Well, we’ve all pretty much been depressed out of our minds by the recession – the job layoffs, the decimated pensions and investments, the oilfield almost audibly creaking to a halt here in Alberta.
Not much can be said in favour of a recession, that’s for sure. But could there be a silver lining on this big black cloud hovering over us?
There could be, of course. It may come in the form of a wake-up call. When things are going well, we tend to just go with the flow, obviously, since we end up benefiting from it! It may have been easier than anything to find a well-paying job and get by with whatever education you had back in the “good old days” of – well, the last few years, basically. Maybe it wasn’t your dream job. But if it paid enough to make ends meet with some left over for good times, why worry about it?
If you find yourself either out of a job due to lay-offs, or losing pay due to lower commissions, or having hours cut back each week, or being told there’s no chance for a bonus, promotion, or raise in the foreseeable future . . . maybe this is a chance to stop the daily grind and really think about what you want out of life. That’s a luxury we don’t always have time for.
Getting the career you really want often requires training. It may require a certificate or diploma. Maybe a degree. Maybe you have a degree and want to go on with graduate work. Maybe you want an entirely different career and need an entirely different degree! Well, if the work force isn’t your friend lately, school can be.
Recessions are temporary (thankfully) – they typically only last 2 or 3 years. Pretty much the same amount of time it takes for you to go to school and get some education. While others are struggling in the job market, you can be focusing on learning and retraining yourself for a better career. And assuming the recession begins to turn around after a few years, you might be graduating with your new credentials just when the job market is starting to pick back up again. Even if it’s not – you’re that much more valuable now, with that much more of a chance to stand out among your competition.
Sure, you aren’t going to be making any money. But a recession isn’t a time that you’d be cleaning up anyway, out in the job market. And remember that your education will last forever. Highschool graduates tend to top out around $31,000/year. Postgraduates can make over $75,000/year. That income change may well be worth the few years of living off of scholarships, bursaries and loans, because your education will continue to pay off over the rest of your life.
Even if income isn’t a major motivator for you, it is good to have a chance to prepare yourself for the career you really want if your current job isn’t really where you planned to end up. Call it the pursuit of happiness.
We all have to ride out the recession, no matter how unpleasant it is. You just might have a chance to ride it out while working towards a better future for yourself and your family.