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The Economics of a Job Search: Calculate Your Actual Costs of Jobless Downtime

SCC executive job search economics, executive career salary calculatorStewart, Cooper & Coon has developed the following job-search calculator to help you determine where you stand financially and to calculate potential losses that you might incur in both earned and unearned income and expenses during your job search.

Enter the salary you aspire to into the desired income box below. Then, enter your monthly expenses into the next box. Click the Calculate Fiscal Losses button and your daily, weekly and monthly costs of conducting an executive job search will be displayed. After you know your potential financial losses, read the rest of the article below to learn more about the economic impact of your current job search on your career and retirement prospects.


Paul Krugman, the celebrated author and New York TimesOp-Ed columnist, said it best when addressing the job search market, “In 2000, with labor scarce, there probably was something wrong with many people who got laid off. In 2009, it was just a matter of being in the wrong place…In other words, it’s nothing personal; it’s the economy, stupid.

Well, regardless of who is or isn’t at fault, according to the findings of the American Psychological Association (APA), 78% of American workers cite the current state of the economy to be a major source of stress. “Unemployed workers,” says the APA, “are twice as likely as their employed counterparts to experience psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, low subjective well-being and poor self-esteem (Paul & Moser, 2009).”

Getting fired/displaced/laid off/downsized/sacked/blown out/pink slipped/made redundant—however you want to put it—is a chilling affair that stays with you forever. Remember Tom Cruise in the film Jerry Maguire when he was “let go” by his business associate Bob Sugar? Sugar glared over at Jerry from the table with his evil, cold stare, showing nary an emotion. “It’s not ‘show friends.’ It’s ‘show business,’” he reminded us eerily.

The sting of being downsized or unemployed can make any executive’s financial picture seem very bleak, no matter your income or your position on the financial strata. Whether you are the 1% or part of the 99%, the lack of income, combined with monthly expenses, can weigh heavily on the psyche of even the most level-headed professional. Nobody enjoys looking over his or her shoulders, and the longer a job search lasts, the more expensive it becomes. It can erode many previously stable retirement nest eggs, as well as many unstable retirement nest eggs.

According to a May 2014 article in the Washington Post by financial reporter Matt O’Brien, 3.5 million job seekers are past the six-month mark in finding their next career challenge. And according to O’Brien, the crazy thing is that there’s not much difference in qualifications (i.e., job skills and education) between those competing for jobs with less than six months or those who have been out longer…other than they might be a little older or that unemployment statistically hits some minorities, such as African-Americans, or age groups, such as recent college grads, a little harder.

Both Krugman and O’Brien agree. Long-term unemployment is more a result of bad luck than it is from workers having bad skills or work-ethic issues. The key to landing on your feet with the next exciting job challenge is to use every resource at your disposal to keep your time on the unemployment sidelines as short as possible. So keep your pads and your uniform on.

Personal reinvention—especially on the career front—is still one of the most thrilling occurrences that can happen in a person’s life! It’s also an inevitable process in every successful and innovative person’s career. As Fred Coon, SC&C CEO, says, “they don’t hire two of you for the same job. Therefore, it is critical to keep your skills up to date so that you are more competitive in the marketplace.”

The talking heads on the cable financial channels have been banging the drum since the big crash in 2009. Long-term unemployment has never been this bad since they first started keeping records after the GI’s came home after World War II. And in the modern job market, those inflated long-term unemployment figures are going to be slow in coming down for the foreseeable future. The good news, however, is that the number of jobs lost during the crash has been restored. But that doesn’t excuse you from reinventing yourself and accelerating your search for new and broader horizons.

The bummer is that companies who are hiring are much more apt to consider a short-term unemployed job seeker than a long-term one, even if the long-term jobless person has better qualifications! There’s no question about it, companies and corporations currently hiring new executive and upper-level professionals have a built-in prejudice against longer-term jobless people, and they don’t even bother to deny it anymore when confronted about it.

Whether you’re an executive or a specialized professional or making that important transition from the military to civilian life, you need all the help you can get in developing your next hiring strategy. Develop a plan to stay behind the six-month eight ball when between gigs. This is not the time for qualified professionals to chuck it all and go hitchhiking through Europe or become a beach bum for several months. Have a sound executive search strategy in place.

And don’t let the social pundits fool you. American workers aren’t lazy layabouts, anxious to get on the dole. There simply isn’t the surplus of positions that were available in, say, the hustle-bustle, go-go late 1990s when there was only a five-percent chance that a jobless person would remain so beyond six months. And, again, even though it is getting better, this reticent job market is still affecting whether or not already employed talented professionals make the leap and shift from one firm to the next greener pasture.

Ironically, as the economy and the job front begins to brighten—and it is these days!—sometimes talented and eager executives may grow impatient with the whole job search process. Don’t let that happen to you. According to a study at the University of California at Berkeley, subsequently, “workers who are more impatient search less intensively and set lower reservation wages.”

“Once a wage offer is received,” the report states, “the more impatient individuals prefer to accept what they already have at hand rather than to wait an additional period for a better offer.”

So the old adage is true, time is money. Below is the movie character Jerry Maguire on the phone, “Twenty-four hours ago, man, I was hot! Now… I’m a cautionary tale.”

job search downtime, financial costs of job search

Finding professional help has never been more important in tightening the time lag as well as finding your next job challenge within that crucial six-month time frame. Stewart, Cooper & Coon works with professionals in every field of human resource management from Corporate Outplacement to Military and Government Transition to Executive Search and Individual Executive Placement assistance to help executives land on their feet quicker.

<< Dilemma 1 – Job Search Myths | Dilemma 3 – Why Should They Hire You? >>


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