Career planning was the furthest thing in my mind when I was working until I got laid off while I was working for a local bank. Our branch office was closed and we were given a month severance. Career planning allowed me to explore career options and to really understand what I would like to do as my next career.
You hear some people say being laid off is in some ways a blessing. I suppose it is a blessing because it forces us to rethink about the way we have lived our lives, our priorities, and what we gave up to pursue our career aspirations.
It gives us a chance to do some self assessments so we can make changes in our lives if we were not happy or satisfied in our last jobs. This is now the time to start over and find that satisfying or rewarding career.
I encourage all of you to think through what you want to do next and embark on career planning to prepare yourself for your next job. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to really go after your passion and what you have always wanted or dreamed to do. Below were some of what I have done and ideas on how to go about it.
Invest time in personal assessment. Personal assessment allows you to take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, your interests, aptitudes, inclinations, and passion. Think of what are you good at. Include anything that you are good at at home, your hobbies, what you do in your community or volunteer work. By doing this, you may find a different path that could turn into a way for you to earn some money or for you to start your own business.
There are many ways to do it. When I got laid off, I signed up for a career counseling course offered as part of the local regional occupational program by one of the local colleges in my community. The time I spent taking the course allowed me to take stock of what I am good at, what and where I can apply my skills, knowledge, and experience that complemented my interest, aptitude, inclinations.
It was through this course that I ended with a career in Human Resources.
If one has the money, some go the route of working with a life coach who will help you do the self-assessment such as Briggs Myers Personality tests or DISC assessments. He or she becomes your guide and advisor as you embark on your next career.
The local unemployment office also has some tools to help you do skills assessments. Most have some sort of a one-stop career center where you can explore career options. If you go to the Department of Labor's careeronestop, you will find numerous resources to help you determine what you need and resources available in your specific area for you to get moving in the right direction.
Don't go blindly as you start your job search. Career planning involves being open to take an honest, hard look at your self, your capabilities, what you bring to the table...discovering your true self...being open to new possibilities and understanding other options or paths you can take that maybe different from your prior position. It is never too late to start planning for your career.
As hard as it is now to see this as a blessing, it is truly a blessing to have this opportunity to reinvent ourselves, pursue our life long passion and find a job that will be rewarding.
How do you reinvent, retrain yourself, and pursue your passion? Do you have an idea what you want to do or career you want to pursue? Retraining should be an option as part of your career planning. The following questions might help.
Do you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job?
Are you willing to commit your time and energy to get the necessary training or education to enable you to pursue a job in a different field?
If you decide to stay within your field of work, what skills do you lack that you need to have to progress and become more valuable with your prospective company?
Do you have the means to fund your training or education?
If you don't have the means, your local/state unemployment office is a resource to tap. For example, the California Employment Development Department. provides extensive resources for those who need retraining or new training to acquire new skills. They also provide no-fee skills assessment, and other employment and training services. There is a wealth of information provided that will help you in the right direction to whatever career you are going to pursue.
If you would like to pursue a college degree or certification, student loans are also available for you. Check out the US Department of Education or contact your local college or university for assistance. If you decide to go back to school full time and need to get a student loan, evaluate the return you expect to get from getting a college degree. Make sure you are not going pay more student loan debt than what you can pay back. If you end up paying more than what you can pay back, this will create a financial burden for you at a time when you are just starting a new career or job....can you handle this additional pressure?
For those of you who cannot pursue education or training full time, there are a lot of universities or colleges that offer classes at night or after work.
Where I live, one of the fastest growing online university, Ashford University offers those who cannot go to school full time with an opportunity to complete their education online within their own schedule. There are others like University of Phoenix that offers on-campus and online classes after working hours. Check this out to determine what courses they can offer within your limited schedule. You also have to assess if the cost of education will be worth repaying a student loan for a number of years. Research, educate yourself before you decide to take a student loan with an educational institution. Explore all your options, i.e., going to a community college vs going to a private or online universities or colleges.
As you can see, with all the options and resources available, there is really no barrier to what you can do and pursue, all you have to do is do your career planning, commit your time and energy to go after your goal.
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