Switching Careers: Finding a path in new media

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With unemployment closing in on 10%, many Americans are taking the time -- perhaps unexpectedly -- to reassess their careers and future. For some, that has meant rethinking their choice of professions entirely since certain industries were hit hardest by the recession while others appear to be flourishing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sectors that saw the biggest losses were areas like construction, retail and the government. Sectors that show enormous potential growth include health care related professions and technology oriented jobs.

In this monthly series, those who've made the decision to start over again share their stories with WalletPop.

Amy Berryhill: Writing her own a digital future

Amy Berryhill likes to take risks. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 with a degree in advertising, she briefly took a job at a company that specialized in the little known area of search engine marketing and search engine optimization. When she saw in 2008 people getting laid off at her current workplace, Conde Nast Digital, she started plotting her exit strategy."There were several rounds of layoffs," recalls the former project manager, now 26. "Once that started happening, it forces you to reevaluate your position in the organization and your options for the future. Second, I was no longer fulfilled by my day to day tasks."

After nearly six months of planning, which included taking the Graduate Records Examinations, Berryhill enrolled in City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism this summer, at a cost of $12,000 for two years. That's right, journalism, despite headlines announcing closings and deep staff cuts at newspapers and magazines nationwide. Berryhill wanted to return to creating content, not managing it.

"I saw a big fire and ran toward it," she said with a laugh. "I am fearful and hopeful that there are new opportunities that can be had. One of the reasons I felt drawn to journalism was that a lot of people have been around for a while and are afraid they are not jumping in with both feet into the future. I am open to the possibilities that what I want to do does not exist right now. I will be working very hard and long hours in order to make a sustainable business with something I enjoy."

Dan Mizrahi: Negotiating a real estate turnaround

Dan Mizrahi wanted to be a lawyer by his junior year in college in part because it would "provide me with a platform to do other things, such as enter the real estate market." It didn't hurt that it was supposed to be recession proof. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1996 and started practicing in New York City.

After working his way up to a multi-national law firm, Mizrahi, unfortunately, joined the unemployment line in February. But in his 12 years as an attorney, he discovered he really liked the business side of commercial real estate.

After weeks of doing things he never had a chance to do when he was working -- going on vacation and visiting family overseas -- the 38-year-old is pounding the pavement, talking and meeting with his contacts in the industry for investment opportunities here and abroad. He's also on the hunt for any opportunities at a real estate company or investment group in which he could make use of his negotiating skills.

"Trying to find long-term employment in the commercial real estate sector is very difficult, due to the continued inability or unwillingness of financial institutions to lend and buyers' and sellers' inability to agree upon price," he said.

Meanwhile, he's cut his expenses by renting out his Manhattan apartment and moving back home. He's also putting his real estate know-how to use -- he's helping his mom spruce up the house in preparation for a sale when the market is doing better.
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