“Ask Brianna” is a column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I’m miserable at my job. Should I quit even though I don’t have another one lined up?
A: We both know that ideally, you’d effortlessly pirouette to your next job to avoid exhausting your savings, running up credit card debt or languishing in job-search purgatory.
But that’s not where we’re at. You’re unhappy, depleted and maybe even desperate to make a change. Another job isn’t waiting offstage, ready to hand you a bouquet once you take the final bow at your current gig.
So let’s take a breath together and make a plan. Unless you’re working in an abusive environment, keep working while you double down on the job search, supercharge savings and replace the benefits you’ll lose when you quit. Build financial reserves now, and you’ll be better prepared to leave this chapter behind.
SET A DEADLINE
Poring through job postings is tough when you feel emotionally drained or overworked. Decide on a future quit date a few months from now. That can motivate you to connect with professional contacts who may have job leads, and to spend evenings and weekends on applications.
Kim David, 25, set a deadline for six months from the date she decided to leave her former employer.
“I think I realized that I was sort of falling into a downward spiral,” she says. “The situation that my job was presenting,” including demanding hours, “was kind of taking over my life.”
She searched for jobs — unsuccessfully — and finally resigned without having a position lined up. A month later she landed her current job as a strategy director at a public relations agency in New York.
Salwa Kyobe, 30, discovered this spring that she didn’t want to pursue a career in casting in Los Angeles, where she worked at a video production agency. She gave her company four months’ notice; they had a good relationship, she says, and she wasn’t willing to pursue a promotion they’d discussed.
Giving that much notice can be a risk in the event the company decides to let you go sooner. But Kyobe’s company was supportive. She used the time to network to find her next job, which is more in line with her goal of becoming a produce buyer.
START A ‘QUIT THIS JOB’ FUND
If your workplace is toxic or your mental health is suffering, it may be in your best interest to quit sooner than four to six months from now. But in whatever time you have, set aside money to cover rent, food and bills (including any student and car loans) while you’re out of work.
To save more, stop eating meals out, cancel subscription services or take on additional part-time work. It’s also OK to halt automatic retirement contributions for a short time, says Dominique Broadway, a personal finance coach and founder of Finances Demystified in Washington, D.C. Pick them back up at your next gig.
Ideally, save at least three months’ worth of basic expenses; use an emergency fund calculator to come up with a total. But you may be unemployed for longer than that. Moving in with your parents — while it sounds like a nuclear option — can make sense. This is especially true if it helps you get out of an unhealthy job, and you can all agree on how much you should contribute to household expenses.
SAFEGUARD YOUR BENEFITS
This is particularly important for young people, whose retirement savings have a long time to grow: Your 401(k) isn’t an emergency fund. Act like that money isn’t there, Broadway says. Instead of cashing out a 401(k), roll it over to your next company’s plan or into an individual retirement account.
Make sure you’ll have health insurance during the transition, too. Most employers with 20 or more workers must offer temporary health coverage to former employees through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, known as COBRA. If that’s too expensive, consider applying for coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s special enrollment period. You can sign up within 60 days of losing job-based coverage, and if you have no income, you may qualify for Medicaid , depending on your state and family size.
NerdWallet: Emergency fund calculator
HealthCare.gov: Medicaid and CHIP coverage
ORION TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in suburban Detroit called for evacuations following a massive gas line fire.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office says the fire broke out Monday night in Orion Township, about 30 miles north of Detroit. Township Fire Chief John Pender says the blaze occurred on vacant land.
Consumers Energy spokesman Roger Morgenstern says the fire eventually burned itself out. Video posted on Facebook by police in nearby Auburn Hills showed flames shooting several dozen feet into the night sky.
Morgenstern says the blaze occurred after a gas transmission line ruptured, but the specific cause of the fire is unknown.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says the office’s phone lines, including 911, were down as a result of the fire. Bouchard says no injuries have been reported.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Justice Department is suing AT&T to stop its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, setting the stage for an epic legal battle with the telecom giant.
