Hey HR Lady…

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Q If I quit my job can I collect unemployment benefits?
Justin B., Bend

Dear Justin: Probably not.  If you voluntarily leave employment without just cause you will most likely be ineligible for unemployment benefits.  The only way you may possibly be eligible is if you were in a situation where you had no other recourse but to quit and that you explored all other options
before resigning.

Unemployment benefits were designed for those individuals displaced from the workforce due to no fault of their own.  A company layoff would be an example.  There are some circumstances where you may be eligible if for instance you could prove that you were working in a hostile work environment or that your employer was making you do something unethical, illegal or immoral.  Again, the burden of proof would be on you to prove that you had no other option but to quit your job. 
To find out more about how the unemployment benefit process works visit Oregon Employment Department’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/UI/.

Q How can I stay positive about my job search?  I am becoming increasingly more discouraged by the lack of good opportunities in Bend.   I feel defeated – what am I doing wrong?   I end up hanging out at 10-Barrel with my friends to drown my sorrows.
John C., Bend

Dear John: I feel ya, brother.  The labor market is tight out there. The most important thing you need to do right now is to stay positive and focused.  Your job search is now your NEW JOB.

Instead of hanging out with your unemployed cronies swillin’ coldies at the local watering hole, start surrounding yourself around your gainfully employed friends and family.  Set up informational interviews.  Spend this time focusing on what you really want to do.  Broaden your horizons – don’t just look on Craigslist and think that you have done your job.

Worksource Oregon www.worksourceoregon.com is a great free resource.  You can sign up with iMatch and they will notify you when there is a job you are qualified for.

They also have many free classes and resources you can tap into.  Have a professional career counselor look at your resume and cover letter.  Hang in there – your day will come.  As one door shuts, another opens, but it sure is Hell in the hallway isn’t it?  Have others critique your resume and give you honest feedback.  The good news is that you WILL eventually find something but you need to do the work to make it happen.

Another good way to stay positive and get involved is to do volunteer work and help others in need.  When you help others it will make you feel better on the inside and will increase your confidence and self worth; plus you will likely build some lasting relationships along the way.   Mix it up a bit and have fun –get involved in the world to boost your engagement and help you stay positive. 
Lastly, consider a professional recruiter.  Anne McDonald – owner of McDonald Group is the best in town. Visit www.mcdonaldplacement.com.

Julie Leutschaft is the owner of The HUMAN Touch, HR Consulting & Career Counseling Services www.thehumantouchHR.  Send your questions to julie@thehumantouchHR.com.

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