Q. My firm has been having layoffs, and if I do get laid off, the chances of me finding another job in my field are slim. I am fifty years old and while the thought of going back to school for some new career doesn't bother me, I wonder if it would be worth it.
A. I wish you had mentioned what career you were thinking about getting retrained in because that is the key. There are some industries/occupations that are almost recession-proof and if you were going to work another 20 years, it might be well worth your going back to school. For example, I am thinking of many positions in healthcare such as nurse, certified nursing assistant, home health aide, radiology technician, and others that are only going to grow as baby boomers begin to age and need more healthcare services.
You also may be able to take many of your current skills and with some short-term retraining, may be able to find work in another field. For example, you may have good office support skills but worked on proprietary software for years. You need a Microsoft software refresher so that you can be more competitive in today’s business environment. This would be a short time commitment for a potentially big pay off.
Do your homework. Research industries and jobs in your community at www.mass.gov and look under labor market information. This will give you a very good indication of what industries and jobs will be hot in the future. Good luck!
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.