Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I seem to be hearing a lot of conversations lately about person X being out of a job for an unbearably long period of time. The fact that people are losing jobs is not what surprises me, it is that so often the story describes how long a person continues to look for the same type of position they lost. For example, person X lost their job 16 months ago and is facing foreclosure on their home and can barely make ends meet. They were highly educated and responsible. So responsible, in fact, that they had prepared with the recommended cash cushion and paid their living expenses and mortgage for over a year without a job (not the typical scenario but I did hear this exact scenario a few days ago) ... Don't get me wrong, times are tough. Jobs are scarce for certain industries and very few of us know people who have not been effected by the current economic downturn.
Here is where my mind goes when I hear these stories: I've been a stay at home mom for almost 10 years, my bachelor and masters degrees are both in Violin Performance and Pedagogy (that's teaching for those of you saying "peda-what"?). Last year when my daughter started preschool, I decided that I was ready to get my noggin movin' again. I ventured into the world of social media and started a blog. BanteringBlonde was born! Just 10 months later I've not only become a social media freak, been to a ton of conferences, contributed to other sites, started my own blogtalkradio show, become a Tweetaholic, built MomActive (which will relaunch any day now as a full scale E-zine with community live stream video meeting room, forums, and a MomTV show), but on top of all of this "fun" stuff, I've launched a successful consulting business and now advise others on social media marketing strategies. And I charge for it!!! Right place, right time - when everything is new there are no experts and opportunities are abundant. I'm learning new things every day... How cool is that?
When I hear that someone has lost their job and is having a hard time finding a job, I feel for them and wish them well. When I hear that they've been out of work for six months, I start to wonder what other options they might open themselves up to. OK, when we get to 12-16 months, I'm thinking -- if little old me with a music degree can build a business for myself in an entirely unrelated business, surely, this person can open their mind to all of the opportunities there are outside of their current profession. [In fairness, I should mention that I did have two years of experience in tech marketing and sales prior to leaving the work force to become a stay at home mom... out of the workforce for almost 10 years. I was also very successful in marketing myself and building a large and active teaching studio prior to retiring my fiddle.] Maybe I'm a cold hearted bitch but I believe that we must continuously recreate ourselves to fit the opportunities that are created during times like these. It may not be on the internet and I'm sure it isn't easy - in fact, I haven't slept much this year and I'm not making a ton of cash. I'm sure there are hurdles to get over. I KNOW there are hurdles to get over, but we push through it and in the end we come out stronger and more valuable to our families, communities, and the businesses that rely on us. Why let a year go by before changing your attack plan?
If you or someone you know is out of work and the chances are slim for finding work in the same area, why not get creative? Take an inventory of your skills and then look to the industries that are thriving during this recession. The Associated Press reports that the following industry sectors will be hiring through 2020: Healthcare, medical equipment repair and maintenance companies, biotechnology and bioinformatics organizations. Keep in mind that our current government is creating demand and resources for the creation of environmentally friendly or "green" jobs/companies, and that security of our infrastructure and country as a whole is a major focus right now. Growth from all of these factors will create jobs for people with skills that transfer across industries. Individuals looking to break into a new industry might benefit from attending a conference, class or other informational session in one of these industries.
Think outside the box. (My next post for taking inventory of your skills is already percolating....) Do YOU have any tips to share? Leave your comments, I love the dialogue and if I'm completely off base you can tell me that too!