Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Creative Solutions for a Dream Career


I am a 56 year old male who has worked for 21 years at one job. I no longer enjoy what I am doing. I sell photographic supplies to the government.

I love to find solutions for my customers. I think I am a pretty good online researcher. This is one of two skills that give me pleasure. The other skill is I love to talk to my customers.

I would love to find a job that does not necessarily have to do with photography, but allows me to help people and do online research for them. When my customer calls and says that they have looked everywhere for something, this spurs me on to find them their solution.

Do you have any suggestions?

PS. One of my dreams recently was to find jobs for the unemployed.

by Ronnie Ann, Work Coach

Hi Art!

I’m rubbing my hands with glee. What a wonderful “problem”!

So you’re looking to put your research and customer service skills to good use, eh? And, unlike many people, you actually know what your dream is: To find jobs for the unemployed. What a wonderful dream!

Are you open to a creative solution?

I don’t know where you live, but if the town is large enough there are non-profit organizations that might be able to use your skills to help with their re-employment programs. Many are part of the national Workforce Development campaign. Your State division of the US Department of Labor can probably help you find some places to contact. Plus you can find local non-profits in the phone book or by asking your library.

Once you find them, your job is to talk your way into seeing people in person to discuss making your dream come true. All you need is one or two to start. Your main goal is to create a network for yourself until you get to where you want to wind up. A good way to begin is to ask for “informational” meetings, explaining what you are looking for. This makes it clear you aren’t looking for a job yet…just some suggestions. That takes the pressure off everyone - and lets you use your people skills to find as many contacts and next steps as possible.

Another thought: I recently posted something on my blog about Vocation Vacations, which, for a fee, helps people test drive their dream careers by fixing them up with 2-day stints working with someone in that field. What I’m thinking is that with your skills, maybe you can create a situation like that for yourself with a non-profit… not only to see what it feels like, but hopefully get you to that dream job you want.

I think you get the idea. With your skills and self-starter attitude – plus a little patience – you should be able to get yourself to where you want to go. Even if you have to start in a volunteer capacity, you can probably work up a paid situation as a consultant or internal employee fairly soon – especially if you keep in touch with your networking contacts. And even if there’s nothing for you right now, sometimes a job opens up 6 months from now that’s just perfect. Your goal is to make a good enough impression that your name will pop into someone’s head when it happens.

Although it’s sad that there are so many people out of work or under-employed, the good news for you is that there are now a number of Workforce Development programs out there – and they can use enthusiastic talented people like you. No reason not to pursue your dream – even if it takes a while. Along the way, you may learn of related opportunities you never considered. Plus as an added bonus…you’ll be getting to know the industry and making contacts with which you can later help your clients!

You say you’re spurred on by finding solutions? Well…you have enough information now. Your first challenge is finding a job for you. Go git ‘em, Art!

I wish you much luck! Don’t stop until you find what you’re looking for. Oh, and please let me know what you come up with for yourself. I’m betting it will be really interesting.

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