COBRA BITES

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Update:  Just got my Cobra documents from the ex-employer.  My termination date was 5/28 and the Modification program deadline was 5/31 (Reference post OBAMA’S COBRA).  The modification basically decreases the price of your existing healthcare package t0 35% of the premium. The employer has to absorb the rest.  OMG did I just squeak into that inclusion?!

The monthly fee will be pretty much the same as when I was employed, with the same terms, and deductibles.  So I have the same medical, dental, and vision for up to eighteen months.  The documents also reference an option to find other plans through www.ExtendAccess.com .  I input that address to get a comparison but it defaulted to   http://www.extendhealth.com/ .   The few plans I looked at had huge deductibles so I’m sticking with the Cobra.  Only one drawback:  I’ll be billed July 15th for coverage from 5-29 thru 8-31, so essentially they are requiring three months of payments all at once. Make It Work. 

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CAREER TRANSITION COACH

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So I met with the career coach today.  She turned out to be an interesting entrepreneur who runs several businesses, consulting, facilitating,  and otherwise.  Although very busy, she eeks out some time every week to counsel others thru the program.  Althought I’m definitely interested in the Entrepreneur track, I have not totally discounted the track for Traditional Job Search.  She recommended taking several courses thru the company:  “Be Your Own Boss,” “Building a Target List,” “Effective Networking,” “Networking with LinkedIn,” and “Advanced LinkedIn.”  In orientation yesterday, we learned that 85% of recruiters find people assets thru LinkedIn, so that’s definitely a social avenue to be pursued. 

Apparently the team meetings(reference WAKING UP TO CAREER TRANSITION) have been suspended for the summer.  Since being part of a team is so integral to the success of the program, it might be wise for me to put the program on hold until fall.  I’ll take a few classes and then decide if that’s the best course for now.

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WAKING UP TO CAREER TRANSITION

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 As part of the layoff package, my ex-employer has sponsored three months membership at a company that specializes in career transitions. I’ve been reluctant to start the clock ticking on that benny because I don’t want another traditional j o b, however the initial orientation has to be completed within sixty days of termination, or the benefit is lost. I’ve been happily existing in a bubble of fantasy, collecting and saving “job available” emails from well wishing friends and working on monetizing the websites. In this fantasy, I’m bringing in enough money to compensate for a full time and might I add lucrative job, have plenty of time for socializing and fitness, and have even more time to pursue wonderfully interesting hobbies, activities and interests. Ha ha, fantasy is the operative word here.
While this fantasy is working for my conscience self, the smarter sub-conscious self is keeping watch in the real world. It tricked me into going to orientation by whispering “maybe they will have tips on becoming an entrepreneur, and becoming a successful website marketer.” At the orientation yesterday, it appeared that everyone in the room was almost forty and older, more men than women. That is a whole ‘nother topic in itself. We learned this company has the responsibility not to find us a job, but to ensure that 1)we have an eye grabbing resume, 2) we are uber prepared for interviewing whether it be a 30 second schpeel tag, or formal interview situation, 3) that we have access to all the tools we need for focused searches. We will be assigned a personal coach specific to the track we want to follow:
1. Possible retirement and part time work
2. Don’t know where to focus
3. Traditional Job Search
4. Entrepreneur and self employment.

Low and behold, my sub-conscience hit the nail on the head for me with #4. There will be assignments into a team of peers; team will meet weekly to discuss and provide feedback on individual’s goals, and success paths. Apparently the team dynamic is all about accountability to the team and to one’s self; it keeps pressure on the members to stay focused and on track, joy joy.
I have a meeting scheduled with my coach tomorrow; will report back.

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HOME LOAN MODIFICATIONS

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Since I’ve been layed off, I thought it best to contact my mortgage company to see if I could re-finance my home loan.  I was told I would be eligible for a modification since I was undergoing “financial hardship.”   The modification will escrow insurance and taxes, and reduce the monthly payments; if accepted, there  will be a trial period for three months before becoming permanent.   I had to verbally provide a breakdown of all my household expenses, including cable, internet, cell phone,  insurances, taxes, groceries, etc.  The phone rep. advised she was sending documents for me to complete, and stressed they were “time sensitive.”  Hopefully they will provide  the details that she didn’t. 



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OUTPLACEMENT SERVICES

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As a condition of my layoff, my company provided  access to a firm which specializes in career transition and outplacement services.   I took advantage of the down time to have a medical procedure which I’ve been putting off for years but I made contact with the firm to let them know I would do the orientation after my doctor released me.  During the weeks of recovery, in a Vicodin induced haze,  I set up this blog and the website www.dewdropshop.com, thinking it could be a small source of income but I know I need much help and advice from experts.  Being new to the publishing arena, I’m swimming solo but found and joined a few website marketing groups thru www.meetup.com   I’m going to attend a meeting next week which will review how to write ad copy to encourage action. Even though reluctant (reference BURDEN OF FREEDOM AT 50),  I’ll also contact the career transition specialists who can possibly steer and educate me in becoming a successful website publisher; I feel an urgent need to continue working from home, lol.

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ANXIOUS

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I’m getting a little anxious–there is a lot to being a website publisher and only 24 hours to a day.  I go to bed thinking about the site, and wake up thinking about the site – it’s eerily becoming a compulsion.  Since the layoff, I initially thought that I could work a few different avenues to generate multiple streams of income.  I became a member of Elance.com – a free lance site which puts those with jobs offers together with those skilled to do the jobs.  I have not had a chance to focus on that site due to the time it is taking to get the website up and running.  Below is a not at all comprehensive list of “to do’s” for the niche website:  www.DewDropShop.com

Website design and layout

  
           Designing how you want the site to look
            Selecting WordPress Theme
            Learning Code to manage site layout
            Selecting plugins to customize site
            Going back to drawing board when plugging don’t work as anticipated
            Maintenance and updates

 Application for Affiliate Acceptance (to obtain ads to list on site)

      Comprehension of T&C of each company acceptance.
      Searching appropriate product links
       Loading appropriate product links to webpage
      Watching for rebates, coupons and posting them to webpage as appropriate
      Watching for expired ads
      Working with Commission Junction, Google Adsense and Affiliates, Amazon Associates, 
                          JustHost

 Marketing – JustHost my host server provided a few coupons for advertising my site.  Using

      Google Adwords – method of getting your website ad to show up on a Google search
      Facebook Ads –   method of advertising website on FB (you know those pesky ads that show up on the right side of your FB       
                       Home Page…yea that)
       Getting “channels” right so each ad can be tracked as far as effectivity

 Acronyms – need I say a whole new language?  Here are just a few:

      PPC – price per click (measurement of someone actually clicking on an ad)
      PPM – price per impression (measurement of the ad showing up on someone’s browser
      Bounce rates -not an acronym, just an interesting concept (measure of how long a viewer stays on a page)

 Education on all four of the above—innumerable amounts of free information and webcasts to make yourself a successful publisher.

Love to hear from someone who has gone thru self-education.  So I’ve got to get back to it, right now. 🙂

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