Sunday, August 01, 2010

Could outplacement companiers have steered middle-aged professionals to teaching after the 2001 recession?

Do outplacment agencies really help laid-off professional workers?

I had my own experience after the December 2001 layoff from ING, with Right Management (link), centered in Philadelphia.

We had an orientation meeting right after the period of unemployment started, and could start the three months of formal counseling at any time. It is true that we went through the Myers-Briggs surveys (link), which can identify personality types without trying to moralize about them.

What I think would have helped in early 2002 would have been the outplacement company’s informing us about the opportunity for “career switching” in teaching, including education about the effect of “No Child Left Behind”, which increased the job market for teachers until the 2008 financial crisis sent school district budgets into crisis. But from the viewpoint of the earlier 2000-2002 recession, a switch into teaching would have made a lot of sense for a lot of people. We could have been informed about the fact that many states don’t require substitute teachers to be licensed (although Minnesota, where I was located, did), and about the rapid licensure programs, which in some states were relatively quick and inexpensive.

Given what I had already done (outing myself with respect to my chosen political controversy, gays in the military), a “switch” in 2002 would have been daunting (recalling for me concerns like the 1978 California Briggs Initiative, still in the pre Lawrence v. Texas period). But the outplacement companies should have been tracking NCLB (as passed in 2001) more closely.

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