Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day: Finding New Direction

After writing a previous post entitled Labor Day: Time to Play and Relax I realized that I failed to acknowledge that there are many Americans not able to play and relax this holiday weekend as they are experiencing stress because they are out of work and unable to find jobs with their skilled backgrounds due to our volatile economy.

This day for the many unemployed or freelancers struggling to keep a regular flow of work coming in, it's a constant struggle to stay afloat. This is a challenging place to be for anyone, not just people with children.

It's even more scary the state of our economy as the skilled and college educated too are losing their jobs and sometimes having to completely ditch their fields of expertise for jobs in other areas to generate income to pay rents or mortgages. In many of these instances, the income that is now being paid to these experienced individuals is much less than what was previously earned.

I know this from personal experience as my job, and department, a few years ago just a few months after having Sarah was streamlined and many of us lost our jobs. Fortunately, I was offered an opportunity to remain within the parent company and join the sister agency while still working on projects for my previous agency enabling me to remain within my skilled area and take on some new responsibilities. However, my income was decreased by twenty percent as I shifted to a four day work week. At the time, with a newborn at home, I was thrilled to have more time with her; however, the reduction in income certainly was felt. I became extremely more conscientious of how money was being spent.

At this same time Daniel was the victim of his company merging with another and then became a product of many senior staff being skimmed from the top. This led Daniel to proceed with a career as a freelance writer and journalist maximizing all of his personal and professional relationships to do his best to keep income coming in while continuing to further his existing skill set and expanding reach into other areas to grow his expertise. The latter was especially important and fortunately valuable. Three and a half years after he began freelancing Daniel recently land a new opportunity with one of his freelancing clients.

Due to the nature of the economy sometimes we have to make difficult and different choices and take action to find new opportunities. For Daniel, it took years after being laid off and continuing his work as a freelancer which led him to his new job. For me, I had to experience what I went through to realize that what I wanted most was to be near family in a new city and to find a new career opportunity. Thankfully and happily, I was extremely fortunate to get both of my wishes and now in a job I enjoy doing what I am skilled at and in a new city I call home near family and making new friends and establishing roots.

This economy has taught many of us that we need to be thankful for what we do have and to make the most from it. And, that sometimes we need shift our focus to different jobs or careers. Further, it's important to realize that it may take time and other experiences before finding a job or career that suits us and that we need to be patient and understanding in between.

So, on this Labor Day I want to acknowledge all of us who have been impacted by the volatile market we are in and to try to have strength to find within what matters most to us and to embrace opportunities that come our way and to consider new paths and directions that may actually get us closer to where we really want to and ought to be.

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