Call In: Are You Changing Fields?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, about 70% of unemployed adults are thinking about changing fields. We want to hear from you.

If you're unemployed, are you thinking of changing your line of work? What did you do and what are you thinking of doing in the future? Are you considering retraining for a job in another field? Give us a call or comment below!

Comments [34]

Alberta M from Manhattan

I have been laid off three times. Prior to the the third time I was accepted into a Encore training program at a local Community College and I am now a certified Community Health Worker employed. I felt I needed additional training and now currently completing a Medical Billing & Coding Specialist course at a local college adult & training program, after which I will take the test to become certified. I do want to greatly improve my chances of more job opportunities with better pay. My advice to all research your local colleges including community college for many different careers.

Apr. 18 2012 10:08 AM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

I have been unemployed for a long time. Besides being an author, blogger and writer, I am a language teacher, medical interpreter and translator. None of the skills I have acquired over the years in these fields is helping me get a job—or a business of my own. Now I am at the point where I must do something because my cat and I have to have a life that we can call our own. I don’t know what to do and would appreciate suggestions. A foreclosure in GA over 4 years ago is still haunting me and I am feeling depressed and anxious about my future. Eugenia Renskoff

Dec. 15 2009 02:12 PM
Sari from Montclair, New Jersey

I was a technical writer for over 20 years, having "fallen into" this career while living in Silicon Valley, CA. Back on the East Coast for about 10 years, I lost my last tech writing job over a year ago. I am now contemplating going for ESL teaching certification, which is not a far cry from my BA in Romance Languages, although at the time I graduated I didn't want to teach.

My concern is beginning this new adventure at the age of 61, albeit a young 61. It will take me about a full year or so to complete the requirements, but I can imagine being hired as an older person with this certification faster than being hired in the technical field, overrun with workers half my age.

Hindsight advice to younger job seekers: Pick a career in which you can see yourself successfully finding a job at, let's say, my age.

Dec. 15 2009 12:25 PM
sean from nj

ps,ps send the illegals back so I CAN WORK

Dec. 15 2009 11:27 AM

This woman from "Business week" is clearly illiterate. The problem, dear lady "journalist," isn't with the lack of business education, but with the lack of general education, particularly, history.
I have no doubt, that you yourself will benefit from basic education. Among other things you should familiarize yourself with such basic concepts as "unfettered capitalism" before attacking innocent people with your "help."

Dec. 15 2009 11:11 AM
jen from cobble hill

Like Antonio, I am attempting a somewhat lateral change: after being laid off form my Art Director position, I've decided to become a full-time illustrator. I'm a decade older than the average illustrator starting out and it's been daunting to contend with them, but my determination exceeds my frustration. Getting laid off was a terrible experience but a necessary wake-up call; I'm so thankful for the opportunity to redesign my career and work for myself.

Dec. 15 2009 10:52 AM
Kelly from Montclair

My husband was laid off last year - he was a Director of Research and Development at a small tecnology company in NJ. He is now working in the solar industry - that saving grace Green Industry. Ha! Most of the green energy jobs in Jersey are minimum wage or commission only. No benefits because they are either sales or construction - unless you are an engineer with at least 5 years of in-the-field experience. The competition is stiff. Good luck!

Dec. 15 2009 10:48 AM
Nick from Hoboken NJ

I was laid off in January of 09 working in marketing research and have spent the last year looking to get back into my field. There was no response to my resume as if I wasn't sending it out at all. This was very disheartening to say the least.

I have now been forced into being an entrepreneur looking, of course, into the green field. Especially into getting my LEED cert, retrofitting buildings, and doing energy audits. I have also been working on starting a website dedicated to the green field.

I never wanted to start my own company but with no improvement in my field of choice it has become time.

Dec. 15 2009 10:48 AM
mozo from nyc

I was a residential real estate appraiser in the Tri-State area. The work dried up for me a couple of years ago. I went back to restaurants as a bartender and manager in CT, was let go of three jobs due to lack of business. I am currently in FL helping out some friends in a business endeavour. No salary, only covering my expenses. This business is slowly catching on but I am afraid for so many of my friends back home (many of whom are or were journalists).

Hang in there and good luck.

Dec. 15 2009 10:46 AM
Jay from Norwalk, CT

This happened in the early 90's. When I was in school studying Architecture, many people who graduated ahead of me left the field because they could not find jobs. There is still a shortage of people with 5- 10 years more experience than I have.

Dec. 15 2009 10:46 AM

We would DEFINITELY retrofit our gas guzzling Subaru outback wagon to get off fossil fuel! It's the car's one fault.

