When it comes to working and careers, data says that you aren’t going to be doing what you are doing throughout your workplace lifetime.
If I’m any example, I’ve been a retail clerk, nurse’s aide, secretary, stock broker, financial planner, hotel operator, developer, syndicator, author, trainer and speaker. And, my time in the workplace is not coming to a close. Granted the retail clerk, nurses aide, secretary and hotel operator were all jobs—nothing I viewed as a career and areas that didn’t have a lot of vested time.
Stock brokering, financial planning, developer and syndicator consumed 14 years with authoring, training and speaking totaling 30. Granted, the authoring and speaking part overlapped some of the financial planning years. Still, as a secretary in my early twenties, I would never have guessed I would be doing what I do today.
Is There a Transition in You?
How about you? Thinking about a change in your work path? Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I doing here?” or “What was I thinking when I decided to be a _______?”
So, why are you doing what you now do? Probably because one of your parents did the same; a school counselor told you that you would be good at it; or you were uncertain what you wanted to be, so you took a degree in something that at least looked interesting.
Some people like changing jobs. They may be career job-hoppers. Most people are not crazy about leaving one job for another. Whatever the reason, you may be feeling that you want out. Before you take the leap, determine why you want out.
Start with Small Steps
There’s always some risk. Always. The steady, certain paycheck may not be so certain. Co-workers who’ve become friends aren’t there. Your new routine may not feel so routine. Most think that they have to take the leap all at once.
Tweak your thinking. Why not do it in steps? If it doesn’t feel right, you can detour in another direction. Think evolution — it may take months, even years to get the ideal spot. I love what I do — writing books, training others on their content and speaking. Getting to here from “there” was an evolution that started back in 1974 when I taught my first class on investments and money management.
Nothing happened overnight. What started the real shift? An accident that left me paralyzed for many months. During that down time, I determined that I no longer loved what I was doing. When I got back up — it was never an option that I was going to stay down — I wanted to move in another direction. The question was, where?
Your question that must be answered is, “Why do you want to leave?” Is it the industry, the workplace, the management — all of them? For me, it was management.
Roll up your sleeves and do some probing. What do you like? What are the skills that you currently use at work? Do you have skills and talents that are not used in your job? Is there a hobby that you have, or use to have, that could be revisited? How about your own wish list — is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason, haven’t?
One of my friends has a double PhD in communications and hypnotherapy. She hated the travel that her work required of her. Her goal was to combine her credentialed skills with her desire to work in the sports area—and, she is not a jock!
Today, with a bit of creativity, she has transformed herself to working exclusively in golf. Leading clinics for private clubs and clients, she does a huge amount of her work on the phone from her condo on a golf course. She is known as the invisible secret for many of the pros seen on the tournament circuit.
She explored her skills, her talents, her desire to change what she was doing and look at a variety of options when she started mixing and matching what she could do and what she didn’t want to do.
Crossing the Bridge
You start there too. What are your options? What steps do you need to take to kick-start your new career phase?
The Department of Labor publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook — get a copy. Also,
Network in the area that looks promising to you — are their any associations where you can attend a meeting to learn more? How about the local Chamber of Commerce? Upcoming meetings are identified within the Leads section of the Denver Business Journal.
Don’t forget the Internet and the library for gathering info.
Find a mentor in the area that you want to work within — having someone shows you the ropes is a huge bonus.
Will you need new credentials and skills?
If so, what will the time and cost requirements be?
Is there anyway that you can shadow someone who already works in the field?
Is part-time work available? Volunteering?
Realize that what you end up doing may not be in a government manual. It may not even be identified as an occupation…until someone creates it. Don’t get in over your head until you’ve done some assessing—the pros and cons, the risks and costs (both emotional and financial). And certainly, the rewards.
Few things happen overnight. Start with the small steps. Collectively, the bridge can be crossed.