Making Writing Career Decisions in Uncertain Times

by Amy Crawford


Career choices have been challenged in several ways.


With the state of our security and economic times shifting beneath our feet, what are American writers and other professionals thinking about their current career positions? Torn between building job security in a low-risk environment and pursuing a career that adds to their quality of life, will Americans be sure about which way to jump if the bottom falls out?

Since the terrorist attacks, career choices have been challenged in a few ways. “Being a career makeover coach,” says Shana Spooner, , “I’m finding two things either people are keeping their heads down and hoping not to be laid off or they are re-thinking their career choices to do something more meaningful.” The full impact of the terrorist attacks and the slowing economy will not be know for some time, but many travel-related fields are sure to be affected along with most tourism industries. Regardless, this attack has Americans thinking about their job security. Those who are laid off are forcefully given the choice to get back to work doing something they view secure, or they can take this opportunity to get started doing something that holds more meaning.

This prospect could be risky for many but falls right in line with those in editing and writing positions. Johanna Haney, a mentor and author at responds, “I know a lot of freelancers in various fields such as writing, Web design, and PR, who are taking a rather desperate approach to finding immediate full-time employment. These freelancers fear a recession and are searching for a steady source of income.” Haney believes that there has never been a better time to freelance. Her book “How to Get Started as a Freelance Editor” states, “One of the benefits of freelancing in this economy is that companies are looking for economical ways to finance things like an editing budget. One way companies do this is by hiring freelance editors rather than in-house editors.” Haney suggests that when you hear a company is going to downsize, send them your marketing materials right away.


Many people are revisiting their values and what's truly important to them.


Michael Stratford, a life coach for Center for Creative Development in Norwood, PA believes, “Some people now fear a high-profile career will put them in an unsafe location.” He says, “Many people seem to be re-visiting their values and what’s truly important to them. This tragedy has been a wakeup call in so many ways.” Maria Marsala, a life coach at , says, “Emotions are very high. It is best to make changes based on values and needs and not on an emotional whim.”

For those struggling with their career path, here is a list of things to remember:

Make a list of your likes and dislikes for every job you’ve held. Write down your first memories of doing something you found really fun, and be sure to look for forgotten interests. Ask others what they think you are good at to determine interest in a field you may have been unaware of. Write down the qualities you like in others and look for those qualities in your next employer. Make a list of the things that are most important to you and be sure that your next career fits into those needs.

This self-exploration could lead to a new discovery that may include creating a new career through freelance or entrepreneurial ventures, rather than looking to companies to provide it.


If career changes are viewed as an opportunity rather than a crisis, then we are more likely to bounce back effectively.


Career coaches offer many services that help people find what they need, to begin a career that adds to their quality of life instead of drawing from it. There are also other services out there that help you search for careers that might be right for you, and one is . It offers several resources from career diagnostic testing to career updates and information. For those who know what they are looking for but don’t know how to get started, may be the solution. This site has eBooks on getting started in various unique careers and it offers a free mentor message board, where you can have your career questions answered by author experts.

Ultimately, career coaches believe Americans have the choice. If career changes are viewed as an opportunity rather than a crisis, then we are more likely to bounce back effectively.


Amy Crawford is a writer who specializes in career and employment topics. She runs the free Dream Job Mentors discussion group at