EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Shannon Morgan suffered a hiccup in her career path after moving from Indianapolis to Evansville following her husband’s transition to a new job at Toyota.
Morgan, 33, graduated from IUPUI with a degree in physical education, but realized Evansville lacked the teaching opportunities she sought out.
“I thought I would be a teacher, but then we moved to (Evansville) and he worked nights. So I wanted to work the same schedule with him,” she told the Evansville Courier & Press. “That’s why I worked at Toyota.”
Morgan worked nights on the management team at Toyota’s Children’s Center for 10 years before a chance to chase her true passion came along.
“Fashion has always been my passion,” Morgan said.
On June 1, she bought The Lollipop Tree, a children’s clothing boutique.
“I made the hair bows for the previous owners for about five years and they decided they wanted to do something different, and they asked me about buying the store,” she said. “It was perfect timing because I had just had a baby, and so now my son comes here with me.”
Dane Partridge, associate professor of management at the Romain College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana, said career-hopping is something for which students today should prepare.
“I think that being adaptable and flexible is important,” Partridge said. “In 2014 we can tell people what we expect might happen in the labor market, but those predictions are not always perfect. A mind set where you’re open to change and open to exploring new opportunities, that’s going to be helpful.”
He said graduates can’t leave high school or college and expect to spend their entire work life with the same company or even in the same industry.
Morgan realized chasing your dream job doesn’t always mean big money.
“One thing you have to do, I think, when you start your own business, is to realize that it could take a while to be profitable,” she said. “It’s more stressful because it’s your money on the line. It was overwhelming at first, but the past month it has really picked up and I’ve gotten the swing of it. It just takes a little while to get the hang of everything.”
Currently relying solely on her husband’s income, Morgan has lowered the price range in her store with the goal to create a more affordable store for customers, and said she hopes to eventually open multiple locations.
“It’s great when it’s something you’re passionate about because then it doesn’t seem so hard. When it’s your passion then it’s something that you love, so you don’t mind putting the hours into it,” she said. “This business allows me to do something I love, and then my son gets to stay with me too. He’s definitely my priority.”
Partridge said he thinks nationally, and in the region, manufacturing, something Evansville’s economy relies heavily on, has declined. While Indiana still has more manufacturing employment than the average state, and Evansville has a considerable amount of manufacturing employment as well, other sectors of labor have seen more growth such as health care.
“In broadest brush strokes, manufacturing doesn’t play the same role in the economy today as it did twenty or thirty years ago and for workers, maybe, that are entering the workforce or that have lost a position and need to move to a different kind of position in the labor force,” he said. “There are challenges today that maybe their parents didn’t have in terms of needing a different skill set.”
Toyota announced Aug. 22 that it plans to add 300 jobs and invest $100 million over the next two years to increase Highlander production by 30,000 vehicles per year.
Partridge said the manufacturing market in Evansville is stable, but there are more skill requirements in a number of manufacturing firms.
“There is a skill match issue in some firms and they may not be able to fill all of the positions they have available because in certain specialties there may not be enough workers that already have training,” he said.
“A postsecondary education and a certain set of skills are essential,” he said.
“Communication skills, quantitative reasoning — that is applied math skills because that’s important in manufacturing — problem solving and decision making skills — because a lot of firms have restructured to provide more responsibility to line workers …”
He said all of these combined are going to make you more competitive in the labor market.
John Farless, director of university communications at USI, said he still plans on furthering his education in the future.
“I am a big proponent of lifelong education so I’ve always seen myself getting an advanced degree,” he said. ” … Things always come up and get in the way. Two kids and getting married and moving, but that’s definitely something I still see on the horizon.”
Farless, 38, graduated from USI as a communications major with an emphasis in journalism, but started out studying electrical engineering.
“It was probably less money for me, in the long run, but it was a good switch,” Farless said. “I definitely saw myself starting out in newspaper, and that was my goal.”
Shortly after graduating, Farless got a position with The Perry County News as a staff writer and reporter.
He then went on to serve as associate director of communications at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Seminary and School of Theology for 10 years before returning to USI as faculty three years ago. It was a direction he originally hadn’t considered.
Farless saw many changes in the field of communications over the years.
“I saw things move from dark room photography to digital photography. I saw the changeover from doing pay stubs for layouts to doing digital layout and page design,” he said. “… A lot of that was starting around the time I graduated.”
While working in Perry County, the company consolidated some newspapers, combined some of the regional offices into one shop and closed down some of the smaller newspapers.
“I could definitely see myself moving into something else. I love my work here (USI) and want to be here for a while,” he said, “but I am also a person that gets restless so, you know, there’s other things I would like to do.”
Farless said “labor is something you have to do, but it should also be something you enjoy doing, and that’s the way I’ve always looked at it. You know, I probably could have stuck with engineering and made a lot more money, but I was looking for something that I would enjoy doing and could enjoy doing for the rest of my life.
“When you look at labor, it’s going to be, probably, the best thing in your life besides what you spend your time doing. So it should be something you love.”
Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com
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