Steps to Changing Your Career
Considering a Career Change?
A lot of people dream of changing careers, but don't actually do it. Many folks are afraid they are too old to change their career or they don't know how. Let's break the task of changing your career into smaller steps that you can start doing now. And I'll tell you lots of places you can get more suggestions and assistance.
I created this lens which benefits the Polly Klaas foundation as part of a challenge and hope that it helps others challenge themselves to give more and live more.
When Changing Careers Consider Both Passions and Skills
Key to Career Happiness and Success
You would never seek a spouse just based on who was looking to get married at the same time that you were and yet people often jump into a long-term relationship with an employer and their career with about that much thought.
Who is hiring?"" they ask and look around. How much will they pay?"" Never mind do I want to get up each morning and go there and work for them.
So begin at the beginning and think about what you are good at and like to do. If you would like some advice on this topic, I recommend you read (there is an audio version as well) The Deepest Desire of Your Heart by Will Edwards. Will's story, told here, about his own complete career change inspired me and I hope it will encourage you as well.
So, go on, have a blast! Start looking for a career that you'll want to sound off about!
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
~Henry David Thoreau
If You Want to Change Careers, Seek Relevant Experience
Seek experience that is relevant to the job you would like to do. Often this will be volunteer work, such as: helping at a hospital if you want to change to a medical field; or volunteering at an animal shelter if you want a career working with pets. But you might be able to find a low-level paid position that will be a first step towards changing careers. If you'd like to open a pizza shop, find a well-run pizza shop in a different neighborhood and ask if they need part-time help.
You will get a much better idea what is really involved in your dream job if you see it up close, in addition to learning relevant skills. Few make a successful career change in a single bound. It's better to dabble in your desired field first.
When Planning Your Career Change, Ignore the Hecklers!
Recognize that there will by naysayers and learn how to ignore them. These naysayers could be in your own head or in your own family. I like to think about them as hecklers at a ball game. You have to stay focused on playing your best game. Don't allow doubters to draw your attention away from your goal.
Here's a sample of what you might hear:
"What are you having a mid-life crisis?"
"Can you really afford to do this?"
"Remember what happened to your cousin, Alicia, when she tried to start her own business."
"Why don't you wait until your kids are through college before taking such a risk?"
"You can't run your own business, you have no head for money."
"You expect your job to be all fun and games, why do you think they call it 'work'?"
"Have you lost your mind?"
"You spent all that money on your degree and now you aren't even going to USE it?!"
Don't let these comments get to you (like woman in picture). Balance them by getting a support network (see next section).
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.
Dislike Your Job But Don't Know What to Do? Here are books for you!
All of the books listed below had great reader reviews or go to this collection of recommended books about changing careers
I saw this recommended and found that it has a long excerpt on Amazon. It wasn't an exact fit for me, but did sound exactly like a friend of mine who talks about having lost his passion for just about everything and how he'd leave his job if he had a clue what to do next. He just started the book, so it's too soon to tell if it will lead him to a better life, but I suggest folks read the excerpt for themselves and consider this one.
I read this cover to cover. Perfect if you are eyeing a greener pasture but thinking you can't jump over the fence!
Get a Support Network
A career coach is great if you can afford one. But there are many less expensive options. And while a friend or family member can offer personal support, get some expert advice as well.
I received the following email today:
A few days ago I told you about how a fellow change-seeker named Karen found a unique way to avo id the dream-bashers at Thanksgiving dinner.
You know who I mean.
All those relatives who've spent their entire lives working for someone else who are only too quick to tell you why your dream of being your own boss will never work.
So Karen started hiding out in her in-laws' bathroom listening to the Making Dreams Happen Audio Program on her iPod.
Well, Karen's out of the bathroom.
But now another change-seeker named Barb says she can't sleep!
Barb was one of the scores of people from 23 states and as far away as Chile, Norway, Australia, England, and Japan who rushed to grab their copy of the all-digital, fully-downloadable version of "Making Dreams Happen" -- at the steeply discounted sale price.
Barb downloaded her copy on Friday, and on Saturday I got this email...
"Valerie, I bought the whole Making Dreams Happen Audio Program last night and listened to the three of you. It was wonderful!"
You all have so much to give -- my brain was in overload and it took until 2:00 a.m. to finally be able to sleep...!"
Barb ends by saying,
"Thanks for making me realize that if I do something else, it does not have to be full time as many businesses would require. I think I'm going to be busy going through the information and putting into force a new life. Thank you so much again."
ChangingCourse.com offers a free newsletter, teleconferences and several other programs to help you define or reach your career goals. Curt Rosengren writes the Occupational Adventure blog and will respond to questions from commenters. He has also written an ebook, The Occupational Adventure to help people jumpstart a career change. You'll find expert advice and support in a variety of forms, often at no or low cost.
Making a career change is typically a long and difficult journey. No one laces up a pair of running shoes and goes out and runs 26 miles. They sign up for a marathon where there will be plenty of other racers, support stations, and people to cheer them along the way. Take a route where you are not going it alone and you will greatly increase your chances of success.
