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Embracing the Pursuit of a Career Change


Guest Blogger

“I know exactly what I want to do. I am clearly focused on the goals I want to achieve and the type of position I need to be in for career advancement.” Such statements made from a recent college grad or professional at any age sound refreshing but they seem less and less common. Kudos to anyone who has their professional trajectory mapped out and on track. The rest of us are on a winding path without a destination in sight.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Young, bright and ambitious college graduates are promised dynamic futures in exchange for academic dedication. Second-guessing and regret ensues after an empty job search or entry-level disaster. Thoughts of career change don’t just flood the minds of youngsters either. After years in the same profession, an unfulfilled attitude can float to the surface. Traditionally, high school students move on straight to college, yet 18 is such a young age for determining what to do professionally for the rest of adulthood. Reflect on what you were you like at age 18 or 21. It’s not until you work at your first job and collect more life experience that you start to understand yourself your strengths and weaknesses. You develop interests and identify passions. Before you know it, you know what you want, but you’re tethered to a desk job without an escape route.

Choices

For example, you may have heard that pest control company Orkin is hiring technicians in Indianapolis and you’re surprised by your interest. Perhaps you just graduated in creative writing and feel defeated by the unforgiving job search. Maybe you’ve been stuck behind a desk staring into a computer in need of a change of scenery. For someone who has worn a suit and tie to the office Monday through Friday, the rugged and dirty nature of pest control technician may appeal.

Look Before You Jump

Change is scary, though. A career change is time consuming as well as emotionally and financially risky. Great Heights Coaching suggests that the risk is worth taking if you recognize any of the following career-changing signs:

  • Strengths and talents aren’t maximized
  • Hostile, toxic or disrespectful work environment or culture
  • Negative effects on your personal life
  • Work feels meaningless, boring and not challenging
  • Feeling unrecognized or not rewarded for accomplishments

Before you take the plunge, prepare properly with these tips:

  • Don’t quit your job. Changing your career or going back to school should be a thoughtful process full of research. You still need an income while planning.
  • Understand the necessary educational requirements and skills for entering a new profession or industry. Be passionate AND qualified.
  • Evaluate your current strengths, skills and knowledge. Determine how they can be applied in a new position.
  • Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics for information about the economy and occupations. Research an occupation at www.bls.gov/ooh and learn about median pay and projected number of jobs as well as education and training requirements.
  • Establish a realistic timeline. Project how long it will take to complete a program in grad school or acquire a license and certification in pest control, for example.

A major career change takes fortitude and commitment. At the start of your journey, write down your dreams, goals and reasons for your decision. Refer to it during tough times. Work hard, and make it happen.

By Tom Hurdle. Tom is a freelance writer who lives in Denver, Col

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Fri, February 15 2013 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Leadership

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