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Keeping Your Options Open in the UK Job Sector

Taking a flexible approach to your working life has enabled many people to face the challenges presented by recession, economic doom gloom and scare mongering.

Stormy situations might steer your way or pass you by; however, you will have no reason to fear the future if you have kept your options open.

Increasing numbers of people are using their spare time to develop a follow-up plan by means of education, learning additional skills or rediscovering old ones.

This isn’t pessimism, it is realism and quite clever to say the least. Don’t allow a P45 to take away more than just your current salary.

The BBC News recently reported that fears of being made redundant or a widespread downturn in certain industries are making people enroll in night classes or sign up for online courses.

Developing skills to remain employable isn’t a trend restricted to only us Brits but is interestingly enough mirrored in the US as well.

“Insecurity always causes people to rethink their view of their future. People can't count on a single employer or even a single industry anymore,” John Gnuschke, director of the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Memphis told the news provider.

“If you're lucky enough to still have a job it's still wise to begin to retrain and to broaden your skill base,” he added.

Not so safe haven
Peter (27) from London is currently working in the marketing sector which he realises isn’t safe at all.

“I have a dream to one day have my own business, so I have enrolled for a night class in Business Studies to make my dream a realisation,” he said.
“In our current global economic situation, many new opportunities arise from the challenges we face, and I plan to use this to my advantage,” Peter added.

Like Peter, Sally (35) from Yorkshire who works in media is keeping her options open.

“I do freelance work after hours for various companies - so that I have a Plan B ready, just in case. I’m even thinking of enrolling for a few language and small business courses at my local college so that I have the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful freelance writer on a full time basis,” she commented.

Less television and more introspection has lead Emma (32) to rediscover old hobbies and turn them into money makers.

Emma lives in Reading and has been working in the Tourism industry for over a decade.

“With people around us loosing their jobs and the tourism industry taking a huge hit, I had to really examine where my strengths and interests lie in order to create a suitable alternative.

“I have always loved painting, but at the time I was to lazy to set-up anything and with the kids running around it just became too much of an effort. I didn’t even consider it as an alternative until a friend of mine needed help with decorating and painting her nursery.

“It was so much fun and I received so many compliments and referrals from the mural and canvas paintings I made for her room. Now, because of this I am slowly but surely getting bookings for nurseries and even toddler rooms. I am really considering taking this on full-time and I love it!”

Peter, Sally and Emma are still young enough to dive into a new career all together.

But the situation is totally different when you are nearing the age of retirement.

Research done by the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) has shown that Britain is experiencing a “generational divide” with regards to how we deal with the recession.

The report showed that younger people are less worried about the recession than those between the ages of 51 to 55.

Dr Peter Marsh of the SIRC said: “We will see them much better prepared for the next credit crunch and able to weather it better than their older peers have this time around.”

Ted (54) from Hampshire believes that the “generational divide” makes obvious sense.

“You can’t teach this old dog new tricks,” he laughed.

“Older people cope poorly with economic problems because we do not have enough time to recover from it. My Plan B involves much greater tactics than any of my children for example.

“Where they can learn new skills and start work on business proposals, I can only sell off my assets and reinvest the money.”

Not everyone who is faced with redundancy can take comfort in finding true love in another career.

What if you are already doing what you love?

Kelly (24) is a charity worker in Surrey who has recently been warned by her boss to start looking out for something else as the entire company might have to close its doors.

“This is my dream. To help people. And if this situation is making me nervous about my future, I can not even begin to grasp how the families will feel who we are currently keeping afloat,” she said.

Facing up
On the optimistic side it does look like we are heading for recovery from the recession.

Research from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has showed a 4.8 jump in confidence, The Guardian reported.
The institute foresee an increase in the economy of 0.5pc and these findings suggest the economy is over the worst of the recession.

However according to the newspaper, ICAEW chief Michael Izza warns that there are still tough times ahead.

“While there is no doubt that the UK economy is on its way to recovery, we shouldn't underestimate the challenges ahead for businesses,” Izza said.
More recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that our economy shrank by 0.7pc for this quarter and not the 0.8pc analyst estimated.

In the UK job sector you need to be prepared for the worst. Just to be safe.

It is possible to get through the recession unharmed, but wouldn’t it be great if you could be enhanced by it?
About Author Chantel :

Chantel is a regular contributor of career advice and jobs news for leading UK Job Board

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Article Added on Monday, September 21, 2009
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