Unhappy at work? Many Americans stay in careers that they consider ‘just bearable’ for fear of unemployment, but doing so compromises their well-being. Life is just too short to spend eight or more hours a day in misery, and work-related stress can reduce quality-of-life.
Today’s Americans can’t exactly bank on early retirement. Employment remains uncertain in the current economy, and many companies are cutting retirement benefits. Current employees will need to stay in the workforce longer than previous generations. The wrong career choice could mean decades of unhappiness and frustration.
And while the down economy might seem to limit options, it actually expands them — there has never been a better time to pursue your passions, further your education or look for employment in a new field.
Those who are unemployed may be able to take a break from the workforce, choosing to volunteer or travel as a means of self-discovery. Americans considering a career switch might want to “try out” a job or two. For example, someone considering a new career in teaching could substitute teach a few classes or become a volunteer educator at a children’s program.
Even those who continue to support themselves can find ways to set the foundation for a career change. Online courses, for example, allow full-time workers to learn on their own schedules, and without the expense or inconvenience of commuting to campus. One accredited online university, American Public University, offers 76 degree programs and 51 certificates, including programs in business, criminal justice, sports and information technology, as well as grants to reduce textbook prices.
Panteha Vaghedi is pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management at American Public University. “Accepting the responsibility of becoming a student — in addition to continuing as a business owner and full-time mother — is made easier in part because of the options APU offers.”