It could also create a new headache for President Donald Trump, whose public statements have raised suspicions that he might have interfered with the department’s decision, potentially undermining its legal case. DOJ’s antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, has said the president did not tell him what to do. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday she wasn’t aware of any specific action related to the case taken by the White House.
In a press release, Delrahim said that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would “greatly harm American consumers” by hiking television bills and hampering innovation, particularly in online television service. The DOJ said AT&T would be able to charge rival distributors such as cable companies “hundreds of millions of dollars more per year” for Time Warner’s programming — payments that would ultimately get passed down to consumers through their cable bills.
In an emailed statement Monday, AT&T general counsel David McAtee said the lawsuit is a “radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent” and that the company is confident that it will prevail in court.
AT&T runs the country’s second largest wireless network and is the biggest provider of traditional satellite and cable TV services. Time Warner owns HBO, CNN, TBS and other networks, as well as the Warner Bros. movie studio.
The government’s objections to the deal surprised many on Wall Street. AT&T and Time Warner are not direct competitors, and “vertical” mergers between such companies have typically had an easier time winning government approval than deals that combine two rivals.
The last time the U.S. government won a court victory in a vertical merger antitrust case was in 1972, when the Supreme Court said Ford’s takeover of a spark-plug business violated antitrust law.
Many had expected government approval of the deal because Obama-era antitrust officials approved a similar deal — Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal — in 2011, after imposing restrictions on Comcast’s behavior that were meant to protect consumers.
As a candidate, however, Trump vowed to block the pending AT&T-Time Warner deal because it would concentrate too much “power in the hands of too few.” As president, Trump has often blasted CNN for its coverage of him and his administration, disparaging it and its reporters as “fake news.”
At a press conference Monday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson addressed speculation over whether the government’s lawsuit was “all about CNN,” saying, “Frankly, I don’t know.” But Stephenson said AT&T would not agree to anything that would result in it losing control of CNN.
A person familiar with the matter, who could not go on the record, previously told the Associated Press that DOJ wanted the combined company to sell either Turner — the parent of CNN, TBS and other networks — or DirecTV to satisfy its antitrust concerns. A DOJ official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a pending legal case, said Monday that the government is still willing to work with AT&T on “structural relief,” or selling off assets.
AT&T has argued that buying Time Warner would let it package and deliver video more cheaply, over the internet, rather than in expensive cable bundles. It already has a DirecTV Now streaming service, which puts popular live TV networks online, and costs $35 a month and up, cheaper than traditional cable bundles.
Consumer advocates and some Democratic politicians applauded the lawsuit as a blow against media consolidation. Consumers Union, an advocacy group that opposes the deal, said there were “legitimate reasons” to block the deal to protect consumers, but called reports of political pressure “concerning.”
The consumer advocacy group Free Press likewise praised the DOJ action, but its president, Craig Aaron, objected to Trump’s “saber-rattling” against CNN and other outlets that air criticism of the administration. Aaron called on the Justice Department to demonstrate its independence by reviewing TV station owner Sinclair’s proposed takeover of rival Tribune. Sinclair is a conservative-leaning company.
Delrahim, the antitrust chief, has previously expressed a preference for requiring companies to sell off assets rather than allowing mergers to proceed with conditions on the merged company’s behavior.
Comcast has faced criticism for breaking some promises related to the conditions on its NBCU deal. For example, the FCC fined Comcast $800,000 for not doing enough to let customers know they could just get internet as a standalone service. Bloomberg TV also complained that it was exiled in Comcast’s channel lineups far from other news and business networks. The FCC agreed.
The DOJ official said Monday that the AT&T merger was more harmful to consumers than the Comcast-NBCU deal in part because DirecTV has customers across the country. Comcast only operates in certain regions.
This isn’t the first time that AT&T has faced pushback from the government over an acquisition. The Justice Department also sued to block its $39 billion bid of T-Mobile, a direct competitor, in August 2011. AT&T walked away months later.
Sadie Gurman contributed from Washington.
