When I asked my readers, "What's on your mind?" greatest response came from readers who asked, "How do I leave a job, whether it's my decision or someone else's?"
Gwendolyn Parker, author of Trespassing, asked for seven months of severance when she voluntarily left her senior position at American Express. Seven months seems like a vast, open space when you leave corporate world, especially if you hate your job. Your health plan unfolds into Cobra -- expensive but comprehensive -- so you figure, "I've got time." You're tired, so you need to relax.
But, as Parker discovered, seven months of salary seems a lot less when you're no longer working full-time.
So what happens when you have six, seven or even twelve months of severance in bank and you're getting twitchy? Will you ever be back on a payroll? Should you start a business?
Discuss your resources with a qualified financial advisor. Can you stretch your funds beyond six months?
Explore feelings, if need be, with a qualified specialist. You will sabotage your own best efforts if you carry resentment and grief into your next career project.
Resist temptation to make sudden drastic moves. Sell house, move to Wyoming and live in a tent? By December, tent is cold, housing market has taken another jump and you've gone too far to turn back. Anyway, bears have confiscated your computer to play hibernation solitaire. "Career winter" indeed.
Explore free or low-cost resources. Check out Chamber of Commerce, your alumni career center, and unemployment office. If you have trouble staying focused, paying your own consultant may be a good investment.
Now let's turn clock back for a more proactive view. You expect to be fired -- or to fire yourself. What can you do?