Rebounding After the Lay-Off

16 Feb

Assess Your Situation and Act Accordingly

Is there a chance you might get called backed to your company? Will you be able to find work in the same industry in your area or elsewhere? Are other suitable jobs available in your area? If you think that there is hope on any of these fronts, you may be better trying to stay where you are. Most people have family and friends in their area and they comprise an important support network in times of stress. They can also serve as a network of contacts that can lead you to another job. You don’t have that working for you if you move to a new area where you have to make an adjustment, not knowing anyone on top of it. But if things look grim where you are, you need to consider some other choices:

– Have the major breadwinner move and keep the family in place. This way, the rest of the family can retain some degree of normality, the children can stay in the same schools and there isn’t any culture or geographic shock caused by moving to another area, to say nothing of the hassle of moving. Perhaps driving 3-4 hours may produce some better opportunities or even commuting back and forth on weekends from greater distances. It’s obviously not ideal, but as things improve in your home area, you can keep looking for something closer. If the new more distant job turns out to be a winner, you can move in an organized manner later to something better.

– Relocate: To take advantage of more distant opportunities, go where the work is. Naturally, this may involve uprooting others and having children attend new schools, but sometimes things are so bad in an area, and so many workers are out of work, moving can help stabilize you sooner with a regular income, rather than trying to stay and hang on where you are. You never know, it may even turn out to be a lot better in many ways, particularly if you move to an area that’s not as expensive.

Try to make a positive adventure out of it. Ask yourself where you’d like to go if you could, then investigate opportunities there. My daughter and son-in-law, who are about forty, spent all their lives in Southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia. They had talked for a while about the rising rents and traffic and were thinking about moving – none of which I was aware of. One day my daughter called and said she had something to tell me. She said, "Dad, we’re going to move to Montana." That’s a long way from New Jersey, but she said they had talked about it and felt good about going. If it was going to be good for them, I was all for it. They’re out there now and are very happy with their move and living a more inexpensive lifestyle too. Is there any place you’ve thought about moving to? Maybe now is the time. Do some investigation, check out the job market, make some phone calls, make an exploratory trip and see what happens. If you are a member of a church denomination that has a church in the prospective area, check through them too to try to get the lay of the land.

Make A Smart Move and Re-Train If You Have To

Your goal should be to find a job in a field you will enjoy, with decent pay and benefits, and one that is not readily outsourceable. You don’t want to get a job, then lose it because it got exported. Any work that can be done more cheaply outside the US, or that can be digitized, should be viewed with caution. You don’t want to have to go through being unemployed again. Naturally if you need a job now, take it, but keep your eye out for something more secure, with better long term prospects.

If you are in an industry that doesn’t show much promise for the future, make sure your next move is to a field that offers more long term security. I’ve listed a number of career fields below that, at this time, show promise for the future. All of these aren’t going to be suitable for everyone. Some may be more of an option for college students. While these fields show promise on a national level, check locally to see what the demand is in your own area. There can be regional variations.

– Registered Nurse: This is not just an occupation for women. More men are going into nursing and there is likely to be a continuing need for nurses in the future. It is also a portable skill. Registered nurses can find work in just about any state. Getting into a nursing program may not be easy, but investigate area nursing schools associated with hospitals and community colleges. It might not take as long as you think either. Many nursing programs are two year programs, but a university hospital in Philadelphia just announced a program where the holder of a bachelor’s degree could quality to become a nurse through an 11 month program. Check for similar offerings in your area.

If you are a non traditional sex as an applicant, or for a position, it may work to your advantage, so think broadly. It might help. Nursing programs might want to have more male admissions. Engineering and technical programs might be seeking more females.

– Health Care Occupations – There’s going to be continuing demand for many health care occupations. See what’s in demand in your area. Check with your local hospitals and health care professionals to get ideas for what health care fields need people.

– Pharmacist: A very solid occupation in demand that pays well. To gain more insight, train as a pharmacy tech.

– Elementary and High School Teaching: Look toward areas in demand such as special education, mathematics and the sciences. Areas like English and history may be something you might enjoy more, but the competition for such jobs is fierce. Find out what school districts need. Colleges can tell you what you need to do to get certified to teach.

– Librarian: Professional librarians are not "book shelvers". That’s done by student workers, volunteers or other library employees. Librarians today are information specialists. If you have computer skills, that can also be a plus. For the longer term, it’s beneficial not to just get a Bachelor’s degree in Library Science, but an MLS (Master of Library Science) too.

– Paralegal: Paralegals are in between a legal secretary and an attorney. They can perform functions attorneys perform, such as interviewing clients and preparing documents, but can’t represent clients in court as an attorney can. Community colleges have paralegal programs that can be completed in a reasonable time. There will, in my opinion, be a continuing need for paralegals in the future. Law firms have cut down on the number of attorney hires. Some firms find it more economical to hire paralegals to perform certain functions, instead of paying an attorney. When businesses can save money, they are usually going to do it. While it is not essential to do so, attending a program with American Bar Association (ABA) approval is a plus. Ask an attorneys in your area for advice about it.

– Dental Hygienist : The hours are flexible and the pay is good. Don’t forget to brush and floss too. (They made me say it.)

– Computers and Information Technology, Computer Maintenance: Seek the guidance of college professors, and from those working in the field, to advise you which areas to enter and which areas to stay away from. Some computer work is being outsourced and you don’t want to get into those areas.

– Accounting: The long term goal would be to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

– Laser Technology and Other High Tech Occupations: Community colleges can be a good source of information. Their programs are also usually far cheaper than those of private technical schools. Don’t take on some huge loan if you don’t have to.

– Federal and State Government: Jobs can get cut here too, but government jobs often have civil service protection and if you are a veteran, you get a veteran’s preference on tests for positions. Lists of such positions are readily available through your state, local libraries and the internet. The CIA is advertising for good candidates, particularly if you are knowledgeable in languages in need, such as Arabic. The FBI traditionally has a need for attorneys and accountants.

If you can speak a foreign language, it can be a great assist in finding a job. It helps separate you from the rest of the pack. Just determine what employers would be most likely to be able to use your language skill. If you speak French or Italian for example, contact companies from those countries doing business in the US. Spanish is a big plus with many companies. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the country. Companies need to be able to communicate effectively with this growing customer base.

– Military Service: The military makes cuts too, but they are also recruiting hard.

Keep your eye on internet news on AOL, Yahoo and other websites, and in magazines, for lists of hot jobs, as they can change from time to time and from region to region.

When you’ve been laid off, it’s important to remember the company made a business decision – not a personal attack on you. Make a plan, follow it, and you’ll rebound quickly.

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