5 ways to make a career comeback after the kids are all grown up

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 12:20 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 12:20 PM

These strategies can help you transition from binkies and bottles to carrying a briefcase Fill in the holes on your resume with experience and skills you've gathered over time Take one of the many free or inexpensive online course Consider hiring a career consultant to help you find your path Don't let little setback deter you from achieving your goals Network as much as possible to get your name out there

If you made the decision to stay home with your children in their early years, it could feel a little intimidating to re-enter the workforce.

You've devoted so much of your time to the tending and nurturing of your little ones, but now that they're older, you can enjoy doing something for yourself and get back into the game. 

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In order to make a successful career comeback after having kids, these strategies, offered by Monster.com, can help you transition from carrying binkies and bottles to carrying a briefcase. 

  • Update your resume

    Staying home with your children doesn't mean that your resume contains larges gaps of unemployment. Fill in these holes with experience and skills you've gathered over time. If you use a bookkeeping program to organize your family's expenses, or if you've spent time raising money for your child's school or volunteering at your church, add it your resume. Take an inventory of your experiences over the last few years and look for anything relevant to the job field you're trying to break into.
  • Learn a few new skills

    Software and technology seems to change with the weather, so if you've been out of the workforce for a while, you might consider brushing up on your skills by taking a few courses or classes on the latest programs. Contact your local continuing education program or community college to see what programs they offer, or try taking one of the many free or inexpensive online course through sites like Lynda.comCourseraedXMIT OpenCourseWare or Udacity.
  • Consider getting helpHaving someone on your side that can work with you to help you get your foot in the door can really jump start your new career. If you just need a little advice along the way, consider hiring a career consultant to help you find your path and guide you to the next step. Or, contact a recruiter that can act as a middleman to help you land that interview.

  • Flexibility is keyGetting back into the game after years away means you might have to start out with less-than-ideal hours and less pay. Don't let these little setback deter you from achieving your goals, and remember that it's only temporary. Pretty soon, you'll feel like a seasoned career woman with a schedule and salary to envy. 

  • Network

    When you're trying to start a new career, especially after spending time away from the workforce, you'll want to network as much as possible to get your name out there. Contact former colleagues, college alumni or other moms that might lead you in the right direction. Becoming a squeaky wheel could mean all the difference.

Looking for a position that allows you to work from home? Check out these top 50 companies hiring for part-time, work-at-home jobs

Does car insurance cover the self-inflicted damage to your car after a crash in the driveway?

Published: Friday, December 01, 2017 @ 3:49 PM

Veteran car insurance agents answered some questions you might have if you find yourself in this situation Will insurance cover the damage to your vehicles? Does this happen to a lot of other people? Does it matter that the accident occurred on private property? What about the garage door?

If it hasn't happened to you, it's probably happened to someone you know: you manage to damage your car before ever leaving your driveway. (Doh!)

Self-inflicted accidents can happen in several ways, from backing out of your driveway and hitting your spouse's car to crashing into the garage door.

RELATED: 5 key things you should know about car insurance

Since most auto accidents happen on roads and usually involve another driver, you may wonder who pays if you hit a car in your driveway or damage your own property in some other way.

The following information from veteran car insurance agents helps answer the questions you might have if you find yourself in this situation:

Will insurance cover the damage to your vehicles?

Sure, depending on the type of coverage you have. Your liability coverage – which is legally required – covers damage to the car you hit. If you have collision insurance, the damage to your own car will be covered as well, an Atlanta insurance agent explained.

Does this happen to a lot of other people?

Yes, you're not alone. It probably does happen fairly often, the agent said, but many people don't file a claim with their insurance company.

"You're going so slow that the damage is usually minor," he said. So by the time you pay your deductible – which is often $500 to $1,000 – filing a claim may not be worth it.

Does it matter that the accident occurred on private property?

Not really, said Marcus Bullock from Slater Insurance Agency-Nationwide Insurance in Atlanta. The result is the same whether the accident is in your driveway or on Atlanta's streets.

The only real difference is that you won't need to call the police, as you would if it happened on the road. You won't have a police report, but you won't need it, and (thank goodness!) you won't be issued a ticket.

What about the garage door?

Bullock says this can also be covered if you have comprehensive coverage.

