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My last post asked you to examine if you were stuck in the gig economy. The truth is that the job market is risky for everyone, no matter how much education or experience you have. The good news is that the same forces of globalization, technological, political and demographic change are creating new ”emerging occupations”. What these new fields have in common is that they are fast-growing, satisfying and lucrative for people who are willing to be flexible, act on opportunities and keep learning new skills.

As an example, Robert, a chemist, worked for Union Carbide Dow Chemical for 12 years. Although he was a well-reviewed worker, he faced unemployment when his division was bought up by another company. A job he expected to last a lifetime came to an end. Rather than despairing, Robert found a new career in the emerging occupation of new corporate training. Today he develops preparedness and contingency plans for emergencies in the Virginia Department of Health. Before that, he used digital technologies to help train government workers and the public for seven years. This new position didn’t exist before. His career path took him through stage management, entertainment directing, as well as performing as a percussionist. Robert is now happy and satisfied. “Finally, I found my niche in distance learning and systems management,” he said.

Robert is not alone. Let me introduce you to Ann, who started her third career in her 40s. When Ann left her job on Wall Street, she opened up a “paint-it-yourself” ceramics studio, the kind where kids and adults have fun parties. That’s not usually thought of as an emerging occupation. But Ann was flexible, open, and willing to learn. As she used social media to attract customers to her business, she learned new skills and saw the potential of digital marketing as a new growth area, especially as she helped other franchisees with their marketing. Instead of sticking with her original plan, she was flexible and started a digital marketing firm to meet the demand.

Robert, Ann, and many others are ‘smart risk-takers’. They demonstrate the flexibility, openness and desire to learn new skills, necessary to make these transitions successfully.

In the next post, we will take a closer look at new and exciting health information careers and what it takes to break into them. We’ll be paying particular attention to using LinkedIn as a research, search and networking tool.