Has the recession struck your home? Have you or your spouse been laid off? Are you working twice as hard for the same paycheck? Are you staying in a job you don’t like because you’re afraid you can’t find anything better?
What if you used the recession as the opportunity of a lifetime! The opportunity to transition to a new job or career that better matches your strengths, interests, and passions.
Let’s follow Steve along his transition to a new job. When Steve first lost his job, he was lost and stressed! He had trouble sleeping and a hard time telling others about his unemployment. Steve thought it meant something was wrong with him. He knew he could not stay in this dark place of hopeless and worthlessness for long. Steve found some neutral counsel, and began to realize that he got caught in the web of organizational and economic change.
Now, Steve takes the job loss less personally. He is fired up about this opportunity to start his own business. Luckily, Steve had been saving for a rainy day, so he has some time to explore his options and build a business.
Even though Steve isn’t choosing this as the perfect time to leave his job and start his own business, he makes it work. Are you facing a similar dilemma? Where do you begin?
Anxiety and fretting can paralyze you. It can also narrow your ability to see your options. You have choices. Even when you don’t chose your current reality, you can get you back on track to finding hope and direction. To quote financial guru, Dave Ramsey, “remember job loss is not the end of the world.”
What are your options? Do you have time to explore your options, or do you need to find work quick? If you need a plan for your finances after a job loss, Dave Ramsey offers some practical money tips.
Once you have a plan for your finances, you can begin exploring your career transition more directly. Start with making a list of your strengths. Don’t hold back – each person is made up of strengths and weaknesses. What skills do you have? What are you really good at? It can be anything from listening, to computer skills, to organizing, to socializing.
If you get stuck, here are some career inventory resources to get your juices flowing:
Also, check out the career center at your local community college. Most offer free career assessments.
Next, begin pairing your strengths with your interests and passions. What topics would you never get tired of reading or discussing? What would you do to make the world a better place, if you couldn’t fail or no obstacles stood in your way? When you find a sense of purpose and meaning in your life, then you are guided by principles and goals beyond fear and survival.
To see how setting long term goals can get you back on track, let’s return to our example. Steve knows that he is good at sales, written communication, and web designing. He is interested in technology and art. By pairing his strengths with his interests, he can make a list of possible careers that incorporate both. The possibilities are endless, so he narrows down his list by keeping in mind his passions. Steve has always been passionate about seeing others reach their goals. He decides to explore helping others develop a brand, both artistic and written, for their web business.
If your career transition isn’t as neat and tidy as Steve’s career exploration, then check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook to explore the job options on your list. It is rich with information, such as projections, income, related fields, working conditions, and training. And, it is available at your local library or online.
Now, it’s your turn. I’ve heard countless stories of people who have turned difficult times into opportunities. Some have turned the recession into an opportunity to take some much needed time off, while others have transitioned to a new career. Share how you have coped with the recession. Or, how you have turned a job lay off into an opportunity.