At least once a year I hear the phrase, “follow your passion, do what you love and the money will follow.” I have thought this to be reasonable advice.
But, I am recently stuck as to what to tell the many candidates who have phoned me in the past weeks after they have been laid off. They followed their passion for engineering, CAD or surveying. Reminiscent of the 1990’s, they find themselves without a job in a strained marketplace. There are few jobs in their local markets. Now they need to move locations or leave the profession. I hear the stress in a parent’s voice as they tell me they don’t know how to tell their junior in high school that they may need to move to another state. Another candidate just got engaged and yet another has just found out he has a new baby on the way. Hearing their pleas for help, for advice, for leads….let’s just say I can’t just leave it all at the office. I think I would be sleeping better if I had become an artist!
In 1989 I started my recruiting firm. The civil and environmental engineers I knew warned me that the market was turning and that I was crazy to start an A/E/P recruiting business that year. As usual, I followed my instincts and my passion and here I am still recruiting almost 20 years later. There were some tough years in those early days. Builders closed their doors and state highways lost their funding in the early 1990s. Here we go again….deja vu?
How do I help candidates when the jobs in the locations they live are far and few between? Here is what I suggest:
You should get up each morning and treat your job search as a job. It is tempting to take a week or so to clear your mind. I have seen a week turn into a month. Allow yourself to be upset about your job loss BUT get up and focus; make a plan. Then, network, call recruiters, call past colleagues, call past employers, post your resume on a specific niche job board for your marketplace: CivilEngineeringCentral.com! Be creative. You may need to “brand” or reinvent yourself. Can you market yourself into a related field of work? You may need to take a step back to get into a new or related field. No matter who gets in the White House next week, oil and gas, energy and the environmental markets will have to be tended to. Yes, our nation’s infrastructure needs a major overhaul. The jobs have to be on their way.
As disheartening as it is to hear and, more I am sure, to experience, you must push forward in your search. Many of us made it through 20 years ago and we will make it through again. Be creative and try to think positively. Hopefully others can offer advice and suggestions for you here… please do comment.