No wonder that in this economy more and more people are playing with the idea of changing their careers. For some, such a change represents an opportunity; For others, this may be a necessity as their industries change, shrink, or die out. The question that my customers are asking more and more frequently is how to proceed. Unfortunately there is no one simple or one-size-fits-all answer as every situation is unique. In other words, two people’s circumstances are not the same. A career coach cannot make such a decision for a client. The answer has to come from the individual. A career coach can of course advise, guide and support the process.
Let’s make sure we understand that I’m not referring to a job Change. ONE Career Change is a radical change – for example, a financial executive buying a restaurant or a manager at AT&T, a well-known communications company that manages an adult community or nursing home. These are real life examples of people who have managed to make these changes. I know you personally. So the questions are: What is driving the process? and what does it take to emerge victorious?
Now, let’s agree from the start that changing careers carries significant risk. Not all career changes work well. Such decisions have at least two main components: intellectual and emotional. The emotional part includes the pain a person endures, which greatly motivates the person and drives them to risk taking. The other component is the intellectual part, which includes, for example, the person’s need or desire to make more money, or the person’s disappointment with the industry or the nature of the current job, or with an unbearable boss who doesn’t seem to be soon leave.
At the center of the decision-making process are three questions that require specific answers:
- What are the values of the career change individual?
- What does the person changing job have to offer a potential employer?
- What does the person changing job expect in return?
Values have to do with feelings about family, recognition, financial rewards, security, promotion, belonging, commitment, loyalty, and so on. The answer to what one has to offer will be an analysis of the skills – such as marketing, presentation, sales, research, and data analysis – and then identifying whether one has the traits that support those skills: Is the person aggressive ? , independent, articulate, convincing, logical, visionary?
The remaining expense deals with what the person desires in return. This affects environmental and cultural factors. For example, does the person enjoy working in small or large organizations? How does the person feel about leadership styles, corporate policy, corporate reputation, work-life balance and flexitime for new parents, for example? And how about critical issues such as salary, health insurance, and investment programs versus the minimum compensation and benefits required?
As you can see, changing careers is complex. My advice is to consult someone to guide you as you navigate this maze. And it is a challenging labyrinth indeed.