ADVICE to green aspirer: One of the great things about this country is that there is a THICK layer of consumers who will ALWAYS be rich (we are not in that layer, sadly, but do professionally focus on it as our primary customer -- regardless of what we are selling or which industry we are working/ investing in). Even at this moment and in a decade, America is a rich country, as anybody from a poor one recognizes quite acutely.

CONTEXT Imagine one of the world's billions of peasants listening to the last conversation, showcasing the lament of parents contemplating their loss of a fundamental student right: free train passes.

Dec. 15 2009 10:44 AM
KC from Manhattan

Please let the earlier caller, Lauren, know that a national financial literacy curriculum was created 4 years by the Adult Literacy Media Alliance, a division of Education Development Center. They were commissioned to create the curriculum by the U.S. Trustee Program around the time when the ne Bankruptcy Law went into effect .

Dec. 15 2009 10:44 AM
GrrlScientist from

i am an unemployed college professor and research scientist (with PhD and postdoc training) who has changed fields to part-time pet sitting and freelance science writing. neither of those "fields" pays well, so i get to rely on food stamps and homeless shelters to stay fed. my lack of income has destroyed my credit rating so i cannot find a job; i have been sued multiple times due to my inability to pay medical bills. the extreme stress of my inability to pay my medical bills led me to not seek medical treatment after i fractured my shoulder and elbow one year ago, so my arm is not fully functional now and i live in constant pain. being unemployed has caused me endless grief, humiliation and anxiety. i cannot sleep, i worry constantly, and the stress makes me ill. i don't have family to rely on, and my friends have disappeared, so i had to deal with this alone.

unfortunately, this most recent rent increase on my rent-stabilized apartment was too much for me. i had to leave NYC or become homeless. thanks to generous friends in europe, i relocated three weeks ago to Germany and already, i am being approached by potential employers. pathetic to realize that my training, skills and experience are deemed worthless in the USA, and highly desirable in Germany, where i do not (yet!) know the language!

Dec. 15 2009 10:44 AM
Merryl from Long Island

I lost my job at a NYC based financial and accounting recruiting agency last year after Lehman brothers went down. Just about all of our clients stopped hiring and there was just no work left. I am now enrolled in Graduate school to become a high school math teacher. I blame the banks almost 100% for this crisis.

Dec. 15 2009 10:42 AM
lizzie from manhattan

i'm an under-employed journalist. i'm considering a job in policy/advocacy, at a thinktank or nonprofit. There's plenty of organizations out there that do good work i can believe in, and i have valuable skills. but it will be so weird to be advocating for a particular position, doing research with an agenda. I'm so sad to be leaving journalism. i love journalism and i was a damn good reporter.

Dec. 15 2009 10:42 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

I was a New York City Teaching Fellow who left teaching in 2006 for law school. 3 years and $150K later I'm unemployed and seemingly unemployable. This despite being a U.S. Army veteran, Ivy undergraduate, and in the top 20% of my class at BLS. I honestly have no idea who's to blame, whether that is even important, or what I'm going to do, but one thing seems clear to me--more, higher education is NOT the answer. Don't buy into the fraud!

Dec. 15 2009 10:41 AM
Emily from Manhattan

I have a History degree and have been working in PR since I graduated. I hate it. Now I'm looking at going back to do a post-baccalaureate premed program and then on to either a Physician Assistant or MD program. I realized that I'd initially written myself out of those programs because I'm "not good at science", but it's actually (I think? I hope?) what I really want to do.

Changing fields feels like an enormous and crazy risk, especially since I won't be able to work while I do the premed program...but health professions are clearly on the up, so I'm really hopeful that my giant leap into nothingness won't end with a nasty crunch.

Dec. 15 2009 10:40 AM
Matt from UWS

I got laid off from a non-profit org this past January. I have a professional history of corporate communications, training, and teaching. I haven't had any luck finding work.

In the meantime, I've been taking classes at Pratt Institute's School of Library & Information Science. I hope to earn a M.S. and find a job in an academic or business library. The world is drowning in Information, which makes sections of this field ideal. (The sector of physical libraries is still adapting [some say collapsing] to the new online world so this is far from a sure bet).

But this route requires about $30K in school debt. It's a huge wager and comes with a lot of sleepless nights.

Dec. 15 2009 10:39 AM
Jennifer from Manhattan

I've been mostly unemployed for almost two years now, though I have worked sporadically at times. The last time I had a good run of work the Department of Labor required that I refile for unemployment benefits rather than continue on the extension. The problem is the work that qualified me to refile was much less profitable that the work I was doing previously and my benefits were re-figured to a substantially lower amount. I would definitely not refuse work, for mental and financial reasons, but In the long term I would have been better off not doing that work and NOT having my benefits updated. I haven't heard anyone discuss this issue before but I imagine others have experienced this. I'd love to hear if anyone else has experienced this or if anyone has ideas about how to deal with it.

