Coping with Career Change
The current economic situation has made it apparent that many individuals are going to have to endure a career change, whether they'd planned on it or not. Preparing for a career change can be much easier with a bit of foresight, an honest assessment of one's skills and abilities and by embracing the fact that change is inevitable and not subject to influence by one's wants and desires.
The first step in preparing for a career change is trying to assess when it may be necessary. Companies that are currently laying off or letting go employees should not be considered reliable. Hoping against hope that one will avoid the pink slip or engaging in simple denial does no good. If one's job is retained, there is no problem which need be addressed. If one is prepared, however, any problem can be handled with minimal disruption in one's life.
Make an assessment of your job skills. Chances are, if you've had your job for over 5 years, you've been responsible for a great deal beyond the general scope of your work. You may have been responsible for managing the work of others, for working with budgets, for making presentations and many other responsibilities that come up in the work lives of those who have achieved some authority in their field. Write these things down and consider the experience you've gained from them.
Next, assess what you like and don't like about your current career. You may find that the pink slip wouldn't be as unwelcome as you may have first thought. A new career change is an opportunity to reshape your life in a way that's more pleasing to you. Think about the things you really want out of your job and use the experience you've gained to come up with realistic ways to achieve those things.
Remember to not get discouraged. No matter how long you've been at a job, you're capable of adapting to new requirements. Oftentimes, older employees who have been working for a couple of decades have significant advantages over their peers when changing careers. Patience, the ability to delay gratification, the curiosity about learning that develops with age and the sort of people skills that take years to develop and hone all work in one's favor. You may not be able to compete with younger individuals where energy is concerned, but focus is something which only comes with experience.
Keep ahead of the trends. If it seems like a career change is inevitable, seek training before the layoff or pink slip comes your way. If the worst should happen, you'll be set to start making adjustments immediately. If not, you'll still be in a position to be more useful to your current employer due to the new training and skills you'll have acquired. Remember that a career change can occur within a company. If your old job has been eliminated, your company may well wish to offer you something else if you have the skills.