Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BOB LANKARD: First find new job, then quit

by on April 23, 2014 10:49 AM

A recent headline told of two assistant college football coaches who resigned to “pursue other interests.” During my 37 years as an employment counselor many workers came to me describing their work circumstances and asking, “Don’t you think I should just quit?” In most cases my advice was the same: “Don’t quit until you have another job to go to.” Is this advice still true today?

• “I fixed ’em; I just quit,” an applicant told me. At the time this man told me his story he had already been replaced and my friend was out of work with no prospects. It is easier for the employer to replace someone than it is for a worker to find a new job. In today’s post-recession economy employers will hire the working applicant over the one who has been out of work for a time. In fact, during the recent recession some employers actually advised the unemployed to not even apply.

• Those who quit their jobs are most likely ineligible for unemployment compensation. Each state has its own rules for determining eligibility after a worker has voluntarily quit a job. In Pennsylvania a worker must have quit under necessary and compelling reasons. In most cases this means the employer was doing something illegal. At best, the worker who quit will not receive any unemployment benefits until they have exhausted an appeals process that can be lengthy.

• Employers prefer to hire people who are already working.

• Being voluntarily unemployed is a financial hardship. This is especially true if you had debts when you quit without another job. Being on unemployment compensation cuts you income in half. The 21st century worker no longer maintains a safety net, but lives from paycheck to paycheck. .

• Job seekers in 2014 cannot say happy days are here again. One study showed 64 percent of new jobs created do not pay a living wage. Our economy is still 1.3 million jobs short of the pre-recession level. There are still three job seekers for every published opening.

As with most rules there are exceptions. Workers who are working in dangerous or abusive conditions should not be expected to remain on that job. The same advice goes for employers who are violating the law or requiring the employees to break the law.

The unhappy worker is advised to job hunt while still on the job. This task has been made much easier than in 1990. How?

• You will not need to miss work to go to some office to apply for another job. Most likely it is listed online. You can apply on your own time.

• Applications are available online. It is not necessary to go to the place of business. Do it online.

• Civil service information and applications are savable online. No need to go anywhere.

• Email makes it possible for the job seeker to make contact with a hiring person who works the same hours they do.

No need to miss your lunch.

Or hope your boss does not catch you talking to another employer.

Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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