SHANGHAI (AP) — Gigi Hadid and Katy Perry didn’t make it but the Victoria’s Secret show in Shanghai managed to strut on Monday without them, surviving a controversy over visa issues and a model who slipped and fell during the show.
Fifty-five models walked the catwalk inside the Mercedes-Benz Arena, serenaded by Harry Styles, R&B star Miguel, Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Chinese singer Jane Zhang. Styles sang “Only Angel” and later “Kiwi.”
Chinese media reported that Hadid and Perry were denied visas.
Bella Hadid, Gigi’s sister, appeared in the second act of the show, donning blue feather wings, a black high-neck, push-up bra and topped off with hand painted leather gloves.
In a show segment titled “Goddess,” Victoria’s Secret models donned massive floor-sweeping silk wings with gold and silver sequined lingerie — and plenty of bling.
Model Lais Ribeiro was charged with the task of carrying 300 carats down the catwalk while sporting the Champagne Nights Fantasy Bra studded with 6,000 gemstones.
Designed by Mouawad, organizers said the bra valued at $2 million took nearly 350 hours to create. It features diamonds, yellow sapphires and blue topaz.
The show ended with a tribute to lingerie designs based on various ethnic and native origins — with models donning rainbow colored feathers and beaded jewelry.
Shanghai-native Ming Xi slipped and fell to her knees, saying afterward she felt “so disappointed with myself.” A nearby model helped her up and she said many of the others asked if she was OK. “That’s what Victoria’s Secret is — everyone loves each other and we have the most beautiful family in the world.”
In addition to Hadid, Xi and Ribeiro, the models included Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel, Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldridge, Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Taylor Hill and Martha Hunt.
Hadid and Perry were scheduled to take part but bowed out just days before the show.
Hadid’s no-show came a few months after Chinese internet users accused her of racist behavior. She had been seen squinting her eyes on an Instagram video.
Observers said Perry caused some controversy in China in 2015 for wearing a sunflower-adorned dress while performing in Taiwan. The flower is an emblem of the island’s anti-China movement.
It is not uncommon for entertainers to be denied visas by Chinese authorities for political reasons.
The Global Times, an official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, published a commentary on Monday titled “Victoria’s Secret models’ visa denial is of their own making.”
The story named Hadid and Perry and said celebrities who want a piece of the booming Chinese market need to respect what it said were Chinese values.
“They are lifting a stone only to drop on their own feet due to their ignorance of these issues. Payback was unavoidable. Those who are serious about developing careers in the Chinese market can draw lessons from this case and learn to abide by the rules in China,” the newspaper said.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.’s Mideast envoy warned Monday that if reconciliation talks between Palestinian rivals Fatah and Hamas fail there will most likely be “another devastating conflict.”
Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that “critical intra-Palestinian talks” are scheduled to open in Cairo on Tuesday.
He said the Oct. 12 agreement between the rivals, aimed at restoring the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s rule in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, started “a long road that could lead to reconciliation.”
But the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process warned of the consequences and likely conflict if the Hamas-Fatah agreement fails.
“Whether it would be triggered by a meltdown of law and order in Gaza, by the reckless action of extremists or by strategic choice, the result will be the same — devastation and suffering for all,” Mladenov said. “This cycle must be avoided at all costs.”
He said Palestinian leaders, Israel and the international community “have an important responsibility to advance the peace efforts.”
The rival factions must also first solve the humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million residents and return the territory to full civilian and security control by the Palestinian Authority, Mladenov told the council by video conference from Jerusalem.
Tuesday’s talks are expected to focus on the Palestinian Authority’s expansion of its rule in Gaza and broader national issues.
In 2007, Hamas wrested control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority after winning legislative elections a year earlier. It has wielded absolute power in Gaza since, driving humanitarian conditions to near-total collapse.
Mladenov called the Palestinian Authority’s control over Gaza border crossings since Nov. 1 “a landmark step.” And for the first time in more than a decade, he said the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened on Nov. 18 under the authority’s control.
