Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Picking a Second Career

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Last week in Real-Estate Pros Go Moonlighting, we discovered that real estate agents have been hit hard by the economic downturn. One agent turned to law enforcement, sacrificing 53% of his former pay. Others are turning to part-time consulting work to supplement their incomes, while others are opening retail shops, either on their own or in partnerships.

Patent-Leather Bootstraps

I have to say, I have a hard time sympathizing with one of the real estate agents mentioned, Jill Galloway, who said her income would drop 60% from the usual $200,000-250,000, forcing her to seek other sources of income. Imagine, having to eke by on a mere $80,000-$100,000 a year! But I do admire her can-do spirit: she opened a retail store, rent-free, because the landlord didn’t want too many vacant storefronts in his building. She sells showroom overruns and pays cost when the item sells. It’s a lost-cost, low-risk enterprise. She’s a savvy entrepreneur. (If you want to follow her route, check out our earlier post, No Job? Create Some.)

When should you consider a second career?

Although I don’t expect the economic downturn to last forever, certain sectors of the economy will bounce back more than others. Check out the 30 fastest declining occupations on Boston.com, and if your profession is listed, it might be time to think about a second career. (#6 on their list, bookbinders & bindery workers is something I did for a couple years.) It’s not all manufacturing, either: telemarketers, data entry operators, and even radio and television announcers are all seeing jobs disappear due to automation and consolidation.

Never fear, it’s not all bad news: Boston.com also provides us with the 30 fastest-growing jobs. You’ll see that most of these are health care related, with a good number of technology jobs.

Health Care or Technology?

Although health care jobs are a good bet, the training is often very specific: a physician assistant is not a nurse is not a physical therapist is not a dental hygienist. Technology, on the other hand, is more flexible: the knowledge and experience are more easily transferrable. A systems analyst may not be a database administrator or a software engineer, but making the switch may not require as much additional training and certification.

Additionally, as my wife puts it, we don’t need any more people working in the health care profession who are there because they couldn’t find any other work! Not everyone is cut out for working directly with patients on a daily basis.

I lean towards technology. Mind you, my background is in technology, so I’m biased. Picking a second career is about both what is marketable and what suits you best. If your strengths are working with people, rather than staring at a computer screen, don’t let my opinion sway you! Although I haven’t read it–shame on me, I know–the classic book on the subject is What Color Is Your Parachute?. It might be a good read if you are considering a career change.