Caregiving is an honorable commitment. Yet, it does a number on the professional life and in many cases derails it all together.
"I feel like I am starting all over again," said Kathy. Once a regular writer for a major sitcom, Kathy found herself on a 10 year tour of caregiving duty. At the end of that incredible journey, she faced financial rock bottom and was seeking to re-enter the work place. "It is one steep mountain to climb," she says. "The world changed while I was caring for my parents and it is tough to find work."
The reality is millions of caregivers face the same song and dance: no jobs after caregiving. Time to change the music.
"We need a nationwide caregiver make-over session," encourages Michael TS Lindenmayer, founder of the Caregiver Relief Fund http://www.cgrelief.org when he talks about life after caregiving. "Plan or perish," he insists when asked what do about this situation. He is optimistic and is a major proponent of leveraging the power of the internet as a means of accessing and building opportunities. He points to trends and potential showcased by Tom Vander Ark, partner of Revolution Learning and former head of the Gates Foundation Education Fund. According to Vander Ark, there are many sources of online learning from which to choose. He says to begin at community colleges and that there are a few $1000/yr college credit sites like www.straighterline.com. He went on to mention Open University which is the largest in Europe with 180,000 (all online and very affordable). Vander Ark also suggested that in some job categories, like web development, a degree isn't very important. Some successful developers began by watching a few well-made videos and doing Google searches for additional training. There are informal/supplemental learning resources like www.khanAcademy.org which may sometimes be better than formal courses. And finally, there are a growing number of learn-anything sites like www.skillshare.com. He urges that online learning provides diverse opportunities which are not time-bound thereby fitting into a variety of schedules and in between caregiving and other responsibilities.
While caregivers are often homebound, financially strapped and time constrained, the Caregiver Relief Fund recommends the following to help find meaningful work after caregiving:
The message is, leverage the power of the internet and web 2.0 to turn that homebound experience into a thriving campus of ideas, opportunities and networking possibilities.
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