A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: email@example.com. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (07/04/03):
- Making the case for telecommuting
- Changing careers by becoming entrepreneur
- Struggling to find job in horrible job market
- Contemplating the value of professional resume service
|Q:||Jennifer writes: I want to be a stay-at-home mother — and hold down a job. This seems to be virtually impossible in today’s business world. Telecommuting is my only solution to the problem. How do I go about finding the companies offering this option?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Telecommuting also referred to as teleworking is an employment scenario that many workers — at one time or another — fantasize about. The idea of not having to face the morning and afternoon commutes of wearing your pajamas or sweats all day of totally managing your time and of spending more time with your family — all these things contribute to our view that telecommuting should — or could — be an option that would make us happier and better workers.
And people with young children or elderly parents often seek out telecommuting as you have as a way to stay an active member of the workforce while balancing family obligations.
The reality of telecommuting though is that while you do eliminate the commute to work you still need childcare or eldercare — because you cannot expect to effectively work while being constantly distracted by family issues. You also need enough room in your house or apartment where you can carve out some space that is dedicated to work.
If you are still seriously thinking about telecommuting here are a few other reality checks for you to consider:
On the positive side 28 million people teleworked in 2001 according to the International Telework Association and Council and about one-quarter (21 percent) of working Americans telework. And some companies have much more favorable attitudes and policies about teleworking than others.
You can learn more about the trends in telework — and how to get your employer to allow you to telecommute — by reading our latest article Making Your Case for Telecommuting: How to Convince the Boss.
You can also find other telework resources and links by visiting the Telecommuting and Work-at-Home Jobs section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:|| JC writes: I have recently been furloughed from the airline industry. I worked with the airlines for 14 years and now am looking for a new job. I was in the purchasing department for the last four years buying tooling for maintenance for all of our fleets. At this time I am seriously considering a career change out of the corporate world with its stress and politics and taking up dog grooming.
I would appreciate any assistance you could give me. I am 49 years old and it’s a hard decision to make at this time in my life but if I’m going to do something different now would be the perfect opportunity.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: A lot of people — especially the baby boomers — are leaving the traditional workforce and moving forward into a world of entrepreneurship — where your destiny and success depends a lot more on your efforts than the decisions of some small group of detached corporate managers. And the airline industry has experienced much more turbulence (pun intended) than many other industries.
So your next step is deciding on what you want to do with this next chapter of your life. It sounds as though you have already given it some thought and are considering dog grooming. Have you done it before? Are you considering starting your own grooming business — or working with an established business? Is the community where you live (and the surrounding communities) big enough to support your interests? Can you make enough of a living off of this venture to live comfortably — or the way you are accustomed to live?
If you’re going out on your own then there are a whole set of other questions such as do you have the entrepreneurial spirit needed to run your own business? Do you have the desire to deal with all the issues involved in running your own business?
I suggest you talk with some dog groomers to help you find the answers to some of these questions.
You should also look at some of the many resources we have on Quintessential Careers for freelancers and consultants.
|Q:||Rob writes: I’m 31 and was downsized from my last job almost a year ago and I have been unable to find work. I have used job boards job ads and networking but just find that the companies I am most interested in working for just simply are not hiring. I just don’t know what to do. I have used up most of my savings and other resources. And now I’m worried that no employer will be interested in me because I have been out of work so long. Do you have any suggestions?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I know it won’t give you much solace but you should know you are far from alone. The current job market continues to deteriorate for almost all types of job-seekers and while there is some long-term hope there are also some disturbing trends that could dramatically affect future job prospects.
Whether you are highly educated — or not whether your skills and accomplishments are in demand — or not whether you are young — or old whether you live on the West Coast — or the East Coast whether you are white — or any other color whether you are a man — or a woman whether the economy is weak — or strong’ none of these things matter — and all of them matter — in the crazy and challenging job market we face today — and for the foreseeable future. And to make matters worse people in your age group — Gen X’ers — are being squeezed at the top by baby boomers who will not retire and at the bottom by Generation Y’ers who will work much more cheaply.
How does an unemployed person who wants to work find a job in this market? With a detailed job-search strategy a clear picture of past accomplishments a focus on specific jobs and employers a superior resume a large network of contacts and a determination to achieve one or more job-search activities (talking to a contact sending out a resume going on an interview) on a daily basis. More than ever getting a job offer is only going to be accomplished by those job-seekers who know the rules of good job-hunting — and are ready to persevere to get it.
And if you are currently unemployed don’t spend all your time job-hunting; instead make sure some of your time is career-productive by getting additional training or education consulting or freelancing or volunteering. Employers do not like to see gaps on resumes so find a way to stay involved in your career field.
Read more in my article published on Quintessential Careers Trying to Make Sense of the Job Market and Outlooks for Employment.
|Q:||Tamala writes: I’m e-mailing you to find out if going to a professional resume writer is worth the time and money. Right now I really don’t have the funds but I am desperate to find a job that I will be happy doing and making at least 35-40k a year.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You need to look at your job-search as an investment in your future. You can do a haphazard job-search and maybe find another job or you can really put a lot of effort into it and find a great job and great career move.
The same holds with each tool of your job-search and your resume is an extremely important job-search tool. You need to make the decision to invest a lot of time and energy to make it the best resume for you — or — you need to hire an expert to do it for you. Either way it’s an investment of time or money; but either way the payoffs should be big.
If you have the time and inclination I suggest you read up on resume writing. You can find some good resources online and in your local library. Most job-seekers should have the ability to write a solid resume.
You have one other option besides hiring someone to write your resume. You can also get your resume critiqued by a professional resume writer — usually for a very modest fee. You can then make the changes yourself or hire the expert to do it for you.
Our sister site with Credentialed Career Master Katharine Hansen at the helm offers detailed resume critiques for only $15. Go to Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters.
You can also find quite a lot of resume-writing advice and strategies in the Resume Resources section of Quintessential Careers.