When faced with that imminent pink slip I would think it would be hard to see any upside to the situation, but I read an article on MSN.com a few days ago that made lemonade out of losing a job. The article was primarily pointing out the famous businesses (like Microsoft) that had been started during similar past recessions, and pointing out that a few of those very founders had been laid-off workers thanks to their recessions. Now, I'm not advocating that everyone who's lost their job go out and start their own business. That's very hard work. You can learn more about the involved process and if it's for you at www.sba.gov.
But, the article did get me thinking about another silver lining that's been pointed out regarding losing one's current career and having difficulty finding a new job in the same field, the opportunity to explore a new, possibly even more enjoyable, career. And that is the only silver lining I can see in knowing ahead of time that you're losing your job...the opportunity to plan ahead, to get those applications out, or explore other possibilities while you still have an income.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration is a good source of online resources for exploring new careers, dealing with job loss, and learning about financial support while pursuing career training. Some of the information they offer is generated directly on their website, but the majority of the information is accessed through links to other sites they are affiliated with, such as O*NET and Career One Stop.
O*NET stands for the Occupational Information Network. The service was started through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (learn more about O*NET's origins and the organizations behind its continued development and implementation). When you visit O*NET be prepared to spend some time. The site offers a vast array of information for job searchers and employers. The main page (O*NET OnLine) is a tad intimidating. On one hand I found the O*NET Resource Center to be a nicer place to start. It gives explanations of all the tools available through O*NET, but once you get off the introductory page there isn't a quick and obvious way back to O*NET's main page -- you have to click "OnLine" from the left hand list of links (under Products) and from there click on O*NET OnLine.
Now, I did like the Interest and Ability Profilers from the Resource Center better than the Skills Search available from O*NET OnLine. For those of us who are clueless about what we'd be good at these Interest and Ability tests are designed to give us some insight into "our work related interests." Note, when you're looking at the drop-down menu, if you want to take the tests via computer, you'll need to choose "Computerized Interest Profiler." Otherwise all you'll get are PDFs that will need to be printed out so you can take the tests by hand. Also be aware that if you want to take the computerized version, you will need to download software for it. The download was quick and painless and I thought it well worth it not to have to fill out and then tabulate the tests by hand.
You can also skip the Profiles and the Resource Center all together and just search O*NET OnLine. That's a good idea when you're already sure of the jobs you're interested in. You can search for a specific job; you can find out what jobs are most in demand within industries; you can broaden your search by choosing a career group ("education, training & library" rather than "librarian" for example) -- that will give you a larger results list in comparison to the specific job title search; and you can search for a job by how much preparation (training) you're willing to put in -- from a little to a lot. These aren't the only choices for searching, but they are the most obvious.
I did a search for the job title "editor." That brought up obvious choices like technical writers and editors and less obvious choices like order clerks -- I guess order clerks sometimes have to edit mistakes on orders that come into them... The breadth of the list is nice to help remind the searcher that they don't have to be locked into one interpretation of their career choice. Another of O*NET's nice touches is the "Indemand" label. It clues the searcher to which jobs are expected to grow in the coming months/years.
Once you choose a career/job to look at, you get a report that includes a summary of a dozen aspects of the career such as expected tasks, knowledge needed, and wages & employment. There's also a more detailed report of all those aspects as well as a custom version that allows the searcher to view the results depending on what aspects are important to the searcher.
Beyond that information, you can also find out about the job's prospects in each state, but that takes you to Career One Stop, and at this point I think that needs to be a separate blog.