What Work Are You Looking For?

Tips for Reframing your Perspective in a Tight Economy:

What sort of work are you looking for? This may seem clear-cut, but sometimes it’s not particularly in a tough economy. You may have recently come out of a position as a call-center manager and feel that because you were one, you will be again. Or you may have graduated from college set on becoming a business administrator. You may be currently employed as a welder, and feel you will always be one.

We often limit our options because of what we have been trained to do, what we have done in the past, or what we are currently doing. The shoe salesperson who likes selling shoes but is sick of stinky socks may not have thought about becoming a wholesaler and selling shoes to retailers. Sometimes it’s difficult to see options when we aren’t looking for them.

Have you thought about exploring related fields which you never thought of before as options? You might be pleasantly surprised at the potential opportunities out there. The key is to identify jobs which are related to the work you do.


My client was a carpenter who thought he might be ready for a change (didn’t like his boss or the market he was serving). He had no idea what this would be; and thought his only avenue for change to was to go back to school for something else. After some coaching, he found he had quite a few choices of exploration.

  1. Continue doing the same work; that is, be a carpenter for the same boss or someone else.
  2. Sell carpentry supplies.
  3. Start his own carpentry business doing contract work.
  4. Become a consultant advising clients of related products and merchandise.
  5. Be a supply person, purchasing and distributing supplies for a company.
  6. Design and manufacture specialty cabinets.
  7. Find work in a carpentry union, i.e. coordinator, liaison etc.
  8. Join a major retailer (Home Depot etc.) as a carpentry expert/department manager.

There were different mixes and matches, but that was the gist. He chose #2 and is now selling carpentry hand tools for a manufacturer. Loves it! He knows the trade, and speaks a language the customers understand. He has flexibility, new challenges and new rewards!

Take a good look at your line of work and identify the possibilities you have. It helps to think of people you’ve had contact with in your work (customers, vendors, colleagues etc.). If what they did interests you, it might be your next career. Also make sure to do your homework on that field. What’s the industry like? Are they hiring? Who are they hiring? Taking time to explore jobs related to your field may open up a whole new world!

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