Second Acts: The Job Shifters

Changing trends in the modern workplace have become a fact of life–inescapable, sometimes disturbing, always requiring a flexible attitude from those currently employed or unemployed and trying to improve their situation. I frequently work with job seekers and career management clients who find themselves confronted by the need to determine their next steps and put a plan into action to carry out the necessary steps. That’s why I keep my eyes open for articles, blog posts and other published information that might prove helpful.

Job Shifters: A New-Old Term for Job Seekers Who Need to Make a Change

Recently I read an excellent article called “The Job Shifters”, by Laurent Belsie of The Christian Science Monitor (an international weekly newspaper), which you might find well worth reading and maybe sharing with others. The article presented the stories of six people who successfully reinvented their careers–often in very dramatic ways. Just as an example, Ryan Blair progressed from gang member/juvenile delinquent to a high-tech executive earning $100,000+…and then went on to start his own company, sell it for $25 million, and become CEO of a weight-loss and fitness direct-sales company with 2011 revenues of $231 million!

On the other end of the spectrum was a former magazine illustrator who lost all his work in a massive flood and ended up selling paintings for a few hundred dollars instead of earning thousands of dollars for magazine illustrations. At the same time, he gained quality personal time with his young daughter and found fulfillment in something he felt really passionate about. Career reinvention doesn’t always mean–or have to mean–a lot more money or even as much as you were making before.

Voluntary Job or Career Change vs. Forced Change

Of course, you know that not all job or career changes happen voluntarily. Sometimes they do happen because of factors such as a strong compulsion to do something different or a deep need to remove yourself from a toxic situation that is threatening your mental or physical well-being. Often, though, the change is forced on you by external factors over which you have little or no control. How you deal with such a situation can make a huge difference in the quality of your future.

As the article notes, what’s now being labeled the “Great Recession” resulted in 15.4 million Americans unemployed at the highest point, with 13.1 million still unemployed two years later. It goes on to state: “Out of that crucible, an increasing number of workers are trying to reinvent themselves to fit in with a fragile, fast-moving world. For some, it’s a voluntary change. For many, it isn’t. It’s a rough-and-tumble necessity. The future demands it.”

Safe Employment Choices: A Myth

These days, there’s really no such thing as a “safe” industry that will ensure you of being able to maintain a lifetime career. You need to develop a flexible attitude and approach to your career management, keep yourself current on new and emerging developments, and stay alert to possibilities that might allow you to play off of your strengths–including some you might not have had a chance to use in your current job or career field. This can be intimidating but also potentially revitalizing. Like much of life, it doesn’t come with any guarantees of safety; you more or less have to board the speeding train and hang on!

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