The transfer of responsibility at Gaza-based public institutions is also “slowly proceeding,” Mladenov said, noting that several ministers and technical teams have traveled from the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank to Gaza to begin restoring government control.
Mladenov said the “not-so-good news” is that Gaza residents “have not seen any improvements to their daily lives.”
Power outages last up to 20 hours a day, clean water is limited and sewage keeps flowing into the Mediterranean Sea “at catastrophic levels,” he said.
Mladenov urged donors to fund the $10.8 million that is still needed to reach the U.N.’s $25 million humanitarian appeal for Gaza.
On broader Israeli-Palestinian issues, Mladenov welcomed the Nov. 8 announcement that security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians was being restored.
He expressed concern at the implications of an announcement by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump late Friday that the Palestinian Liberation Organization cannot operate a Washington office if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians, which U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined the Palestinians tried to do in September.
The Palestinians threatened Saturday to suspend all communication with the U.S. if Trump follows through and closes the PLO office.
That could undermine Trump’s bid for Mideast peace — a mission he has handed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Mladenov said “only through constructive dialogue can we hope to advance peace and I call on all parties to remain engaged.”
“I believe and hope that a genuine change in Gaza, including full security control by the Palestinian Authority, would contribute to restoring confidence in the feasibility of a comprehensive peace agreement,” he said. “All Palestinian factions must seize this opportunity to open a new page for their people.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon told reporters Israel respects the Trump administration’s decisions but said: “We believe in negotiations with the Palestinians. We don’t believe in unilateral actions.”
ATLANTA (AP) — One of the nation’s largest domed stadiums collapsed Monday into a pile of jagged concrete and a vast cloud of dust in a scheduled implosion in downtown Atlanta.
Nearly 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of explosives were used to blast the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to smithereens at 7:30 a.m. Onlookers gathered at skyscrapers’ windows, at a restaurant atop the city’s tallest hotel, in parking lots and on nearby streets to watch the destruction of the landmark stadium.
The dome opened in 1992, and it was flattened in just about 15 seconds. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which includes the 71,250-seat dome, had said it would take 12 seconds for the explosives to go off plus another 3 seconds for sections of grandstands to hit the ground.
The explosives went off in a spiral around the stadium as it collapsed on itself. A vast debris cloud hovered over the site before slowly drifting across downtown.
The dome has been replaced by the $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium next door.
A 5-story tall industrial strength curtain between the two stadiums had been erected to protect the new venue from damage, officials said. Only 83 feet (25 meters) — less than 30 yards — separated the two venues. The Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta’s main convention center, is also just feet away.
Protecting both of those structures was “one of the unique challenges” of Monday’s blast, said Morgan Smith-Williams, a spokeswoman for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which includes the dome as well as the new stadium.
“There was no damage to Mercedes-Benz Stadium or the Georgia World Congress Center,” she said Monday morning, after a post-blast briefing from the Detroit-based Adamo Group that’s demolishing the dome.
The new stadium is home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United.
In addition to the retractable roof that opens like a camera lens, Mercedes-Benz Stadium boasts a 1,100-foot (335-meter) “halo board” video display and a giant steel sculpture of a falcon with its 70-foot (21-meter) wingspan at one of the main entrances.
Several streets and parts of Atlanta’s transit system were closed to accommodate the blast and spectators.
The idea for the Georgia Dome dated to the mid-1980s, when civic leaders recommended a domed football stadium adjoining the city’s largest convention center, the Georgia World Congress Center. It cost $214 million.
The dome was the site of high school football state championships, Peach Bowls, SEC championship games, two Super Bowls, 1996 Olympic basketball, three Final Four NCAA basketball tournaments, concerts, pro wrestling, and other events.
It also hosted gymnastics during the 1996 games, where Kerri Strug famously vaulted with two torn ligaments in her ankle to help the U.S. beat Russia for the gold medal in team gymnastics. Despite the injury, she stuck the landing, then collapsed and was carried off the mat by her coach Bela Karolyi.