Your career has been cancelled

“I would advise all of them if they find another career, take it and do not look back”.  This statement came from a Captain in a local police force.  He was referencing the layoffs that had hampered the police department in a large east coast city. 

Close to 200 officers had been laid off and according to the newspaper article, only a handful had been rehired back into their career of law enforcement.

So as I read this, my thought was what happens when your career is cancelled?  What happens when demand outstrips supply?  What happens when union rules states that seniority trumps all else in calling back workers.  What happens when the job of your dreams just disappears?

As the article continued, some of the laid off workers had become UPS workers, cashiers, pizza delivery persons.  All waiting for that call that would return them to their lifelong dream.

At one time government workers, whether federal, state and city were basically immune to layoffs.  It was probably the only career that you could enter either after college or high school and retire many years later. NYC police had a 20 and out rule.  So theoretically you could become a policeman at 20 years old and retire at 40 with a nice pension and start another career.

Sadly those days are over and in a lot of cases never to return.

So what do we do in this type situation?  Do we hold out and wait till you can’t wait any longer.

In every career there will always be horizontal extensions.  If you are a policeman, with all that training, that skill can work in the private sector.  If you are working in a large city, there are numerous private security firms, building security, corporate security positions.  The key is taking those skills that worked in government and move it laterally.  For every government position, there is a likelihood that the job exist in the corporate environment in some capacity

There has also been a tremendous amount of talk about the impending layoffs at the post office.  This was surely supposed to be a job for life but no more.  But the skill of mail handler can also be horizontally moved.  With the advent of private postal companies where people rent mail boxes, FedEx and UPS are all options for postal workers.  Not only that every large company has a mail department which in a lot of cases would rival a postal facility.

The skills from your previous careers do not have to be abandoned.  It is understood that these alternatives will not cure the unemployment dilemma.  What it should show that if you are passionate about your career choice there are alternatives.

However this could be the time of your life that you have been wanting for.  You have always had that thought in the back of your mind that someday you would follow that dream.  Well now is the time to research that option.

I would suggest that you do not waste time when looking to change your options.  Look for opportunities that would allow you to move into that direction.  That could mean volunteering your services to get a sense of what it’s like to actually do it.  Reach out to someone that could give you a bird’s eye view of the industry or profession of your choice.  The internet can give you more material than you could possibly imagine furthering your knowledge.

The moral of a cancelled career is that you must have some type plan because a lot of these positions will not be showing up in job posting any time soon.  For that reason you can’t wait. 

Everyone today whether you are a public employee or private employee has no guarantee.  I have always said that this climate today is a wakeup call for all employed people.  It was a wake-up because the alarm is letting you know that you are in charge now and you can’t wait for anyone or organization to guide it for you. 

So if your career has cancelled out, do not despair, just move to the other side or begin the transition into your new one.  It may not be that easy but you have no other choice.

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