Time for a Career Audit

What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

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Don't get me wrong: There is nothing fun about a recession. But there may be some hidden value. What we've got going on now is not just a recession but a tectonic shift in many industries—my own included. In many cases, jobs that long existed will never be coming back, no matter how quickly the economy recovers. The auto industry will never employ as many people as it once did, and it is unlikely that industries like housing, retail, and financial services will have anywhere near the jobs they've had for the past two decades.

But other opportunities are emerging. Fields like—healthcare, the environment, education and of course, the federal government—all are hiring even in bad times and show great promise when the economy turns up. The point is, now is a good time to take stock of your work life and where it's going. This is when to think not just about your next move but about the ones beyond that.

Our America's Best Graduate Schools and Best Careers arefull of advice and facts to get you started. We survey the landscape of career opportunities, whether you're starting out or looking for a post-retirement way to bring in more income.

Sometimes the best way to get a better job is to go back to school. Many people are making just that choice as they confront a stalled career path or even a pink slip. Our annual ranking of America's Best Graduate Schools can be found online on usnews.com, where we have thousands of pages of information to help you make a decision.

One big change in the education world is the growth of online education programs. They've become the provider of choice for all kinds of career enhancement, from specialized certificate programs in healthcare or real estate sales all the way to an M.B.A. But hundreds of thousands of students are also choosing online schools for what were once traditional four-year undergraduate degrees in liberal arts. The shake-up is only starting and is sure to hit some brick-and-mortar schools hard. (I'll be happy to counsel any distraught college president who is watching his customer base move to a pixel-based model). For the consumer, it means more choices—and the need for information to help make them. We have long surveyed these online programs and can tell you where to find the good ones.

Finally, I can't leave without a plug for our new digital weekly magazine, which is free to subscribers. If you haven't already done so, take a look at the few quick steps to sign up. U.S. News Weekly gives you timely news analysis that complements the more specialized, in-depth information we bring you in print. Combined with the hundreds of thousands of pages of useful information on usnews.com, we think that—despite the tectonic shifts in the media business—U.S. News is able to bring you an even better combination of content to help you make sense of your world and your life.