I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the doom and gloom.  Yes, times are indeed tough.  But there IS hope out there.  

For instance, I love hearing from friends working in the sustainable energy sector.  They tell me that their firms are HIRING!  In fact, one company, Vestas, plans to expand its number of employees here to Portland by HUNDREDS of people.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Engineer?  Marketer?  Have construction experience?  Check out Vestas’ job openings!  And that’s just one company.

But there are other areas of hope.  I speak first-hand that now may be the BEST time to start your own business.  If you can make it through these challenging times, you’re going to be golden when the economy turns around again.  You feel entrepreneurial but starting a business from scratch just seems too scary?  Then perhaps buying into a franchise is the best option for you.  

Another expanding field is education.  People are going back to school in droves.  Now, I’m not quite sold on getting more education is always the right answer — see a great blog from Brazen Careerist, Penelope Trunk on that, but working FOR an educational institution may be just the right answer!

Obama’s stimulus plan is all about pushing dollars out to the masses for the public need — road & bridge construction, education, healthcare, etc.  Even if you’re not an engineer, a teacher or a doctor, there will be more jobs in these sectors — including project management, finance, marketing, etc.  

Don’t despair.  Stay focused and targeted.  As I said to a client yesterday who wants to go into venture capital, obviously now may not the right time for that.  Many venture capital firms are actually laying off.  BUT….I suggested to him to look into a targeted strategy that will allow him to attain a skill set foundation for his dream job further down the road once the economy turns.  So, for him, my best advice is to work for a start-up.  What better way to learn about venture capital and entrepreneurialism than by working for a stretched start-up during the worst recession in decades?  His experiences now will be invaluable to becoming a better venture capitalist a few years down the road.

Anyway, I could go on and on.  Just keep the light on, folks.  It is NOT all doom and gloom out there.  Don’t allow yourself to think it is.  Stay focused and determined.


Brian Kurth is a former “Dilbert” who worked for the phone company in Chicago.  After realizing there was more to life than telecom calling plans, he founded VocationVacations in 2004.  He is the author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job – A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love (Hachette, 2008).  Brian is a sought-after career planning expert, strategist and speaker.  He has appeared on CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, NBC’s TODAY Show and National Public Radio (NPR), and his career advice has been featured in articles in Fortune Magazine; Men’s Journal; The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, just to name a few.