What You Can Learn From Katie's Bumpy Job Path

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She was once here on Today (GE), will she be gone tomorrow?

According to published reports, television evening news’ first solo female anchor, Katie Couric, may opt out of her $15 million a year contract with CBS (VIA) before it is set to end in 2011. On April 10, the New York Post (NWS) stated that Couric, 51, may leave her post as soon as January's presidential inauguration. However, she may stay in the CBS family as a contributor to "60 Minutes," according to reports.

A CBS spokeswoman called the reports "speculative" and a network statement said, “We are very proud of the 'CBS Evening News,' particularly our political coverage, and we have no plans for any changes regarding Katie or the broadcast." Couric's personal spokeswoman also issued a statement on her behalf: "I am working hard and having fun. My colleagues continue to impress me with their commitment to the newscast, and I am very proud of the show we put on every day."

Despite the spin, talks of Couric’s exit are likely to continue. This in addition to the near-constant criticism she's already endured starting in 2006, when Couric was recruited to lift "CBS Evening News" out of last place in the ratings. Almost two years later, her broadcast viewership still trails news casts by Brian Williams on NBC (GE)and Charlie Gibson on ABC (DIS).

 

No matter how Couric's contract ends, it is important to realize that not everyone excels at every job they attempt. Many times employees decide that the job they hold is not working out. Sometimes, employers feel the same way. In any job and especially when starting a new job, be aware that the position may not last as long as you first thought. For this reason, career experts suggest that you always have a plan to find a new job, as well as an emergency fund on hand, just in case your job ends before you expect it to (as Katie's might).

According to Jon Hanshus, founder of Go For The Job in Estero, Fla., employees on the brink should use common sense and remain discrete when looking for a new job. “Too often, from my perspective, folks share their job search intentions with bosses and colleagues, [which results in] negative repercussions and unintended consequences.”

Job seeking requires preparation, planning and effective networking which are all better served by connecting outside one's work. However, Hanshus adds, “it’s always easier to `job hunt’ from the position of having a job versus the [pressure] of not having one.” And any job, whether it is going well or not, does provide a financial security blanket.

At the same time, because no one can be sure when a career choice might backfire, it is important to always be prepared and have an emergency fund. “Don’t quit your job if you don’t have money in the bank!” cautions Jay Berger, a certified financial planner in Traverse City, Mich.

An emergency fund is meant to help sustain a person’s standard of living while they are without an income. Berger says that the general rule is to have at least three to six months worth of expenses saved. “If you don’t, your just going to have to suck it up and stay where you are until you accumulate enough money to have the choice of leaving your job” he says.

But, if you are in a pinch and need to get away from a work situation quickly, it may be useful to sell other assets and holdings to start up a fund. Berger says that people can liquidate any non- IRA type finances that they may have and move them into a money market account.

The experts agree, however, that one of the most risky moves a person can make is a rash career decision. “You have to realize that there will be consequences to your decision," Berger says. "It basically all comes down to self discipline.” And saving for that emergency fund, start today!

 

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