When You Have to Find a New Career

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Apr 1, 2020

Apr 1, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

No one ever plans on changing careers because of work-related injuries and accidents. In today’s modern workplace there are dozens of ways an employee can be injured seriously enough to keep them from going back to the same job or career. There are physical falls and accidents that impact the body. There are also traumatic

incidents that can occur in the workplace that are so serious they affect the mental health of a worker, causing him or her to be no longer able to function in their accustomed job. No one ever plans to be forced to retire or to undergo lengthy rehabilitation. And even under the best of conditions, when a new career is needed, it’s extremely hard for a person to examine their options rationally and unemotionally. That’s why a third party, such as a worker’s compensation lawyer, can be a valuable help in putting the career pieces back together -- counseling workers on new directions to take and opportunities that can be made available to them through government and educational grants and work-study programs. And, of course, a good worker’s rights attorney will examine the possibility of bringing suit against a company for negligence or dereliction of duty, which can be of enormous financial help to their client.

Fortunately here in the United States an injured worker who can no longer perform their old job has access to vocational counseling and career reeducation as part of government-mandated rehab benefits that are part of the federal worker’s compensation package. Plus, in many states there are additional perks and options that state legislatures have made available for workers injured on the job or with job-related challenges. Something as simple as carpal tunnel syndrome, in some states, allows a worker to go back to school to learn a new trade at state expense. In some instances state government also supplies help with childcare, rent, and groceries while a parent is going back to school to become qualified and/or certified in a new field. It’s always a good idea, when thinking of changing careers for whatever reason, to get as much current information as possible on every opportunity and option offered by government, educational institutions, and even private philanthropic organizations.

A good injury attorney will make sure you know your rights and all the opportunities available to you in whatever state you live in. Here are just a few of the options that most states offer to workers who have to switch jobs/careers due to accidents and disability.

Free vocational counseling

This counseling is available in several different ways.

Both state and federal agencies offer vocational counseling to displaced workers in every county seat, and also in most urban areas that are or have been heavily industrialized. These classes are most often held in county buildings or county courthouses. In most states if you are receiving any form of government aid after being forced out of work by disability or injury, and are under the age of 65, you are required to take a set of these vocational counseling courses in order to qualify to keep getting your other government benefits, like help with rent and utilities, or EBS.

(It should be noted that due to current coronavirus conditions that prevail in the United States, classroom gatherings are no longer being held; instead, classes are conducted online -- so it’s essential that workers who are changing careers need to have access to the internet and their own computer. Some states are now subsidizing the purchase of a laptop computer for citizens who need it for their vocational training -- but it is by no means commonplace yet.)

The vocational training classes consist of a review of the current job market -- what types of careers are growing and which are stagnating or growing weaker. Workshopping a new resume. Learning how to find job leads, and how to sell yourself to a prospective employer. This usually means quite a bit of role playing, so that students learn the best way to present themselves to HR during the all-important first interview. Statistics show that for most blue collar jobs, and all white collar jobs, a minimum of three interviews will be required before the applicant is offered a position.

There are many independent courses already offered online for those who want to become an entrepreneur, starting up their own business rather than being retrained in a new vocational skill like IT or auto repair. Once again, due to the unbalanced nature of the world economy right now due to the pandemic, stable new business options are very fluid; so those looking to retool as entrepreneurs should stay on top of the economic forecasts and job forecasts that reputable news media and financial institutions issue on a regular basis.

Many churches and other NGO organizations offer training in how to start a new business. They teach the basics of finding seed money, writing a clear and concise mission statement, and how to steer clear of initial tax and regulatory problems.

It’s also a good idea to check the local library’s online services -- many libraries are now hooked up with community colleges to offer retraining for workers who must find another career venue.

Which leads us to community colleges themselves, as well as land grant state universities. These educational institutions are usually mandated to offer free vocation reeducation, usually in the form of evening classes (but as noted earlier -- this is all going online, and so the time of day is quickly becoming irrelevant.)

Those who must change jobs or careers should be sure to take a skillset survey test before committing to any new training course. These tests are extremely helpful in identifying both the strengths and weaknesses of a person who is seeking new worlds to conquer. They help focus goals on attainable and doable new careers, indicating whether or not, for instance, a person has the people skills to succeed at sales or the mathematical and logic skills necessary to work with numbers.

The bottom line is that tens of thousands of Americans change their job description each year, often for the better. America is still the land of opportunity for those willing to work hard, think fast, and seek the help of professionals like a worker’s rights attorney.