Have you recently lost your job – – and live with a chronic illness?
Recently I heard a career specialist on CNN give advice about what you can if you lose your job and you’re in an industry hit hard in this recession.
The interviewer wasn’t focusing on the chronically ill — but it doesn’t matter. “This is a good time to retrain and develop new skills. Look in industries that aren’t being hit by the recession and tend to be more recession proof.”
Look. Even if it’s a relief to no longer be at that job – – you didn’t like it or it was getting too difficult to keep doing it with your symptoms – – unemployment is not a healthy long term option (even if you could afford it!)
Surfing the internet and chatting on twitter are only good for so long. Disabilities and illness are depressing and we all need something we can DO!
Since the success rate of finding a new job is statistically slim at the moment, you’d be wise to put your energy toward developing a plan that’s based on a long term strategy.
An article in a recent Boston Globe profiled a chocolate maker who had been a piano technician. When he realized he needed a new career, he spent two weeks at the library and researched ideas. He wanted something that would be recession proof and found it. (Apparently in a bad economy people cut back on some essentials but still buy chocolate.)
Living with chronic illness typically means your options are that much more limited. So it’s going to take that much more creativity and persistence on your part.
I’ve found that it’s best to start with what you know. Look at your disabling symptoms and their impact on what you can do. Ask yourself these hard questions:
- What tasks can I no longer do?
- Could I do this in a different setting with the right accommodations?
- What do I know I can I still do?
- What could I do with the new training?
- What would it take to get that?
Here’s a warning: A client, Q, was advised to get a degree in nutrition. But Q has multiple sclerosis and couldn’t do the physical work it took to get certification after she got the Masteres. She hasn’t been able to use the knowledge and skills from her hard earned degree.
On the other hand, another client, P, who had been in computer sales (too much travel and walking and a volatile industry) took courses in medical software technology. One year ago she got a job in a hospital working with medical records which she loves.
If you need help figuring this out, there are personal assessments and ideas in my Working with Chronic Illness Workbook. And my book, Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working Girlfriend has several chapters looking at your current employment and exploring new ideas.
Next post: how I evolved my own business and what I learned along the way.
What have you done to retrain? Let’s hear your stories.