Facing unemployment and an uncertain future, many considering a change of career

Whether returning to school, the military, or putting off retirement, workers are weighing options

Thomas Perumean
March 26, 2020 - 6:45 am

“I think it’s the shock effect, we will come out of this and it won’t last forever,” says UNO Business School Professor Mark Rosa.  “But every moment that somebody’s sitting there thinking ‘I’ve never been unemployed’ and then this was a sudden stop and that jolts people.”

Rosa says many people he knows who are out of work have come to him for advice on what to do next:  “You’ve got an investment in your career, you’ve maybe gotten some education to lead you into one profession or another.  And when something happens it really shows you the other side of the business.”

“A lot of people have some time on their hands to think through what they do,” Rosa explains its times like these that get unemployed people evaluating their lives to see if they need to start a new career:

“People are going to be put on notice, they’re going to look at their careers.  Or their education or lack thereof, they’re out looking for something different to do as they feel too vulnerable.”

With over a hundred thousand workers sidelined due to layoffs caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, many are considering returning to school in search of finishing a degree or getting a new certificate or degree to start a new career. 

“Education seems to be a counter-cyclical industry.  When we fall on hard times, everyone wants to go strengthen their resume by adding a license to it,” Rosa says.

He also talks about how other industries and other groups benefit from a bad economy: “The military is one that is countercyclical.  Right now, the Army is hiring.  So if you want to return to military service there’s room for you.  You’ve got certain industries that react differently to certain economic downtowns, this is no exception.” 

Rosa says the economic fall out of the COVID-19 epidemic has erased trillions of dollars from retirees’ portfolios.  This has caused many to consider sidelining retirement to rebuild their retirement nest egg:

“Are people going back to work who recently retired—I can see that.  Or people extending their retirement years by three-to-five years, I can definitely see that.” 

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