Resources for Changing Jobs or Careers
Getting someone else's advice can strengthen your conviction that you can do this! And a fresh perspective on your strengths and desires may help you find an opportunity you would have overlooked otherwise!
Want a Career Change. Then Get Started. Now!
Get started. All journeys start with one step. Perhaps for now you simply want to get more information about changing careers. In addition to the resources I've already mentioned, check out the books and online resources listed below. No time to read? Find an audiobook and play it on your ride to work.
One of my favorite song lyrics is "Where were they going without ever knowing the way?" from The Way by Fastball. Planning is worthwhile, but sometimes we feel we don't want to begin our journey until we have all the answers. Where are we going? How will we get there? Now and then it pays to just get started and figure it out along the way.
Want More Than Just a Job Change?
Do You Want More Out of Your Career than a Paycheck?
Find Your Life Mission and Live It - If you want more than a job change, if you want more than a career change... if what you really want is a meaningful life change, maybe it's time you started thinking about Changing Course.
Considering a Career Change - Get Inspired by Other Career Change Stories
Listen to these people talk about what led them to change careers and where they found courage. May their stories inspire you with the knowledge that if they can do it, so can you!
In All the Steps of Changing Your Career..... - KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR!
Changing Careers at 30
Change Your Career at 40
I noticed this webpage was getting a lot of hits for people querying changing careers at a particular age. Thirty seemed to be a particularly popular age for folks to be querying changing careers at. Perhaps it's the "seven-year itch" for seven years after college.
But I guess I want to encourage folks who are thinking about changing careers to do so, regardless of their age.
I made a big change, though not a total career change, after working at a big corporation for 16 years. It was scary I had all these friends who had worked at the company for about the same length of time and they were all continuing to work away contentedly. I remember wondering what exactly I was so scared about and not having much of an answer. The truth was my big corporation job no longer had real job security and while I was taking a salary hit, it was manageable.
And then I realized change is scary. But if I was scared to change jobs after sixteen years, how would I feel once I'd been there for 25 years or 30 years. It wasn't going to get any easier. And so with the same feeling that I have when I leap into the pool of cold water. I took the plunge. And I have never, ever regretted it. Never. Not during times of unemployment (and I've had them). Not when I've seen friends at my original employer continue to climb the corporate ladder and earn more money than I do.
I march to a different drummer and the beat of THAT drummer fills my heart with joy.
Good luck to all you potential career changing folks, whether you are 62 years old or 25!
The Right Time to Change Your Career
Since everyone seems to ask themselves,
Is this the right time to change careers?
Is age 40 (or 50) too old for changing careers?
I thought you might find the following post interesting:
This week I was kind of "stuck" for a feature article topic so I took the one minute walk down to our creek for a little Think Time. It's such a peaceful place with wildflowers in bloom, birds flitting through the woods -- and of course, the soothing sound of flowing water.
It's one of my favorite places to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. And I'm so grateful to be living the kind of life I always dreamed of. . . A beautiful place in the country. A career that I love working with amazing clients. A flexible schedule. My husband joining me in the business.
It wasn't always this way. My "before" picture looked something like this: long commutes on congested freeways, 10 - 12 hour days, plenty of stress and high pressure, grabbing quick meals from the drive-thru. Maybe for some of you, that's the life you're living right now. And I know you want OUT. Badly. Believe me, I understand.
Some of you aren't quite sure what it is you want. You're restless. Dissatisfied. Bored. Whatever it is, you just know you're not happy doing what you're doing.
Is now the time to start following your interests and passions? Is now the time to go after your dreams?
To get more help deciding, you can go to the source of this post, the newsletter of Bonnie Pond: Relaunch Your Life Coach (excerpted with permission from author)
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Read this Great Career Change Blog Post
'Crazy' Business Ideas Often Turn Out to Be the Best
When Bob Page told his friends and family he wanted to quit his auditing job to start his own business, they were less than encouraging to him. Well, that's actually an understatement. Basically what they told him was he was crazy.
Fortunately he didn't listen. Instead he figured that if he could devote time to doing what he loved, he could make money - even if it was less than what he was earning at a CPA. Bob was right on the first count. When you love what you do, it's hard not to make money. What Bob didn't realize at the time was that his "crazy" idea would wind up making him more money than he'd ever dreamed of.
You see, today Bob's company, Replacements Ltd. is the world's largest supplier of discontinued china, glassware, flatware, and collectibles. It all started when Bob bought a part interest in a Greensboro, North Carolina antique store. A customer asked if he could find some missing pieces for her china set. He did. And then an interesting thing started to happen. According to his website:
"As friends learned of his interest in china and crystal, they asked him to be on the lookout for particular dinnerware patterns they needed as well as pieces they had lost or broken. Bob quickly found himself devoting more and more time to his hobby, often staying up until the early morning hours to fill orders. Bob stored the china and crystal in his attic, while his bedroom served as his office."
