by Connie Felder, Deputy Director
Losing your job can be one of the most stressful, life-changing events you will face. However, like the old Chinese saying, with crisis comes opportunity. Periods of unemployment can be used as opportunities to increase one’s earnings potential, pursue a dream job, or advance a career by acquiring additional skills and credentials. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider going back to the classroom before going back to the workplace if you find yourself unemployed.
1) Improve Your Self-Esteem
Success in the classroom can result in improved self-confidence, self-esteem, and personal growth, which, in turn, can not help but facilitate success in finding and keeping a job. As adults, the benefits we get from education go far beyond skills and knowledge and include emotional and psychological growth that improves the quality of our lives overall. Education experienced as an adult learner can be more meaningful and enriching than education experienced when we are young.
2) Improve Your Marketability
Labor market statistics support the need for re-training in order to be marketable in today’s economy. For example, some of the fastest growing jobs today did not even exist ten years ago. Technology continues to change the nature of work and the workplace. One might even say that the concept of “career” is old-world. Few distinct paths to career success exist anymore. What’s more important today are the skills, abilities, and knowledge that can be transferred from one industry and workplace to another. If you have been in a job for more then 10 years, then there is a good chance that your skills may need to be updated.
3) Opportunity to Follow Your Passion
Have you thought about what it would be like to love your work SO MUCH that you would continue to do the work even if you won the lottery? If you have lost yourself in your work over the years, a career counselor or some career exploration workshops may help you uncover buried or displaced interests, abilities, and aptitudes so that you can pursue your dream job.
4) Higher Paid Jobs Require More Education
It is a fact that lower skilled manufacturing jobs are disappearing overseas. High tech jobs in manufacturing now require some formal training and education in order to run computer controlled machinery. In the future, and even now, more jobs require a college education. Generally, the higher the education, particularly in the science and math subject areas, the higher the wages.
5) You Haven’t Been Able to Find a Job
So you’ve been looking for a job for the last 2-3 months and have been meeting with career counselors, attending workshops, networking, sending out resumes and still no job offers. Maybe it’s time to take another look at your abilities and experience, add some new skill sets and take your life in a new direction.
6) Advance Your Career
So you’ve been moving up the career ladder. The closing of the satellite office in which you worked is a minor set-back. You’ve been meaning to learn the latest and greatest software program or get an industry-recognized skill credential that would take your career even further but could never find the time. Now’s the time.
7) Re-training for a New Career Can Take Less Then 3 months
You don’t have to go back to school for years to change your career. There are many vocational training programs offered by local community colleges and BOCES which can be completed in 24 weeks or less. And you can continue to receive your unemployment benefits while in school if you pursue training shortly after becoming eligible for benefits.
8) You’ve Been Stuck in Low Wage, Minimum Wage Jobs
If you’ve been employed in minimum wage jobs over the years and have had few, if any, opportunities to advance (like an on-the-job management training program if you aspire to be a manager) then you’re stuck and probably not going anywhere without further education and training. Take advantage of a period of unemployment to pursue short-term training that will get your foot in the door of a growing industry or career.
9) Demonstrate Your Initiative
Going back to school full-time is hard-work. – hard-work for your brain! Rather then cruise while receiving your unemployment check, demonstrate your work ethic and commitment to yourself and your career,. Increase your employability and value to potential employers by going back to school to further develop your professional and personal skills.
10) Funding is Available
If you are a dislocated worker who has lost a job due to downsizing, funding is available to help you pursue a degree or non-degree program that will lead to employment. For more information about these funds and how you qualify, attend one of our Training Grant Workshops or meet with one of our career advisors to explore your options!