Changing Careers After a Workplace Injury – Important Considerations

The kind of work you undertake is an important determinant of your health and well-being, so if you experience a serious injury at work, it can serve as a good reason to consider employment in a totally different field.
In the U.S, around six million Americans face workplace injuries every year – as per data compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Some of the most common injuries – including sprains, strains and tears – heal in a few days or weeks, but others – such as back injuries – can prevent workers from carrying out their current job in the long term.
If you have been through an injury and are thinking of making a career switch, keep these considerations in mind for improved financial and personal well-being.

Protecting Yourself Legally

If you have incurred a permanent injury or disability because of a work injury, you may be entitled to vocational aid as part of your worker’s compensation claim.
As pointed out by experts from the Lopez Law Group, an injury incurs many expenses, including medical care, lost wages and the need for physical therapy.
You should be well informed and advised since you could possibly claim services like formal retraining, transferable skills analysis, and help with job seeking.

Understanding And Accepting The Emotional Impact Of Injuries

When making big decisions such as career changes, it is important to take it at the right pace.
The truth is that after an injury, your first instinct will be to protect yourself financially and ensure you have the right treatment, but when the immediate impact has settled down, you may struggle with issues such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or depression.
These conditions can last for a few months post-injury – for instance, while you are undergoing physiotherapy or other treatments. However, these mental conditions can also last longer-term.

Getting The Help You Need

Changing Careers After a Workplace Injury – Important Considerations
It is vital to obtain professional help for mental conditions that may arise and to prioritize healing.
In addition to undergoing treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy, your therapist may recommend mindfulness-based activities, which have been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Currently, treatments such as yoga, Tai Chi and mindfulness meditation are being used successfully, as are other therapies – including art and equine therapy.
It is important to prioritize mental health because depression increases the likelihood of a worker not returning to pre-injury levels of social interaction and work efficiency.
Feeling positive about work and finding the energy required to make a career change is impossible if psychological factors are holding you back.

Seeing A Rehabilitation Counsellor

Visiting a rehabilitation specialist can be a real deal maker in terms of recovery since they are completely aware of the challenges that can make a career change difficult.
They work alongside injured workers, focusing on their ability and supporting them into a role that suits their experience, skills and desires, with a strong focus on potential earnings.
They know the importance of acknowledging how you are feeling, and have the tools and skills required to identify potential career avenues.
Once you decide on a career, they can then offer coaching and suggest training options.

Further Training

Whether you receive monies for formal retraining or you have to rely on your savings to pay for this, you may decide to pursue a degree or diploma in your chosen field.
Don’t be daunted by the fact you may be older than the average first-year students.
Research compiled by the Lumina Foundation shows that around 38% of undergraduate students are older than 25, and 36% are raising children while studying.
The truth is that over the past decade, in particular, workplaces have evolved considerably owing to technological advances.

Personal Finance Software Is An Aid

Changing Careers After a Workplace Injury – Important Considerations
If a job switch will involve a change in your financial future, personal finance software can help give you a good idea of how to manage your finances in the best way possible.
Digital graphs can help you get a visual understanding of your income and outgoing expenses.
Personal finance planning will help you see how long can you can live on anything you have gained from a settlement, and make it easier to balance debts and new expenses.

Finding The Perfect Match

Some jobs may have become obsolete, while a whole new set of roles has emerged.
If you will continue to work part-time, opt for colleges or schools offering compressed schedules.
Some states have dedicated groups that are helping match mature students to the right educational institution.
Find out what support is available on campus for older students as well.

Scheduling Is Key

The more CVs you put out and connections you create on a daily basis, the higher the likelihood that you will get noticed by recruiters.
Aim to invest at least two to three hours a day on job searching.
This can involve everything from learning new techniques in CV drafting to joining new professional networks, making calls and researching upcoming networking events in your area.
Exhibitions are one place to really get noticed.
Since they hone in on one particular job category, you can match them up to your interests and pay various stands a visit.
Exhibitions can actually be a unique opportunity to meet and greet managers and other key figures of the business.
You can find out more about what they are looking for and even arrange to meet up a few days later if you might be a match for their company.

Market Yourself Well

If you decide to go straight back into the workforce, choose jobs that will allow you to utilize the best skills you have picked up along the way.
Seek the help of a mentor, life coach, or a professional CV writer.
The first two will help suggest potential avenues for someone with your experience; the latter will help you present your best skills in an attractive way.
If you work in an industry in which you can show off your work – e.g. you are a writer, artist, graphic artist, interior designer or similar, set up a website and social media channels and invest in making them professional and engaging.
There are many free online templates that will help you build a website, and WordPress is easy to learn if you want to publish online content such as a blog.
Finally, services such as HootSuite will allow you to program your social media content in advance, so you can undertake the task all at once and free up the rest of your day to job hunt.

Paying Heed To Your Physical Health

Changing Careers After a Workplace Injury – Important Considerations
Daily exercise is a fantastic way to stay focused and energized.
Depending on how able you are to head outside for a bit of exercise, try to include physical activity in your daily life.
Doing so will break up your routine and inspire you to complete your job hunting duties speedily and efficiently so you can work out afterwards.
Exercise can help you stay mentally strong; as is the case with mindfulness activities, it is a proven stress-buster that plays an important role in human psychological well-being.
Related Read: What to Do if a Faulty Product Injures You

Preparing For A Skills Based Interview

When changing careers, the skills and experience you gleaned in your last job will be key when it comes to landing a new job.
These days, many recruiters use skills-based interview techniques, which essentially require the applicant to demonstrate the specific instances in which they have demonstrated required skills.
Preparation for this type of interview should commence with a keen analysis of the skills required for the new job.
Identify the skills you have that match up with these, and list down specific instances in which you used them.
Depending on the job you are applying for, your list can include everything from communication to technical skills, leadership, or project management.

Explaining The Gap

Preparing For A Skills Based Interview
Interviewers will usually ask the reason for the gap in your employment.
Instead of talking at length about your injury and the rehabilitation involved, mention what happened briefly, but focus on all the positive things you achieved during this gap.
The list can include learning new skills, updating your knowledge, and joining networks.
Even reading can amount to research, so list down the many vital things you have learned during your gap; you may be asked about them, so it pays to rehearse your response to different questions.
Job hunting in itself keeps people very occupied so you might also talk about the different ways you approached the task.

Wrap Up

An injury is always a challenge, but it can also serve as the starting point for a career switch – one that will lend your life greater meaning and value.
Start out by obtaining legal advice so you can obtain what you are entitled to.
This will hopefully enable you to invest in further training and provide help in key areas.
After this stage, advice, mentorship and networking will help you identify potential paths, while marketing efforts will get your name out to your intended audience.


Navrajvir Singh
Navrajvir Singh
Entrepreneur. Strategist. Think Tank.

Related Articles