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Help! I’m about to be laid off

A letter writer is about to lose her job — but the good news is that she knows what she wants to do.

Can our elder help her find the next steps?

Dear EWC

I will be laid off my job in a few months and I am so stuck and confused. I do not know what I want to do but I do know what I wish I could do. That is why I am so confused. I have learned many things over the years and I have two degrees; a BA is the latest one. I have 20 years’ experience in customer service, I have trained/coached many people over the years but never had the title, I also have the training to be a counselor, but not the degree. I like to help people to succeed and would love to have my own counseling business or become a customer service trainer (go into companies and help/ show their employees how to be better at customer service). With this information, are you able to help me? I sure hope so.

Good-Listener replies

I’m sorry you’re being let go from your job. Without trying to sound like Pollyanna, sometimes the best things come from a crisis. You do not sound unreasonable in what you are proposing in terms of moving forward, it just takes some ingenuity and thought.

I don’t know what the laws are where you live — or what qualifies you to do counseling, so the best place to start is what requirements (academic and practical) are needed. The idea of you being a customer service trainer sounds fantastic, and, like everyone else, being the victim of spending hours on hold with some &^%$ who can’t answer my questions or has a bad attitude — you would be welcomed.

Here’s where I am suggesting you start. For counseling or being a therapist, find out the educational requirements. After that — my best advice is to find people who are doing the kind of work you want to do. It’s called an ‘informational interview’ and it can often be one of the most powerful tools available — often reaping benefits immediately or later on. People love to talk about themselves and you can get more information from the horse’s mouth than you get in a book or from career counseling. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get books on careers or try career counseling, it works for some (and less for others) but I wholeheartedly believe in talking to those who have positions similar to what you want, to get the real scoop. And speak to as many as you can… even talking to a customer service person in a big company. Ask what kinds of further education or training classes you may or may not need. What are good ways to enter the field and what are a waste of time? The thing is, if you have a good meeting with these people — aside from the good information, you have made a contact. Perhaps down the line there will be an opening somewhere and that person will remember you.

Think about the transferable skills you have — and use them on your resume (or resumes — meaning have more than one).

Fortunately, you have a little time to prepare. Don’t give up on your aspirations — they sound realistic and achievable. Good luck!

Letter #: 445717
Category: Career

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