Thursday, April 2, 2009

Careers in caring: investing in ourselves builds human capital

The last few months have been all about loss of capital. Nearly 12 years of gains in savings, investments, 401ks, and assets vanished almost overnight for most people.

But what about the toll on the human capital? In my state, the front page of the daily newspaper reports an average loss of 775 jobs each day over the past several months. That level of loss boggles my mind. The human toll is staggering: On individuals, families, and companies.

My entire career has been focused on caring for people. I started in mental health counseling, helping people cope with fractured relationships, emotions, and families. Twice during my career I have worked for crisis lines, once building one from the ground up in a remote rural community.

While I’m in favor of spending money on highways and bridges, I’m even more supportive of investing in human capital. It’s people, after all, that make the difference when you’re sick or emotionally anguished – not the beautiful, new medical center with all the latest diagnostic tools.

It’s people that matter most when your mom is ill; when your dad is injured; when your loved one can no longer take care of basic personal needs without assistance. In healthcare, the people providing the care are the most valuable assets of all.

Many of us, world-wide, are slowing down just a little right now. We’re stopping before we shop, instead of shopping ‘til we drop. We’re waiting to see what will happen, before we rush out to take the trip of a lifetime or make that big purchase.

We’re examining what’s important in life and what new plan we should consider. Many of us are at a career crossroads, where we must choose a new employment direction, like it or not.

I believe it is an ideal time to invest in ourselves. It’s an ideal time to look at our hearts and think about our true values – what really brings us satisfaction and joy.

With a little extra time, we can invest in our own personal growth. Online education makes that easier, more convenient, and more accessible than ever before.

Studying online for a career in caring may be the perfect way for many to reinvest in our personal, human capital. Health and caregiving industries are among the few that are still hiring, and caring for others is a perfect way for us to find value in our lives.

I’m a “glass half full” kind of person. This crisis? It’s really just an opportunity to learn, grow, and build the sort of human capital that will benefit us all.

1 comment:

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