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Best and worst side jobs for extra holiday cash

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 3:58 PM

Overall, the 12 days of Christmas will run you $34,558.65, a 0.6 percent increase from 2016 Which days of Christmas are causing the hike? A partridge in a pear tree Five gold rings Ten lords-a-leaping

The holidays are a time for giving, but giving can be expensive. The season can put tremendous financial pressure and stress on average families. The good news, however, is that it’s also a great time to make some extra cash and pad your annual income with a seasonal side job during the holidays.

Be warned, however, that not all holiday jobs are the same. Some are cheerful, lucrative and rewarding. Others are so bad they’ll make you loathe the mere thought of the holidays for the rest of your life.

THE BEST

Delivery Driver

Estimated pay: $140 per day or at least $800 per week

The holiday season is the season of packages — especially now with the dominance of online shopping. Major carriers like UPS and the U.S. Postal Service increase their workforces to meet the holiday demand.

These jobs come with strict requirements regarding driving history. Physical work and lifting are involved, and you’ll probably have to pass a drug test. But if you can score a seasonal job with one of the big companies, you’re likely to be guaranteed secure, full-time work with good pay. FedEx, for example, is currently hiring seasonal drivers for $140 per day in Minnesota and at least $800 per week in New Jersey.

Retail/Sales Associate

Estimated pay: $9 to $10 per hour

One of the things that makes the annual surge in retail positions great is the sheer volume of jobs. The National Retail Federation reports that stores across the country look to fill up to 690,000 positions during the holidays. Some of these employees stock inventory, others manage stores, and others work as clerks or distribution managers. Either way, they might have the opportunity to become a permanent part of the team after the holidays pass.

>> Retailers’ holiday push is earlier, harder this year

Seasonal Server

Estimated pay: $9 to $10 per hour

When the busy holiday season hits, consider going after one of the many seasonal server jobs that open up. Waiters and waitresses tend to get better tips during the holidays, according to Forbes. They also work generally flexible schedules and often have the opportunity to pick up extra shifts to make more money or drop shifts when they want extra free time. If you’re trying to find your side hustle sweet spot, this might be the gig for you.

Gift Wrapper

Estimated pay: $8 to $10 per hour

Stores from Neiman Marcus and Barneys to Bealls and Big Lots all hire associates on a temporary basis to perform an all-important task: gift wrapping. Most of the ads run by those stores require applicants to have high school diplomas and the ability to stand for long periods of time. In reality, there’s one qualification that counts: If you’re one of those neat, creative people who likes wrapping presents, this is the job for you.

Holiday Decorator

Estimated pay: $8 to $18 per hour

Event planning companies, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores and even private homes hire seasonal help to do for money what most people do at home for free because it’s fun: decorate for the holidays. The AARP says you can expect to make at least $8 and up hourly to more than double that. Listings on job board Indeed confirm those estimates. A holiday light installer position pays $13 to $18 per hour. A position for temporary holiday decor installer pays $11.50 to $12.50 per hour.

>> Study: It’s gotten a little pricier to buy the ‘12 days of Christmas’

Product Demonstrator

Estimated pay: $9 to $21 per hour

If you’re outgoing, like to smile and enjoy making people happy by giving them free stuff, you can get paid to do just that. Product demonstrators sometimes demonstrate products, but more often, they hand out samples to shoppers and passersby.

During the holidays, when the demand for good workers takes off, you might find yourself offering anything from eggnog and cider to gingerbread and mulled wine. The AARP estimates pay to be between $9.11 and $21.70. Costco, for example, is hiring demonstrators for $12.65 an hour.

Mall Santa

Estimated pay: $15 to $20 per hour

While bringing the legend of Santa Claus to life might not be the easiest holiday gig, it’s certainly one of the most fulfilling. That is, provided you love kids, love being photographed and love entertaining the Christmas wishes of the masses. It’s a hard job, according to career site Monster.

There’s plenty of heavy lifting; you’re working during flu season, which means lots of sick kids and germy hands; and shifts can last up to 12 hours. But if you can hack it, you and you alone will be responsible for spreading joy, granting wishes and keeping alive the age-old legend of Father Christmas.

THE WORST

For all but the most desperate people, the worst holiday jobs are simply not worth the money. Meager pay, long hours, exposure to the elements, demeaning duties, and difficult management and customers define these chores. These jobs are often physically difficult and sometimes even dangerous.

