If you find yourself
in the job market unexpectedly, your first instinct
might be to look for exactly the same kind of work:
same work hours, same industry, same responsibilities,
same set of skills and knowledge. But this might be
a good time for a career change or a shift in perspective.
Consider these options:
* Join a competitor.
Think about moving to the same type of work with an
organization that competes with your previous employer.
Competitors are keenly interested in hiring talent that
knows the industry. But first, be sure to check whether
you have a noncompete clause.
* Court customers.
Your former customers could be great prospects. If you
have a solid relationship, they already know of your
talent and they know you understand their concerns.
* Shift to vendors.
Vendors also will see you as having credibility and
in-depth knowledge, even though you are not technically
in their industry.
* Try contracting.
If you have a highly prized technical capability, consider
becoming an independent contractor to your old company
or its competitors. As corporations outsource more and
more, this option is one of the fastest-growing career-change
possibilities. Remember the cardinal rule of contracting:
"The narrower the niche, the fatter the fee."
Narrow and deep sells; broad and shallow doesn't.
* Work at home.
Many people eliminate commute time, escape managers
and work on their own schedule by working at home. All
kinds of consulting, selling and information-based businesses
can be run from home. Keep in mind, however, that self-employment
usually requires incredibly long hours, with no health
benefits and lower pay than a comparable salaried position.
* Embrace entrepreneurship.
Starting a business, buying a small business, starting
a consulting or contracting business or buying a franchise
are all viable options. Go slowly and do your homework
before taking the plunge.
* Simplify and shift down.
Combine a career change with a simpler lifestyle. Could
you move to a less expensive house? Sell that extra
car? Many older executives and other professionals have
discovered they don't really need the income stream
they once required. Consider a career change that might
pay less but gives you exactly what you need at this
point in your life.