The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 22, 2013

Career Coach Q&A: As Cuts Loom, It Never Hurts to Prepare

Career Coach columnist Joyce E.A. Russell, an industrial and organizational psychologist, discussed workplace issues in a recent online forum. Excerpts:

Q: So the obvious question has to be: What does the job market look like given the latest round of sequestration discussion? While I am a contractor at a federal agency, I am seriously thinking about testing the waters right now because of the continued banter.

A: For some employers, I have heard they are really not that affected by the threat of sequestration and they say it is business as usual. For others in the government, they are hedging on hiring due to possible cuts. But many groups have already set up contingency plans for possible cuts or changes in jobs. I think it is always a good idea to have your resume ready and make sure you are marketable, so why not see what the market looks like?

Q: I am debating moving into independent consulting. I'm confident that the number of potential clients I have lined up would make me able to have work for at least 12-15 days per month. However, I'm struggling to figure out how to set my daily rate. I'm single, so I would need to get my own health insurance, but don't know how much that might cost (I'm healthy). I'm not sure what additional taxes I'd be paying when self-employed. Can you direct me to resources to help determine what "hidden" costs I will need to consider as well as how to calculate them?

A: There are lots of resources out there to help individuals start their own businesses. Looking at resources provided by the Small Business Administration or can be helpful. They actually provide step-by-step instructions for what you can do and what you need to think about. I would also suggest spending some time talking to other independent consultants in your career field to learn their views of the "dos and don'ts" and "hidden" costs, etc. You'd be surprised at how willing others are when it comes to sharing information.

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