Language learning – a response to redundancy?

If you’ve been made redundant, learning a language can both boost morale and enhance your career prospects.

In these times of credit crunch it is a sad fact that most of us know of at least one person who has been made redundant. As companies worldwide rein in their expenditure, job losses are becoming everyday news and unemployment is soaring. It is a bleak outlook for the economy and a worrying future for job seekers.

Though daunting, redundancy can in other ways be looked on as a new start in life. It is a chance to re-evaluate what you do and where you want to go, and in this respect it can also bring with it opportunity and excitement.

One way to fill ‘empty’ time after losing your job is to put your mind to learning something new – not only will a new skill lift you when you most need it, it offers the double whammy of potentially increasing your career prospects too. None more so than learning a language; it has been reiterated over the years that employers are keen to hire people who speak more than one language, and with the job market becoming increasingly competitive it could be your way in where others fall.

As for a acquiring a new language in the first place, it need not be the impossible task it may at first seem. Even basic or conversational language skills can go a long way towards boosting your morale and convincing an employer that you have initiative as well as a potentially valuable skill. Some may even provide further training to develop your knowledge and make full use of your ability. In so doing, the natural knock-on effect of improved communicative and written, reading and listening skills, that come from learning another language, will not go unnoticed.

Of course, if you already have some language knowledge you are a step ahead already. It may be worth brushing up your skills by taking some private language classes, a refresher evening language course or a quick – but effective – week at a language school abroad. Consolidating what you know and feeling those words roll off the tongue again will give you the confidence to sell your skill in interview and use it, perhaps for the first time, as a real work asset.

If your language skills do go on to open doors that may otherwise have been closed, there may be no limit to your career prospects. Relocation abroad within your company becomes a viable option, bringing with it possible promotion and increased salary. Those who have dreamt of a life overseas may well have found their real passport.

Whatever language you decide to learn and to whatever extent, it cannot fail to bring a positive element to your life – on a personal or work level, or both. It is often in hard times that we realise our potential and are able to use this to our advantage for the future – however uncertain that may at times be.

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