people over 65 have lost their jobs as seniority protections have weakened, and like most other Americans, a higher percentage of them took on debt than in previous generations.

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What did I do wrong? How to ask for feedback

If you’ve got job interview rejection letters piling up in a corner of your lounge room and you’re continually left feeling frustrated, jobless and penniless, wondering ‘what did I do wrong!?’ – it’s about time you did something about it. By reaching the interview stage, you have most likely beaten hundreds of other people that also applied for the job, so your resume must be pretty good. It’s the interview part that’s letting you down – you just can’t seem to close the deal and get the job.

Job interviews can be tough – you’ve got several highly qualified people all competing and marketing their talents to an interviewer, but only one candidate can get the job. The interviewer has to be ruthless and pick one person – but what if this person is never you? It could be because you’re nervous, you’re not well prepared or you go to the interview wearing shorts and flip flops – whatever the reason, you need to find out what it is and work on it.

The best way to improve is to get some feedback from the interviewer. This way you can pinpoint exactly what areas you need to work on, which may even be things you didn’t realise were jeopardising your chances of getting the job. The key is not to see a rejection letter as a setback. While it is disappointing, turn it into something positive by interpreting it as a learning experience. The interviewer has most probably interviewed many people before so could offer you some insightful tips or advice. Anyway, you’ve got nothing to lose.

What did I do wrong? How to ask for feedback

If you’ve got job interview rejection letters piling up in a corner of your lounge room and you’re continually left feeling frustrated, jobless and penniless, wondering ‘what did I do wrong!?’ – it’s about time you did something about it. By reaching the interview stage, you have most likely beaten hundreds of other people that also applied for the job, so your resume must be pretty good. It’s the interview part that’s letting you down – you just can’t seem to close the deal and get the job.

Job interviews can be tough – you’ve got several highly qualified people all competing and marketing their talents to an interviewer, but only one candidate can get the job. The interviewer has to be ruthless and pick one person – but what if this person is never you? It could be because you’re nervous, you’re not well prepared or you go to the interview wearing shorts and flip flops – whatever the reason, you need to find out what it is and work on it.

The best way to improve is to get some feedback from the interviewer. This way you can pinpoint exactly what areas you need to work on, which may even be things you didn’t realise were jeopardising your chances of getting the job. The key is not to see a rejection letter as a setback. While it is disappointing, turn it into something positive by interpreting it as a learning experience. The interviewer has most probably interviewed many people before so could offer you some insightful tips or advice. Anyway, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Unemployment Extension to Get Senate's Attention Next Week

With nearly 1.5 million Americans expected to exhaust their unemployment benefits by the end of the year, the stakes are high for a federally funded benefits extension that has been delayed in the Senate. While the House earlier passed a version of the bill by a wide margin, the Senate expanded the reach of the House bill by offering additional weeks of paid benefits to all states, rather than only those with the highest unemployment rates. While the Senate bill doesn't lack support, Republicans have objected to its funding and have been interested in adding amendments that don't have much favor among Democrats.

www.rollcall.com reports that the two sides are working to find agreement on the amendments, but the measure could otherwise take up much of the Senate's schedule next week.

This is better news for the unemployed, who are exhausting their benefits at a rate of 7,000 individuals a day, according to estimates from the National Employment Law Project.

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