Starting Over in the Work Force

workforce The last several years have been financially difficult for many people. The rate of unemployment is high and the economic forecast is promising, but uncertain.

Against this backdrop, many Americans have had to evaluate their situations to determine if a permanent lifestyle change is necessary -- whether it's called reinventing, re-branding, redirecting or something else entirely.

Struggling to find the right fit

Take for example, "Katelyn," a recruiting entrepreneur who until two years ago had a profitable small business. The economic downturn forced her to look at other ways to earn a living. As a result of Katelyn's experience in caring for her ailing parents, she had become interested in caring for the elderly and working in the health care field.

She decided to pursue her interest by enrolling in a course so that she could acquire her license to sell health insurance. Unfortunately, at the time, many small businesses could barely afford health care for their immediate families, let alone their employees. Katelyn quickly realized that selling health insurance was not only depressing, but not profitable either.

Katelyn returned to recruiting by joining an established firm that specialized in areas she was familiar with. By this time, technological innovations had changed the manner in which the recruiting industry conducted business. There was a shift from doing business face-to-face and through established relationships between professional recruiters and their clients, to a focus on the online sourcing of candidates.

This shift did not suit Katelyn's skill or mind set. From her point of view, personal interaction helped her connect the right person with the right job so that success would be inevitable for both parties. She felt that in her new role she had become a computer administrator, rather than a recruiter who enjoyed working with people and helping clients and candidates to find the right fit.

Again, she had to make more changes. She needed to become even more flexible, creative and technologically savvy to earn a living in recessionary times. Katelyn began a small gardening business with friends, which she found very therapeutic. The revenue generated by the business was an additional plus. She also developed a small note card business utilizing her photography skills and love of gardening.

With the help of her husband, her family, and a networking base of good friends (clients and candidates), Katelyn is now rebuilding her recruiting business. She is able to combine her passion for bringing together the right people for the right job, with innovative technological approaches to recruiting.

Marrying several interests

Another example of a person reinventing himself is "Robert," an unemployed man who is active in his community and passionate about environmental issues. Robert merged his environmental interests with his community work by leading neighborhood clean-ups and other types of environmental remediation.

His work gained the attention of several local universities and government officials at various levels. The collaboration that resulted led to an offer of employment for Robert. He worked himself into a job based on a need he found in his community.

Creating multiple revenue streams and turning a passion into a revenue-generating venture are examples of how people's creativity can be brought out in trying times. Katelyn's and Robert's stories are just two of many.

Next:Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week

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* Names have been changed in the interest of privacy.

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