Earn Job Hunting

I Got My 2021 Bonus. Now How Do I Find A New Job?

Aly Walansky  |  January 13, 2022

Money’s in the bank. So, where do I start?

Every January, an average of 4 million people leave their jobs, but given the unprecedented departures we’ve seen as of late (more like 4 million per month) thanks to the “Great Resignation,” 2022 is projected to see many millions of people landing new gigs. But just where do we look for those new opportunities? Whenever you’re embarking on something new, there’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge. 

“The New Year is a popular time for job searching, specifically for this reason: People who’ve held out for a year-end bonus are more open to what else is out there—especially given that it’s a candidate’s market right now,” says The Muse founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew.

But it’s worth mentioning that there’s a lot that goes into a career move. “Bonuses are not a sure thing, and the fact that you received one signals how much your company values you, and speaks to the reputation you’ve built there,’ says Minshew. 

Not only is finding a new job time-intensive, but starting a new job means proving yourself to new colleagues all over again and conquering a new set of problems (like people, no workplace is perfect!). But that investment may be worth it, compared to your current situation. Only you can make that call. Here’s what to do before you make a move. 

Create a Budget

Creating a budget is key, as it’s your financial blueprint and gives you a birds-eye view of how you spend your money. “Although you are not a traditional employee, it’s still important to know what’s coming in and what’s going out,” says ​​Sharita Humphrey, an award-winning Certified Financial Education Instructor and Self Financial spokesperson.  Having a budget will help to immediately identify any “spending leaks” so that you can put that money back into your budget. 

Open an IRA

This is a good option for non-9-5 workers who don’t have a 401(k) or similar retirement-sponsored plan, but who also want to contribute to their retirement account. “A person under 50 years of age can contribute up to $6,000 and those over 50 can contribute up to $7,500,” says Humphrey. A Solo 401(k) is another option for those who are self-employed, and their spouses, as long as they have no employees.

Find a Side Hustle

Building a side hustle will help you to increase your income and your financial confidence. “Think about the one thing people come to you for that you do effortlessly and charge for those products or services,” says Humphrey. Start small and be sure to ask for testimonials so that you can use them to attract more new customers. Incorporating a referral system helps with getting leads, without having to spend money on advertising. In the midst of economic insecurity and an ongoing pandemic, finding unique ways to save and plan can be a life saver for many of us.

Consider Remote and Virtual Opportunities

“I think the number one thing employers need to have an answer for is working remote or in-person and that answer needs to be reflective of the right now but also a plan for the future,” says Jessy Fofana, Founder & CEO of LaRue PR.

The second part of that answer needs to address company culture, whether virtually, in-person or hybrid. “For many their job has become an important touchpoint in the day to day,” says Fofana.  “It’s community and connection and the chance to commiserate with people who may be having a uniquely similar experience in some ways.”

The great resignation has largely been born out of people living through a historic period in history and reevaluating and reacting to it across all aspects of their lives. “It’s why company culture and work/life balance are front and center more than ever before,” says Fofana. “I think employers need to consider that outside of a salary, benefits, PTO, etc. Candidates want to be part of something they can identify with and believe in and that whether remote or in person, the opportunity be meaningful.”

Everyone is reevaluating what matters and that means employers need to figure out what about the company or opportunity is special and compelling and what kind of flexibility they can afford to candidates.

If You’re Going Freelance… 

If you’re planning to strike out on your own, start activating your network now. “Typically, a freelancer’s first few jobs are from their extended network,” says Shauna Nuckles, the founder of Advocation, a training company & consultancy focused on de-stressing the PR industry. “If you still have a day job, you’re not advertising far and wide that you’re seeking clients. However, you can start emailing past colleagues, industry connections and even friends and family,” says Nuckles. Tell them what you have planned for your next career move and ask for referrals. When you reach out, be clear with the type of work you’re looking for and who you can help.

Find Opportunities 

When leveraging your expertise to provide a professional service, most clients come through referrals from people you know or have worked with in the past.  But, there are plenty of other ways you can seek out clients. For example:

Join industry or regional Facebook groups. “The city I live in has several groups for my industry as well as one specific to freelancers. I’ve personally hired multiple freelancers this way and I know that many companies do,” said Nuckles.

Forge strategic relationships with established businesses. “Many companies (ahem, most) are really struggling to hire full-time employees

If you’re strategic in the way you leave your day job, your past employer can even become your first client. “Are there parts of your job that you really love? Package up a service and sell it to your employer instead of quitting,” said Nuckles. Many companies will be thrilled to retain a talented individual instead of losing them entirely. 

Be Confident + Go Boldly! 

Before you get started, create a vision for what you want your life to look like and why you’re making this life choice.” Beginning a solo career can be incredibly intimidating!” says Nuckles. Having that vision and a deeper connection to why you’re doing this will keep you motivated and focused when you hit a bump in the road.

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