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Santa’s Elf/Helper

Estimated pay: Minimum wage or just above

Mall Santa can be a great gig. The same can rarely be said, however, for his helpers. Elves are paid far, far less than the jolly workshop boss — generally the minimum allowed by law. They’re tasked with corralling impatient visitors who are frustrated with long lines, as well as their screaming kids.

When parents think a photo is too expensive, want a picture do-over or think Santa didn’t spend sufficient time or energy on their precious little ones, it’s generally the helper who gets a giant, pointy elf earful.

Airport Attendant

Estimated pay: About $11.50 per hour

During the holidays, airports become overcrowded, stressful madhouses teeming with frustration, long lines, impatient travelers and, of course, screaming children. For the countless seasonal, temporary workers who are hired during the holidays, that becomes their world.

Checking travelers in, locating lost baggage and carrying luggage isn’t glamorous or well-paid work during the best of times. But in the season of winter storms, delayed flights and holiday travel stress, there are far better ways to earn quick cash.

Snow Removal

Estimated pay: $9 to $30 per hour

If you live in a cold climate, clearing roads, sidewalks and parking lots during and after storms might seem like a good way to make some extra cash. It rarely is. If a storm hits at 3 a.m., that’s when you’re working — likewise if the snow starts falling at noon. Since your workload depends on the whims of Mother Nature, gigs are essentially impossible to schedule. The work can also be physically demanding and even dangerous.

Christmas Tree Lot Attendant

Estimated pay: $9.50 to $13 per hour

Buying a Christmas tree at the local tree lot is a yearly ritual for many people in America. When you pick a winner, however, it’s the miserable, shivering lot attendant covered in pine needles and sap who wraps it up, lugs it to your car and ties it onto the roof.

If you don’t like the idea of standing outside for eight hours, freezing, you don’t want this job. The saving grace is that attendants are often given hefty store discounts if the lot is associated with a retailer like City People’s Mercantile or Whole Foods.

Parking Lot Cart Attendant

Estimated pay: About $11 per hour

As stores begin to burst with customers during the holidays, retail giants hire extra help to corral stray carts in the parking lot. Not only does the position require hard work for long hours on your feet in the cold, but cart collectors are often called upon to do other grunt work, like mopping up spills in the aisles and even cleaning restrooms. The pay for lot attendant positions on career site Glassdoor averages $22,000 a year, which is about $11 an hour.

Call Center Customer Service

Estimated pay: $8 to $14 per hour

Many companies hire extra customer service reps during the holidays, but consider the facts before you apply to work in a call center. One customer service representative summed up the job by stating to ABC News, “You almost never have anything good happen to you at work.”

Describing the job as among the worst white-collar jobs possible, the report detailed a culture of immense pressure on representatives who have little power to fix issues and almost always work under intense scrutiny of hovering managers who monitor calls. Many calls come from angry customers who are rude and aggressive, yet representatives are often expected to try to sell things to them during the conversation.

Volunteer

Estimated pay: $0

From toy drives to charity events and soup kitchens to shelters, organizations of all stripes see a major spike in volunteering during the holidays. The season brings out people’s better nature as those who feel grateful yearn to embrace the true meaning of the holidays, receive the gift of giving and share with the less fortunate the blessings of plenty that they themselves enjoy.

The problem is, if you’re looking to make extra cash for the holidays, it pays nothing. Zip. Not a single dollar.

Is there a right way to quit your job? (Yes, believe it or not)

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 2:34 PM

When you think it's time to leave your job, how do you depart in a way that avoids repercussions? Create a loose transition plan for your boss Envision what you can do to make the transition easier on the team When meeting with your employer, use the "compliment sandwich" method Consider how leaving your job will affect your family Leave under good conditions if at all possible

When you think it's time to leave your job, how do you depart in a way that avoids personal and professional repercussions?

There’s no perfect way, but there are some smart moves to make your exit smooth, easier on your soon-to-be former boss and a breeze for you, said Forrest Wildes, director of strategic accounts for Harris Waste Management Group, a company based in Georgia.

RELATED: Straight talk: 13 things never to say in your job interview

"I would advise the person to make sure that they have considered all the pros and cons about the job they have and that their decision is final," Wildes said.

"I would suggest a meeting with your boss and explain that, for whatever reason, you feel led to take another job or you are moving or whatever the reason," Wildes added. 

