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Other Considerations:  The Cost of Getting To Work and Dressing for Success

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The Cost of Getting To Work

When you begin to look at jobs, there is a very important consideration:  the cost of getting to work. If you are “down-grading” your job, you may not want to work in your home community.  That’s understandable. It’s embarrassing. If you’re able to, keep in mind that there are plenty of other people who are in the same boat.

Gasoline prices do not show any indication of going down in the near future.  For many, filling the tank is impossibility. If you live and work in the suburbs, the average commute to work is about 15 miles if not more. Sometimes work is 60 miles away or even greater.  We spend an average of over 100 minutes a day driving to and from work and to errands.  That’s a lot of gas.

Public transportation isn’t much cheaper.

Carpooling is an option, even if it is inconvenient. If you’re close enough, think about walking, riding a bicycle or a scooter.  Better yet, see if you can work from home a few days a week. On the down side, if you’re at home, that means you’ll have to heat or cool your  home in extremes of weather.

If your field depends heavily on deliveries or visits, be aware you’re your employer might not survive the increase in fuel charges for long. Sales people who are required to travel may find that their fuel allowances will quickly dry up.

Accepting a lower paying job that is closer to home, may actually save you money in the long run.  If you are looking for a job to supplement income, working close to home may be your only option. Otherwise, you’ll be working to pay for the gas to get you there.

Dressing for Success

Even if the economy completely collapsed today, we wouldn’t have a hard time finding clothing.  You’ll find clothes at flea markets, garage sales, resale shops, and just thrown away. The problem is that most of these are just plain ugly or made of cheap fabric that pulls, pills and gets stretched out or faded.

Your goal in preparing for a depression era job hunt is to secure a wardrobe that will withstand the whims of fashion, and that are made of natural fibers that can handle being hand laundered and line dried.  Look for clothing made of cotton, wool, linen, bamboo, silk, palm leaf, silk charmeuse, silk chiffon, wool challis, cotton challis, wood-based rayons, raffia, mohair, jute, cashmere, angora, alpaca, ramie, sisal, and hemp and learn how to care for them.

You will need classic clothing that wears well, particularly if you have an office job.  With jobs being scarce, looking polished and professional will give you an edge – and might make the difference between having a job and losing a job. The ill-kempt worker is likely to be high on the list of those to be eliminated.  If you’re looking for work, classic clothing can open doors. It speaks of confidence and competence.

Look for classic cuts in simple colors like browns, grays, black and dark blue. Semi-tailored clothing in a slightly larger size than you wear can be easily altered without lots of expense. Stay away from prints, patterns and frills which get quickly dated. You can always add a little flair with a scarf, brooch or other accessory.

Be sure you own at least one pair of top quality shoes to wear with your classic clothes. A good pair of shoes can last for years if you take good care of them and wear them only to work.  Two pairs is better. Wear cheaper shoes when you’re not at work or on the way there.  

If you don’t already own the clothing you’ll need, start to acquire it now.  If you can’t afford to purchase it new, look for end of season sales at the better shops, like Lord and Taylor, Macy’s or Nordstrom. It is possible to get top quality clothing for up to 85% off.  Of course you won’t be able to wear it in the upcoming season, but you’re planning ahead.  Don’t overlook high end charity thrift shops in better neighborhoods.  The wealthy are happy to clean out their closets for tax write off’s and you’ll be surprised at what you find.

Copyright 2008 Christine Hirschfeld Catholic Home and Garden All Rights Reserved

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