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VOL. 129 | NO. 120 | Friday, June 20, 2014

Angela Copeland

Outlasting Outdated Industries

By Angela Copeland

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One result of technological advances is a change in the way we do business. Sometimes this change results in new jobs, but often, it can also result in job loss.

Have you ever had the sense your job might be going away soon? Maybe you’ve noticed your industry is declining and being replaced by another. When this happens, you should pay attention.

I once met someone who had been laid off from their job multiple times. At each company, they would do a great job. But, eventually, their department would be eliminated. The person would see it coming every time. Unfortunately, rather than act, they would patiently wait for the axe to drop. This took away their power and left them feeling helpless.

This is a trend that’s impacting many industries, especially marketing and media. You can see it in the way music is delivered. Radio stations are struggling to stay afloat as labels and artists deliver songs directly to consumers through the Internet. Similarly, traditional marketing is changing. Companies are no longer investing the same amount in television ads and Yellow Pages books. They’re spending ad budgets on newer technologies like email.

If you notice your own expertise is no longer in high demand, start to formulate a plan for what’s next. First, identify your transferable skills. Make a list of what you’re doing in your current role that could apply to other roles. Examples could be leadership, project management, communication and organization.

At work, look for opportunities to get involved in a project that’s different than what you do today. If you’re in traditional marketing, volunteer to help out with digital marketing efforts in your department.

Another great place to look is in the community. Many nonprofit organizations will allow you to help out, even if you don’t have a lot of experience. With small budgets and big goals, nonprofits are often happy for any assistance. This is an inexpensive way to build on your skills outside of work.

Last, seek out courses you can take to expand your skills. Employers will often offer courses, either in the classroom setting or online, to help keep their employees up to date. If your employer doesn’t offer classes, or if you’re not eligible to participate, keep looking. Find classes outside of work you can take at a local college or online. The more you can expand your skills now, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you don’t sit back and watch yourself become obsolete. It can be nice when a company will help to keep you up to date, but in reality, it’s nobody’s responsibility but your own. If you observe a trend that has the potential to put you out of work, you must take ownership to ensure you protect yourself and your family. In addition to keeping your skills up to date, you may find yourself in a new career you truly enjoy.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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