Everyone has good days and bad days at work, and, given the economic turbulence of the last five years, most people are just happy to have a job. But once in awhile, circumstances can make your career truly unbearable. Luckily, retraining is an option that can get you out of the wrong profession and into the right one.
Take Kathy Proctor for example. She’s the 55-year-old mother of twin daughters who was invited to the President’s State of the Union address. Proctor was a lifelong manufacturing worker who suddenly found herself in need of new skills that would enable her to start a new career. She chose to study biotechnology at a local community college, which is what eventually brought her to the attention of the President.
Job security issues drove Proctor to seek retraining, but lack of income and lack of interest are also common reasons for a career change. Here’s how you can tell if any of these problems have reached a critical level for you, and some tips on what to do about it:
Lack of Income
We would all like to earn more, but there is a difference between not being able to afford a vacation to Hawaii and not being able to afford your electric bill. Aside from the obvious consequences of too little income – such as defaulting on your mortgage or having your utilities turned off – there are a host of other problems it can cause as well. Stress, depression and relationship difficulties can all result from chronic financial trouble.
The solution: The best way to earn more is to learn more. A higher-level degree can allow you to move into management or even executive-level positions – Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) degrees are ideal for this purpose.
One additional note: If you’re having financial difficulties, going back to school can be problematic at best. Therefore you should explore all of your financial aid options carefully – grants, scholarships and subsidized student loans can render a too-expensive degree program suddenly affordable!
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Lack of Interest
Most people have jobs that are at least tolerable, even if they don’t leave work every day feeling completely rewarded and fulfilled. But it is also possible to end up in a profession that you hate, especially if you were forced into it by financial necessity. If you wake up and dread going to work, then spend all day counting the minutes until you can leave, a career change may well make you both happier and more productive.
The solution: Creative fields tend to offer more interesting jobs, while those that help others are often the most rewarding. Therefore, programs that train you in professions such as graphic design or social work are good places to start looking for a more fulfilling career path.
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Lack of Job Security
The economic recovery has been slow, and new jobs are not being created as fast as business leaders had hoped. This has created an environment in which many people are still in danger of unemployment despite the fact that the recession has officially passed. Contract and temporary workers, who usually find that their jobs are the first to go when times get tough, are particularly vulnerable. If you live every day with the threat of a layoff hanging over your head, it’s probably time to find a career with a little more security.
The solution: A high job growth rate typically equals greater job security; in-demand positions are the last to be terminated, and if you do lose a job in a high-growth field you can usually find another very quickly. Allied health fields such as medical assisting and pharmacy are expanding at an exceptional rate, offering solid long-term job security if you earn the right degree or certificate.
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