When the Small Business Administration (SBA) refused him a loan saying his idea would never work, Bob convinced the owner of a commercial building to rent him retail space. He got the word out by placing small ads in magazines.
His crazy idea worked! In his first year he grossed more than $150,000 in sales. In 2002, sales exceeded $69 million and in 2008 (the latest figures available) sales exceeded $85 million.
Now, the company's 455,800 square foot facilities house an inventory of nearly 13million pieces from over 340,000 patterns, employs some 500 people, and serves more than ten million customers worldwide.
So much for the wisdom of friends, family, and the even the experts at the SBA!
Speaking of finding support, try to imagine what Katie Wainwright's family and friends had to say when she told them she wanted to pick up dog poop for a living.
You read right. In 2003 Katie started Doggy Doody Disposal in my hometown of Agawam, Massachusetts. The company provides "doody scooping" or bagged doody removal for clients in western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.
In addition to residential clients, they also service commercial property owners, pet related businesses, golf courses, parks, realtors and more. The company credo is "We do doody so you won't have to." And as a dog owner myself I appreciate the added touch of keeping their client's informed of any changes in their dog's doody. I mean who does that?!
These are just a couple of the countless other "crazy" ideas that have proved the nay sayers wrong and helped catapult the idea maker out of a job they hate into a life they love. The next time you get a crazy idea for a small business do two things:
First, get a notebook and label it Crazy Business Ideas. In one section, collect examples of crazy idea that have worked. In another keep a running list of your own crazy money making ideas.
Next, seek out people who will support your idea. Unless you come from a family of entrepreneurs, chances your supporters aren't in your family or immediate circle of friends. Where will you find them? You don't have to own a business to join an organization inhabited by entrepreneurs. Although I have zero interest in inventing a product, I once joined a local inventors group because I love the energy of being around can-do, make-it-happen type people.
Similarly, you don't have to be a business owner to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Many communities also have some sort of association of small business owners that meet on monthly basis.
As the great actor Katherine Hepburn once said, "Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting."
Some of the most interesting means of support begin as a crazy idea. The key is to keep coming up with them, then when you find one you love, recognize that the only sane response is to go for it.
Reprinted with permission from Changing Course Blog
Career Change Resources
ChangingCourse.com offers a free newsletter, teleconferences and more for anyone who wants to get more from their job than a paycheck.
- Career Change Wanted
Collection of free expert articles, book recommendations and useful links for anyone considering a career change.
- The Occupational Adventure (sm)
Curt Rosengren, a self-described passion catalyst, blogs on helping people identify their passions and create careers that ignite them
- Legal Zoom
Learn about the different kinds of businesses - sole proprietorship, LLC and corporation -- advantages and disadvantage. Also how to register trademarks. Complete online legal document services.
- Changing Careers Bookstore
Featuring books on changing careers with 5-star customer reviews
- Vocation Vacations
VocationVacations offers you the chance to test-drive your dream job -- completely risk-free! No need to quit your day job. No need to tell the boss. Just spend a couple days on a VocationVacation, working one-on-one with a VocationVacations Mentor,
Final Thoughts on Changing Careers
I was talking to a friend today. He is age 51, feels like he his most valuable skills are in an industry he hates and that he doesn't have the energy to change careers. What I told him and what I want others to think about is, it takes energy to drag yourself out of bed each day for a job that you hate. So "finding the energy" is something he's going to have to do whether he changes careers or stays put.
I'm not going to pretend changing careers is easy. It's not, BUT... what is the cost of NOT changing careers in terms of the strain it puts on your health and your relationships. Life is too short to spend it doing something you hate. Look at your options. Explore your options. Don't assume that they are not going to turn out.
Why I Created My Career Change Lens As A Polly Klaas Foundation lens
There are two reasons I posted this lens off the Polly Klaas Foundation.
1) They were having a contest where the lens had to be created by March 20th. This gave me a goal.
2) One of the lens categories was the lens should be about a hope or hobby. Many of us have HOPES of changing jobs. Given how many hours a day we spend at work, it is important that we act to make these hopes and dreams a reality. In establishing a vision for my publishing company, Aboon Books, I borrowed a story I heard at an Eagle Scout Court:
A boy was hiking and saw an eagle's egg roll off of a high cliff and into some bushes. The bushes broke the fall of the egg and it was unharmed. The boy looked at the cliff and knew there was no way to climb up and place the egg back in the nest. He came across a wild turkey's nest on the ground and placed the eagle's egg there.
The eagle hatched along with the turkeys. He was raised with the turkeys, which do not fly very far or very fast and only get a bit off the ground. One day two eagles soared overhead. The young eagle watched them and asked a turkey, "Why can they fly so high and we barely get off the ground?" The turkey answered "because they are eagles and we are turkeys." And so the eagle, who was raised as a turkey, lived as a turkey and never soared as high as his wings could have carried him.
The moral of the story is obvious: If you want to soar high, listen to your own self and not what some turkey says.
Follow your hopes and dreams!
What Part of Career Change Lens Did You Enjoy Most?
Please let me know what you think. Feel free to ask questions too.