Good Perspective for Bad Times

Benefits of Using a Career Coach in a Bad Economy

By Ford R. Myers
President, Career Potential, LLC

These are tough times to be sure. Just as a new President is about to be elected, the U.S. is experiencing the worst economy since the Great Depression. The stock market recently had the largest one-day drop in history. The shockwaves of the “credit crunch” are reverberating across the country and around the globe. Governments are being forced to bail-out entire industries and invest directly into financial institutions to keep them afloat. Millions of U.S. citizens can’t pay their mortgages, or are actually losing their homes. Parents can’t pay their children’s college tuition. Fortunes are being lost on Wall Street and the national debt is spiraling out of control. The job market is extremely weak, with unemployment claims and jobless rates higher than they’ve been since 2001. More than 750,000 jobs have been lost, and this number continues to rise with more layoffs and downsizings.

Previous economic downturns affected specific industries, such as technology, manufacturing or construction. But according to Business Week, 10/9/08, “With lending trimmed, and companies and consumers tightening their belts, jobs will be cut across broad swaths of the economy, from the tech sector to investment banking, and from manufacturing to soft drinks.” Worst of all, it seems that no one’s hiring!

The simple fact is that no one knows what’s going to happen to their jobs and careers. Everyone is concerned – even those who still have jobs. Some are terrified – especially those who have been out of work for a long while.

These reactions are understandable, and to be expected. If you’re feeling scared, depressed, lost, disoriented, anxious, helpless – you’re certainly not alone. You might even feel angry or victimized. Perhaps you’re saying things to yourself such as, “This shouldn’t be happening to me! I got a good education. I worked hard. I always did the right thing, and I don’t deserve this! I never thought I’d be in this situation. Maybe this is what OTHER people go through, but not ME!” Sound familiar? This is what I’ve been hearing from many of my career coaching clients in recent months.

In times like these, my clients need comfort and reassurance. My guess is that you do too. So, let me tell you the same things I tell my clients. If your job has been impacted by the current downturn, it’s OK to have all the feelings listed above, and any other emotions you might be experiencing. There’s nothing wrong with you, and you didn’t do anything to bring this fate upon yourself. You’re still a “good person,” and you still have all the qualities and credentials you had before. Although it may be difficult to believe right now, this tough employment situation WILL come to an end, and your career will get back on track eventually.

The truth is that, even in this climate, you have more control over your career circumstances than you might think. There are specific strategies and tactics you can follow that will bring you stronger results in a bad job market. How do I know this? Because I’ve been working as a Career Coach for many years, through several economic downturns. I’ve taught hundreds of people these powerful strategies, so they could find better jobs, advance their careers, and earn higher compensation. Even now, our clients continue to land great jobs every week!

So here’s a question for you. Given how difficult things are now, how do YOU want to react and what do you want to do to improve YOUR career situation? I believe that you have a choice, and that the choice you make will determine how you fare in this market crisis. Some people will panic and “sit on the sidelines” – waiting for the job market to change. Others will remain in a state of denial, acting as though world events don’t affect them. Still others will assess the situation for what it is, and then do whatever it takes to rise above external circumstances to create success!

What’s needed to move your career forward is ACTION, and you don’t have to take on the challenge alone! All the guidance, tools and resources you need are available to you. When money is tight, the natural inclination is NOT to invest in getting help with your career. I’ve heard so many people say, “I’m just going to wait it out, and see what happens with my career.” Or, “I’ll handle my job search alone, and if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll get career help in 6 months or so.”

Frankly, these are NOT smart decisions. In this bleak job market, you need all the help you can get! The time to reach out for career support is NOW. You can contact a non-profit job center, hire a career coach, participate in job search support groups, take advantage of local government employment programs, register for re-training in a new field, and so on. It’s NEVER a mistake to invest in your own career, because the investment always pays-off in multiples.

To get back on top, it will take time, energy, discipline – and career help. Despite the pressures you may be feeling, you’ll need to stay focused on your career goals. You’ll want to keep thinking strategically, being “proactive” and not “reactive.”

If you’re willing to adopt a new attitude, shift your assumptions, step outside your comfort zone, try new behaviors, and employ new tools – you’ll be able to get the job you want, even when good jobs seem scarce. While others remain idle, convinced that there are no jobs to be had, you’ll be out there “making it happen.” Instead of passively “waiting things out,” you’ll be taking advantage of vital career resources and support. Rather than feeling helpless about your career, you’ll have a sense of empowerment and control. And you’ll land the job you really want. What a relief!

About the Author:
Ford R. Myers is an award-winning career coach and President of Career Potential, LLC. He is author of the best-seller, Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Ford’s firm helps clients take charge of their careers, create the work they love, and earn what they deserve! He has held senior consulting positions at three of the nation’s largest career service firms. Ford’s articles and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, television and radio networks. He has also conducted presentations at many companies, associations and universities. Learn more at or contact Ford directly at 1-800-972-6588.

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