Below, other career experts offer insight on the three significant things to consider when you decide to call it quits with your job.

Consider yourself

Will this decision lead you on the right path? Will you regret quitting, considering the consequences? Are you fearful? Do you feel guilty? 

If you are certain this decision is right, you may want to follow these suggestions from IdealistCareers.org:

  1. Prepare yourself mentally by listing three things about your current job that make you feel grateful and three things about your new venture that excite you.
  2. List briefly why this transition is right for you in order to build closure and acknowledge the present in a positive way while mentally preparing you for the future.
  3. Create a loose transition plan for your boss, listing your biggest responsibilities, the status of any ongoing projects and a back-up point of contact for your work. Whether or not your boss accepts your plan, by being positive and proactive, you will show respect for the organization and lessen the chance of getting a negative reaction.
  4. Envision what you can do to make the transition easier on the team, and list a few goals you plan to accomplish before your last day; but set reasonable boundaries for yourself such as not extending the standard two-week notice.

Consider your employer

  1. Arrange a short, in-person meeting with your manager.
  2. Use the "compliment sandwich" method: Sandwich the news that you are leaving between the positive of what you are grateful for during your time there and the proactive transition plan you've created. Don't try to control his/her reaction to your news.

Consider your family

How will leaving your job affect your family? Have you discussed your plans with them before you do the final deed of submitting your notice? Have you secured another job before submitting your notice? If not, do you have enough in savings to carry you and your family through until you can secure another job?

Final word, according to Wildes:

"Leave under good conditions if at all possible. Never burn the bridge if you can help it. You never know when you may need a reference or even need your old job back!"

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The 6 best ways to invest a $30,000 windfall

Published: Sunday, November 05, 2017 @ 2:43 PM

One in three people who receive an inheritance blow through it in two years. Here’s the right way to handle a windfall of cash.

There are worse problems than having to figure out what to do with $30,000.

You might think: I have a lot of money to play with! But be careful, because it’s also a lot of money to — buzzkill alert — potentially squander.

A large windfall provides an opportunity to get your finances in order and set yourself up for the future.

These are the best investments you can make with that kind of cash.

1. Pay down debt

One of the smartest things you can do is pay down credit card debt, which has been hitting new all-time highs. The average upper-middle-income family was carrying credit card balances of $6,800 in 2016, up 13 percent from three years earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Consumer Finance Survey.

That debt could end up costing you thousands of dollars in interest.

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2. Build up your savings

Only 2 in 5 Americans have enough savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense, according to a Bankrate survey.

Financial planners recommend you carry three to six months’ worth of expenses in a savings account, to give yourself a little bit of a cushion in case you suddenly lose your job or find yourself needing a new roof.

3. Put it toward your retirement

One common regret among Americans is not saving more for when you retire. The median amount all working-age U.S. families have saved for retirement is only $5,000.

Life is expensive, incomes have been growing slowly, if at all, and many struggle to get by. But your $30,000 should give you the cover to contribute more to your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, if you have one. The goal is to put away 10 to 15 percent of your earnings, including any match from your employer.

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4. Save for college

Americans also find it challenging to save for college. Rising tuitions and financial pressures on families have helped push student loan debt to record levels.

If you have children, invest in their future by opening a 529 college savings plan or even a Roth IRA.

There are pluses and minuses to any approach. The key is to start putting money away early.

5. Open a no-fuss investment account

Thinking of your $30,000 as a ticket to earning even bigger money?

Rather than looking for the next Apple or Amazon, concentrate on building a diversified investment portfolio comprised of low-cost mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that will deliver a solid return over time.

You don’t need to buy a lot of funds to get you where you need to go. Big-time investment managers, such as Fidelity and Vanguard, offer a number of one-stop funds that do the diversifying for you.

Or, you could go with a target-date fund, which matches your exposure to stocks and bonds to your age. That is, you own more stocks when you’re younger, and more bonds when you’re older. For even more safety, find the best CD rates and add some certificates of deposit to the mix.

6. Go the DIY investing route

You could invest your $30K by building a diversified portfolio yourself. A good start is to allocate, say, 40 percent to a U.S. total stock market fund, 20 percent to an intentional equity fund and the remaining 40 percent to a total bond market fund.

You don’t need more than four or five funds, and pay careful attention to fees.

An automated financial adviser service, such as Betterment, can help you get going.