Pink slips can lead to rosy forecast

Experts: Time-clock timeout can help perk up a career

When Marcy Morrison began writing her career "how-to" last year, she never anticipated that its release would coincide with record high unemployment numbers.

The La-Jolla based author, career strategist and founder of Careers With Wings has been working with outsourced employees, ranging from production workers to those in biotech, and she said many people are overwhelmed with anxiety, fear and anger.

"I kind of feel like I was a nurse on the battlefield for a while," Morrison said.

The career first aid Morrison has been dispensing parallels the content of "Finding Your Passion: The Easy Guide to Your Dream Career" (Morgan James Publishing, April 2009), an interactive book designed to help people discover what they love to do and develop a plan to make it happen.

Despite the initial shock that accompanies the sudden loss of a job, Morrison said many of the people she encounters are seeing the potential in such an experience.

"What I've heard is people saying they weren't happy in their job, and this forced them to make a change," she said. "I see a lot of people almost taking a sabbatical."

For many, being laid off gives them extra down time - time to spend with the children, time to exercise or time to volunteer.

It also provides an opportunity to explore career options.

Like other career coaches, Morrison said there is more to a job search than just polishing up a resume, especially if the person wants to take his or her career to the next level or find genuine satisfaction.

"I tell people that they really need to believe in themselves and trust their gut," Morrison said.

Justin Gittelman, a business growth expert, founder and chief executive officer of The Gittelman Group of La Jolla, agrees: "You have to figure out what you want. What does it look like? What does it feel like?"

Unlike many, Gittelman sees unlimited potential in the current business atmosphere.

"Now is the time to be creative, innovative and adaptive," he said. "We have to learn how to create new systems in our businesses and in our lives. The structure's changing in front of our eyes. It's time to redesign the life you've always wanted to achieve. Now is the time to go for it."

Gittelman, who provides one-on-one consulting services as well as workshops and programs, said people need to consider not only their financial goals when assessing career options, but also health, personal relationships and lifestyle.

That echoes Morrison's approach to finding one's dream job: Step one is identifying interests, passions and strengths. From there, it's all about exploring options and putting together an action plan.

Surprisingly, it is the actual finding of a job that can be most difficult for the unemployed and downsized.

Pattie Vargas, co-founder of NextWork, a career transition services organization, said the process has changed dramatically and it can take weeks, even months, for people to realize it.

"Probably the biggest thing is that whole concept of everything being online," she said.

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