Lifelong Learning and Employment Options Galore PDF Print E-mail
Univetica Staff

With national unemployment above 9%1 and countless companies shutting doors for good, millions of newly jobless Americans face a difficult dilemma—to look for work similar to what they had before, or to pursue new types of employment?

To make matters worse, there is no end in sight for the economic downtimes, with many economists saying that we could be facing a long-term jobless era.2 Meanwhile, due to the incredible speed of technological progress, the world of business seems in a constant state of flux, and it is nearly impossible to predict which sectors will decline and which businesses will fail.

But even if you’re stuck in one of those declining sectors, your prospects don’t have to be bleak. By pursuing new learning opportunities and considering new career options, you can actually use these economic downtimes as an excuse to move to the next stage of your professional life.


Improving our expertise

If you’ve been in your field for years, then you already have a strong foundation of knowledge to build upon. One way to start expanding this knowledge is to take an active interest in what your co-workers and higher-ups do. Rather than simply focusing on your job and putting up blinders to everything else, try to get a feel for the broader systems at work. To supplement this, you can conduct outside research to learn about the origins and ideas behind your field. Not only will this make you a more productive worker in your current job, but it will also help prepare you for promotions or career shifts.

Meanwhile, if there are any secondary degree programs you can pursue to help you further your career, enroll as soon as possible. Depending on how much time you have to spare, an advanced degree or an adult-education program can take many years to complete, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can.

While you’re cultivating further expertise in your current field, it’s also a good idea to think about possible alternatives you can pursue in the event that your company shuts down or your field goes into decline. Pursue further education opportunities that broaden your qualifications rather than narrow them. If you want to be recession-proof, flexibility is the number one quality to have.


Improving our expertise

Troubled economic times present nearly as much opportunity as hardship. While the declining employment seems to signal a narrowing of possibilities, the reality is that the world continues to progress in countless ways, which means new opportunities are always arising. During these difficult times, whether you’re unemployed or just stuck in a declining industry, watch for new opportunities that you may have never considered before. It could be that your experience positions you perfectly for one of the growth industries of the future.

At the same time, a down economy or a period of unemployment is also a good time to rethink your goals. Maybe you weren’t happy with your career and always wanted to pursue something different. For example, perhaps you’ve always dreamed of starting a nonprofit, becoming a writer, or working outside. You may have to take a significant pay cut for this type of career change, but if you can afford to make sacrifices, why not pursue your dreams?

Also keep in mind that, while unemployment is a serious problem across the country, there are nevertheless many sectors in which companies are having trouble finding qualified workers. For example, the green industry and technology fields face a perpetual dearth of qualified workers, and if you think you have the skills and experience for a job in one of these sectors, this might be a perfect time for a career change.


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