Getting fired or downsized is devastating—emotionally and financially. But there’s something you can do to help prepare yourself and make sure a career shock doesn’t completely throw you. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Tami M., who asks, “I like copywriting, but I don’t know that I want to do it full-time. Is it still worth it to learn it?”
The way most people approach their professional lives is that they find an area they like (or can tolerate!), then spend all of their working time doing that. And that’s not really a bad thing, per se.
But what it means is that you’re in a pretty narrow category. Out of all possible careers and jobs, you’re specialized in that one. And that can be great for advancement, but it can also be a problem if you get laid off. To get a new job, you need to find one just like the old one, which is generally a challenge that may take at least a couple of months to overcome.
But how do you live in those months when you’re not working?
Most people think in terms of tapping into savings, relying on a spouse’s income, and collecting unemployment. But there’s another option that, while it needs to be planned ahead of time, can make reliance on any or all of these much less important.
A “back pocket career” is a full career skillset that you don’t utilize on a daily basis. For example, your day job might be working as an accountant, but your back pocket career is computer coding. Your day job might be a middle school math teacher, but your back pocket career is copywriting.
These back pocket careers come in handy when your day job falls through or when you need to make some extra cash.
Now, the key to making back pocket careers work is that you need to treat them with the same level of seriousness and dedication as your standard career. You need to get real training and experience in this line of work, and also practice regularly to keep yourself proficient.
And that makes sense, right? You wouldn’t expect that you could dabble at them and they’d be able to carry you through unemployment.
Back pocket careers are all about hedging your bets; making sure you’re valuable and marketable, no matter what happens with the job market. The key to avoiding a crisis (in as much as is possible) is to be prepared.
Your turn! Does anyone you know have a back pocket career? How has that worked out for them? Let us know in the comments below!