For a time each of these 14,000,000 can collect unemployment benefits while they are trying to find a new job. While the benefits are a help, they are rarely enough. Too many people slowly sink financially until they find new work. In these economic times, that often takes a very long time.
Bad as that is, underemployment is worse for millions more when it lasts for many years. Underemployment occurs when you can only find work at jobs that do not utilize all of your education and training, like the scientist who can only find work as a taxi driver. It also occurs when your working hours are reduced long-term and you can't find equivalent full-time work anywhere else.
We can blame the economy. But many jobs were in industries that no longer exist, or have been replaced by machines. We can also try blaming large corporations or governments that seem too large to care.
This might be you now. If not, it is likely to happen to you at some point in the future. Playing the blame game won't put food on your table or keep the electricity on.
So really ... what are you going to do about it?
My answer in my own life was to create my own job. There are many ways to do it.
Franchising: Entrepreneur magazine puts out annual rankings of what they consider to be the top 500 franchise opportunities. Get a copy and study it carefully. There are franchises available in a wide variety of industries and locations. Many are more affordable than you may think. You can start a new location for the franchise, or you can buy an existing location from someone looking to retire. What you can get if you choose wisely is a name already trusted by your customers and a lot of support to train you to be successful.
Distributorships: You can google an endless list of possibilities here, ranging from exclusive territories for a recognized brand name that cost millions to enter to one-person operations that can be run out of your car and begun for just a few hundred dollars. A subset of this is some of the network marketing industry. All I will say about that here is that in evaluating any distributorship possibility you want to confirm that the product or service is purchased by many people on an ongoing basis at the full asking price and who have no interest in the business other than to use the product or service. Otherwise you will spend at least a lot of time, possibly money as well, chasing a dream.
Business Brokers: Visit with a well established firm whose business it is to sell businesses. There are many similarities between these firms and real estate agents. The good ones have a long track record, help protect buyers and sellers through the whole process, and have a wide variety of businesses for you to choose from. As in franchising, there are a surprising number of pretty affordable options, so it is worth your time to look.
Entrepreneuring: A fancy word for creating your own business from the ground up. You can try to do something that is already being done, and you have an idea how to do it a little better. You might also have a unique new idea. You can start this part time while you are working at your current job, or while you are trying to find a new job. Here's a thought to get you started: Any idea that you can think through well enough can be designed into a well-run business that people will want to buy from. But just because you are good at doing a particular thing does not mean that you will be good at managing a business that does that thing. Michael Gerber has written several great books on this subject, including The E Myth Revisited:Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What To Do About It. Be sure to read this book as part of your preparation to create your own business.
What I'm here to say is that wherever you find yourself in life today, you can succeed in your own business. You will want and need help. You wouldn't build a house without detailed blueprints. You would probably get quite lost on a cross-country road trip without some kind of map and an idea of where you want to go and what you would like to see along the way. You also need to think through your business, in detail, before opening your doors (regardless of whether they are physical doors or the URL address of your new internet store).
I believe in you. I would like to help you do this. I have helped others like you for over 25 years now. The first visit is free and without obligation, so that we can get acquainted before proceeding. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
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