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What Is a Cost Effective Career?
Asking the Right Questions About New Careers
Finding a new career can be rewarding, stressful, fulfilling and challenging at the same time. While practical and candid advice will be helpful, the final result will frequently depend on a sound combination of intuition and personal priorities.
Asking the right questions might prove to be the most critical piece of the new career puzzle. My primary purpose in this overview is to help individuals ask the right questions about careers and career training. Here are five examples:
- Can a new career be part-time and/or a second job?
- What are realistic business, finance and real estate career choices?
- Why should I consider paying for specialized training?
- What are cost-effective careers?
- How does cost effectiveness apply to career training?
What about working on the internet as an “affiliate”? With the creation of the internet, it was only a matter of time before creative individuals discovered methods of using the internet to produce revenue both for themselves and others. There is no shortage of search results for “work from home” and “earn affiliate income,” and it is not my intent here to analyze affiliate earning opportunities. However, I do believe that these basic and somewhat simplified strategies for earning income can be and should be improved.
My expertise involving career training and career choices was developed over several decades as a consulting and training specialist. I have a strong sense of what currently works and what has stopped working when it comes to practical career management decisions and strategies. With this Hub, it is my hope to share my findings with those in need of career help.
How Many Careers in a Lifetime?
There are conflicting numbers about how many careers an average individual has during their entire life. The number that shows up the most is seven, but a thorough analysis reveals that there is no real validity for that number. Disagreement about what constitutes a "career change" is one practical obstacle when answering a lifetime careers question.
Changing employers can translate to a career change in some cases but not in others. If you are working for a company as a business consultant and then decide to do it independently with your own company, is that a career change? How about someone who has two part-time jobs and then decides to spend all of their time working in one of those?
There is some reliable data about the average length of employment with one employer, and the results will be found below. But a person changing jobs every few years does not translate to a career change in most cases.
By most accounts, however, there has been a permanent structural change in the employment market over the past 25 years. These changes have become more noticeable and pronounced during the economic instability that started between 2005 and 2008. The natural result when the economy is in a severe downturn is for career questions and concerns to rise to a more actionable point. The discussion here is intended to help make career planning more practical and effective.
Two of the Right Questions
But This Is Just the Beginning
Key career planning questions and career management problems to avoid are emphasized throughout this Hub.
- Can a new career be a second job and/or part-time? You might be surprised what you will learn by pursuing this line of inquiry. The entire context of "careers" continues to change, and many individuals are likely to benefit by having more than one career at the same time. With this frame of reference, the ability to pursue a particular career on a less-than-full-time basis could end up being more valuable than it might initially appear.
- Why wouldn't training be free? Should I really expect to pay for career training? The more specialized the training is, the less likely that an effective version of it will not cost anything. The most effective approaches to training are usually individualized and customized to reflect the specific background of the person receiving the training. It would be rare and unexpected to find a worthwhile version of specialized, individualized and customized training that is free.
To coin a phrase built upon a common theme, "You usually get what you pay for with free training."
The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions.— Peter Drucker
Three More Questions
- What are practical career options if I want to work at home?
- What are realistic business, finance and real estate career choices?
- What is a referral agent or referral specialist?
Military Career Transitions
Military personnel have their work cut out for them when they are ready to leave military service and look for realistic civilian business careers. There are many reasons to explain why a military to civilian transition is so difficult, and taking some extra precautions is a prudent step.
I dealt with many of these career challenges when I left the military service (U.S. Navy) quite a few years ago. I devote a considerable amount of time to mentoring and training individuals who want some help in making the process more effective and successful. I produced the following video to summarize some of the key problems that need to be addressed in any attempt to achieve a successful career transition to small business careers.
Transitioning to a New Career in Business Consulting and Writing
How Long with One Employer?
Some individuals remain with one employer for their entire career, but many last only a few weeks or months. The results shown below do not mean that you should consider changing jobs or careers just because you are in excess of the average! An interesting fact is that the average time spent with one employer has not changed significantly during the past 25 years.
What is the "average" time an individual spends working for one employer?
Answer: Four years
Cost-Effective Career Training?
“Cost-effectiveness” is a concept that is overlooked far too often when making decisions of any kind in both business and life. I also believe there is much value in using cost-effectiveness to make smarter career choices.
Related to the idea of making more cost-effective career decisions is a growing interest in pursuing careers on a part-time basis or as a second job. This emphasis on flexibility and pursuing multiple paths simultaneously makes even more sense in an economy and job market that has taken one surprising turn after another.
In order to make the right choices in a stress-filled decision-making process, cost-effectiveness becomes a prudent mechanism for choosing career directions. This use of a cost-effective mentality particularly comes into play in the selection of career training programs. Some training is not cost-effective at all. For example, a long-term period of expensive college education followed by a lack of appropriate employment options is not cost-effective. We all deserve much better than that, and I believe cost-effective career training choices are part of a winning career strategy.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.— Albert Einstein
The Bottom Line
Four Key Career Problems to Avoid
- Lack of individualized and customized training
- Insufficient geographic mobility
- Work schedules that are too rigid
- Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
When you're through learning, you're through.— John Wooden
© 2013 Stephen Bush