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Create Your Own Personal Bailout

"Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want." Robert G. Allen

Pick up any newspaper or magazine, turn on any television or radio, and you will have a hard time avoiding news of current economic woes. Unlike our parents, few of us will work for one company throughout our career life. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average person will change careers three to five times during their life.

What would you do if you were faced with a layoff tomorrow? You can take steps today to make unemployment less catastrophic for your and your family.

Have a Plan B. If you lose your job tomorrow, if the industry in which you work is in decline, where would you look for employment? The pro-active approach is to brainstorm for career options before you need them. Spend a few minutes jotting down possible alternatives if you are forced to make a career change. You may also do some research as to what work history or education is required for that alternate career. The lay off may provide you with an opportunity to go back to school.

Use All Available Resources for a Job Search. Get the word out if you are searching for a new job, alert friends, family, and neighbors. Utilize all available online sources for career information. Forbes.com recently featured a "Fastest-Growing Industries" article. Monster.com and many professional organizations maintain job search databases.

Manage Credit Wisely. In the face of financial uncertainty, do not spend more money than you have. In Popeye cartoons, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today," may have worked for Wimpy, but for us that can translate to credit card debt. Be wary of "layoff protection" deals that entice consumers to make a purchase now, with a promise of a guaranteed return later. You may be relying on assistance from a company that will not be in business when you are ready to cash in on the deal. Additionally, if you are already in credit card debt, be sure to make at least the minimum payments each month if not a little more than the minimum. This will help you maintain your credit history.

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