The Young FirmBlogUncategorizedChanging Careers After an Injury

Changing Careers After an Injury


Being injured at sea is by nature an extremely difficult situation to navigate; even if you fully recover, you have still been through an ordeal. If your injuries have left you unable to continue working in your chosen field, you might be staring down bills with no obvious way to pay them. Your life has changed because of your injury in unforeseeable ways.

At The Young Firm, we want to help you chart a new course that helps you provide for your needs and puts your training to good use. While you certainly didn’t choose to be in the place you are now, new possibilities are out there, maybe even in the maritime industry. However, it is also likely that you will need to move in a new direction. We’re here to offer some practical guidance as you look for new work.

Identify Your Skills and Strengths

You spent much time training for your role in the maritime industry, and, in doing so you have learned many valuable skills. While strengths are often considered to be more innate, anything that you can learn is a skill. When thinking about skills, look deeper than the actual task you performed. Consider what types of knowledge you possess in order to do your job.

For instance, you might have the technical know-how, amazing spatial abilities, or be a very logical thinker/problem solver. Or perhaps you have a great eye for detail or know how to manage your team well. These kinds of skills are always needed in other fields, so they can transfer to other industries. Perhaps you could even put these skills to use in a different position within the maritime industry.

However, to match these skills to new environments, you need to know what they are. Skill inventories like this one at Career One Stop can help you identify your skills. In addition to your skills, you have strengths that you have likely been unconsciously bringing to the table for years. Morten Hansen created a strengths quiz to help you identify your strengths. 

Consider New Avenues of Employment

You chose the maritime industry for a reason, and you may have years of experience in the field, not to mention a passion for your work. Armed with your skills, it may be time to reach out and see if you can change roles with your current employer or apply for a different “light-duty” maritime job. As you consider your options, think through how you can match your skills and strengths with new roles.

This part of the process is unique to each person, but Career One Stop has a tool to guide you through it. O’Net also offers a searchable database that matches jobs to your skills.  If you use this tool, keep in mind that there are many categories of skills, so use the drop-down menu to search the category you need. For example, maritime workers are often high in technical skills, so we searched for jobs in that category. The image below shows just one list generated by the tool, but there are countless others.

Gather Your Resources and Apply

You’ve laid the groundwork, but gathering your resources can help you stay organized and motivated while applying for jobs. Resources come in all shapes and sizes and can include:

  • Asks friends and family for help and recommendations.
  • Former co-workers/people in the field with whom you can network
  • Your list of strengths/skills from Step 2
  • Your resume and cover letter (this template can help)

As you apply, track, and document the process. This is especially important if you are receiving unemployment, as you need to show that you are trying to get jobs.

Seek Out Further Help/Training

If you are stuck or want professional support during your search, career counselors can assist you. In addition to offering job training, Goodwill Industries employs local career coaches. Reach out to your local Goodwill to request this free service, which can help you:

  • discover a job you’re passionate about,
  • create an action plan to get to that job,
  • connect you with additional resources for whatever path down which you find yourself traveling.

You might discover a job that interests you, only to realize that you need more training to have a shot at the job. While it might seem counterintuitive to apply to school or job training programs during the pandemic, many programs are online, and some currently offer tuition at reduced rates.

Once again, Career One Stop has a tool that helps you find training based on your zip code. Not only that, it also helps you look for scholarships to finance your education. Going back to school while working a less-than- ideal-job might also help you overcome financial barriers to your training. 

Being injured may have closed a door for you that has been very painful to watch shut. The losses you have faced are real and deserve your attention. However, moving forward with your life and finding new meaning and purpose are not out of the question. At worst, you may find work that helps you sustain your family, and at best, in years to come, you may find yourself fulfilled by the ways that you have risen to the occasion.  

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