Friday, August 7, 2015

Thinking of a Career Change? 3 Key Considerations

Introduction: I was having our usually, wonderful collaborative conversation with long time friend and colleague Alan Allard (the guy I interviewed for the happiness series) about career concerns for his niece. I started my career coaching practice back in 1998 (phew that sounds so long ago!!) and the things I shared with him for her to consider have really held useful through-out the years.

He felt they were so valuable, he used them in his guest post at So I decided, rather than repeat myself I would curate his post and share. Enjoy!

Alan's Post
Yesterday, I received an email from someone I’ve known and respected for over a decade. Kathy* has been in middle management at a large company for the past five years, but for the past two, she's been feeling less than passionate about her work. She is contemplating a career change. When we last spoke on the phone, she said, “I’ve only told you, my husband, and one other person about this. Frankly, you’re the only one who hasn’t told me I’m nuts.”

I wasn’t surprised, but I felt for her. Most people would say that the last thing one should do in these challenging economic times is take a risk. “Hold on to what you’ve got” seems to be the popular wisdom. But guess what? Staying in a position that doesn’t challenge or fulfill you carries risks of its own. Doing so is a sure path to boredom or burnout—not to mention a missed opportunity to pursue the next grand adventure!

If you’re considering a change of direction but unsure as to what that might look like, author and career coach JoAnn Corley recommends doing three things:
  • Think in terms of function. Set aside titles and job descriptions. Instead, think about what functions you have been delivering and that might be needed in other industries. Don’t most organizations need project managers, accountants, and sales professionals? Even if you’ve spent 5-10 years in one field, your skills are likely desired elsewhere as well.
  • Look to your younger years. Take a mental trip back to childhood. What did playtime look like? A colleague of mine used to imagine hosting and interviewing guests รก la Johnny Carson (this was pre-Oprah!). Today, she has worked for more than a decade as a speaker and trainer, putting her natural bent for entertainment to use.
  • Steer clear of the classroom. Fear and uncertainty send too many viable employees back to school. Is another degree really necessary, or just an excuse to postpone the inevitable? Companies don't hire diplomas; they hire people who can perform. Your job is to convince the hiring manager that you can solve problems and uncover opportunities.
Of course, there's more to changing careers than these three bullet points, but that's plenty to mull over for now. If you have a specific question about reinventing yourself or your career, leave a comment. I'll be happy to explore the issue further.
Alan Allard, Career Coach  |  Or: you can contact me via the CONTACT TAB to the bottom right...

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