Dec. 15 2009 10:38 AM
Mo from Ohio

I graduated with a B.A. in psychology in 2008 and ended up working in a restaurant for a year because I could not find work in that field (or any other field for that matter). I ended up going into a paralegal program and finding a job as a legal assistant, but I hate it and the pay is very low (I make the same amount now that I did while working at the restaurant). Now I'm considering going to medical school but I am reluctant to take on more student loan debt.

Dec. 15 2009 10:38 AM
Dan Kinch from United States

I lost my IT job last year--the company I was supporting was extremely vulnerable to downturns in money lending and lost half its staff. If they recover, they will continue to move as much of the support function to Mumbai as they can. The same is true of many other companies--as long as overseas workers can be had for a third of the cost of local people, the trend continues.

I'm exploring certification for physical therapy/personal training. There will be more people needing rehabilitation in coming years as the population ages, and PT employment can't be offshored.

Dec. 15 2009 10:37 AM
thetruth!! from BKNY

Good Luck to all - unemployment is NOT a fun predicament to be in.

Dec. 15 2009 10:35 AM
Jack from Brooklyn

I blame Bill Clinton and the deregulation of the banking industry

Dec. 15 2009 10:35 AM
thetruth!! from BKNY

Nice fishing Brian....let's see how many you can get to Blame the current PRESIDENT.

Dec. 15 2009 10:34 AM
Jeff from Hoboken

I am a former musical theater performer. I graduated from law school last year, and my actor friends argue that law is the perfect "fall back" career for an actor. I can't find a legal job, I've started auditioning.

Dec. 15 2009 10:33 AM
Scott from Brooklyn

I got a Masters degree in elementry ed. and have found out that public schools don't really want to hire men to teach at that age( this is a real scandal by the way and you should do a show about it)I am seriously thinking of going back and getting an additional degree teaching middle and pper school where men are more easily accepted. I also have given up on public ed. and will concentrate on independent schools who are also more appreciative of men teachers.

Dec. 15 2009 10:33 AM
Jon from NYC

I've been an unemployed audio & video editor for over a year. I used to moonlight as a programmer. Communications and computing were supposed to be growth careers.

Now, because of the near-dead economy, I've been forced into job hunting in the menial manual labor market. So much for going to school and getting my masters in communications.

I'm pinning my hopes on moonlighting as an author in order to make enough money to leave the States and go to nations where the communications industries are still growing and where the costs of living are far reduced.

Dec. 15 2009 10:32 AM
Benny from Ridgweood

I was unemployed from December 09 to July 09 and have been working but under-employed for the last six months. My Obama-discounted COBRA is about to run out. Argh. I've decided to go back to school and study interior design. I'm not sure it makes much sense given the economy but I'm tired of getting laid-off from jobs I don't really like.

Obama's COBRA discount is amazing and he should be commended for that.

Dec. 15 2009 10:30 AM
Brian from Astoria

I had a career in finance for about 7 years until I was laid off about a year ago. Since then I've enrolled in a Dietetics program to become a Registered Dietitian. I was miserable in finance, getting laid off was the best thing that happened to me!

Dec. 15 2009 10:29 AM
Jay from Sunnyside

I work(ed) in corporate communications, and would love to seek re-training in sustainable energy marketing or something similar. The sad part is that I have a college degree, and am therefore not eligible for any financial assistance beyond loans. Am I missing something?

Dec. 15 2009 10:28 AM
sean from nj


Dec. 15 2009 10:26 AM
sean from nj

To all of you black pres. obama lackies, who when you voted i asked what would change by voting for the same thing you had for 8 years you told me he would be different.well,well ,well im still a black man unemployed,im still getting pulled over by the local police,we are still in 2 wars,and he gave the banks trillion of dollars,and by the way IM STILL UNEMPLOYED AS I HAVE BEEN FOR THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF.IDIOTS

Dec. 15 2009 10:21 AM
Aissa from NJ

Thinking of going into accounting--any advice? I'm especially interested in auditing and forensic accounting.

Dec. 15 2009 10:14 AM
antonio from park slope

I am going from a print graphic designer to a web designer. One would think its not a stretch or a dramatic change but it is. Ideally you MUST know html, xhtml, action scripting and host of other programming languages. The hard part is someone giving you a shot without the relevant experience!
Good luck to all!

Dec. 15 2009 10:07 AM

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