To be perfectly blunt, the economy looks bleak. American manufacturing jobs sold to foreign corporations, a flailing stock market, and companies paring staff down to the bare minimum: none of this paints a rosy future for job seekers. Those who are pragmatic will craft alternate plans as their idealistic counterparts search desperately for employment in once-familiar and now deserted quarters.
The practical among us will begin by asking themselves what they are willing, and what they are not wiling to do, in starting over. Their questions will include:
1. Am I willing to relocate? If so,
a. How far, within the United States?
b. Is Europe or another country a viable option?
c. Am I ready to move permanently or will I accept a project-dictated position for a finite length of time?
d. How will any type of relocation impact my family?
2. If I remain Stateside, am I willing to
a. Learn a new skill or skills to make myself more marketable?
b. How will I pay for training, and what is the most viable avenue of education? Does the government provide me with tax credits in return for tuition or fees that I will incur for new training programs?
3. Is it feasible for me to open my own business?
a. Is there a genuine (verifiable) need for my services?
b. Who are my competitors and how can I capture a share of their market?
c. Am I eligible for a grant?
d. If I am eligible, where will I turn for funding (i.e., a bank, an philanthropic organization, the government?)
4. If my financial situation is truly dire, what are my options until I can secure gainful employment?
a. Do I have assets that I may sell off?
b. Should I liquidate investments that I may still have?
c. Am I legally able to rent part of my house to a tenant, and would I do so?
d. Am I willing to move in with a friend or family member for a specified, finite length of time?
e. Am I willing to move in with a friend or friends, or family members, for an indefinite period of time? Are my partners willing to pool their resources, along with mine, in order to ensure that we will all have a roof over our heads and food on the table?
5. Am I willing to work for the U.S. government?
a. Can I survive and possibly thrive within a new and restrictive environment in which job functions are extremely well defined and do not usually provide much room for creativity?
b. If I make this move, what skills do I currently possess, or can possibly enhance, to make me more attractive to Federal employers?
c. Do I know how to write a resume highlighting my current skills relevant to a governmental agency? Do I know the proper format? Will my wording entice employers to take me seriously?
d. Can I write KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities): essays required by many governmental employers?
e. If the answer to b., c., and d. is, “I’m not sure”, do I know where to turn for professional assistance in writing such documents? Will I trust my financial future to an experienced and knowledgeable professional that I have researched and can trust, as opposed to a friend or another non-professional?
Admittedly, none of these questions are comfortable. However, their answers will help to create the roadmaps that can guide job seekers through new and inevitable territory.