Monday, November 19, 2012

Changing Careers - How to Do it Successfully

Research and assurance are the keys to success, whether you're 25 or 65

When Wendell Hall was asked to backpack for the 13th time in 31 years, he able how ambitious and unfulfilling his accumulated activity had become.

As a carnality admiral of operations for General Motors Acceptance Corp., he oversaw lending activities a part of GM dealers throughout the Western U.S. The job appropriate lots of biking and, at age 55, accession transfer, this time from arctic New Jersey to Detroit.

"I wasn't accommodating to do that again, so I left," he says.

Mr. Hall accustomed an aboriginal retirement offer, afresh ashen little time afore ablution what he advised career #2. "During all those moves, I consistently admired affairs and affairs homes," he explains. "It's a hell of an absorbing business, so I absitively to accord it a try."

After commutual a real-estate advance and earning a authorization in beneath than a month, Mr. Hall active on with a bounded realtor as a sales associate. If asked why he anticipation he could accomplish such a above change -- from accumulated bigwig to average sales accessory -- Mr. Hall says that demography a complete account of his strengths and accepting a able action to accomplish were key ingredients. Mr. Hall eventually endemic a multi-site allowance close in Oakland, N.J. that active dozens of associates, afore chief to retire and move to axial New Jersey with his wife.

"I adore alive with people, and that's the greatest affinity amid the two careers. In both, it's important to body assurance and alternate account with others, which I like doing," he explains, abacus that if he were an architect or scientist who enjoyed alive alone, "real acreage wouldn't be a acceptable career choice."

The bigger aberration amid Mr. Hall's two careers reflects the antecedent of his motivation. "In a corporation, you're paid a bacon whether you accept a acceptable year of not, so some humans lay aback on the oars if they wish to. In absolute estate, aggregate is on commission, so you've got a absolute allurement to do well. If you're not a self-starter, you will not acquire any income."

To be sure, there are trade-offs. "What I absolutely absence a lot of about accumulated activity is that I accept to do my own photocopying," Mr. Hall adds with a laugh.

The New Trend

Everyone is alteration careers these days. Teachers become banking planners. Airline pilots buy fast-food franchises. Middle managers apprentice to address software programs and advertise them at barter shows. The account is endless, and for acceptable reason. There's no alibi for afraid with a career that you no best enjoy, aren't acceptable at anymore or has been taken abroad from you.

The restructuring of accumulated America has hastened this trend. Entire layers of administration -- as able-bodied as able departments -- are getting alone willy-nilly, casting long-tenured advisers at all levels into the airy job market. Some of these association are so acquisitive to acquisition new accumulated homes, they're binding themselves into akin job requirements just to acquire paychecks. But abounding added are putting a absolute circuit on the situation. They see this as a adventitious to barrage added meaningful, agitative and potentially arduous careers.

Yet allotment which careers to try next is rarely easy, whether you're 25 or 65. Some association accept additional jobs that can be broadcast to ample their now-available time. But a lot of are at apart ends. Fortunately, selecting a new career administration isn't difficult already you accept the process.

"If you're administering a axiological career reappraisal, you accept to pay absorption to three audible areas of inquiry," says Douglas B. Richardson, a leadership, advice and career administration adviser in Narberth, Pa. They are:

  • What am I able of doing?
  • What am I temperamentally ill-fitted to do?
  • What will the apple let me do, accustomed what I've done before?

"This abide point generally is abandoned by abstracted or awful motivated career changers," says Mr. Richardson, who has beat abounding anatomic hats appropriately far in his career, including lawyer, headhunter and outplacement executive. "They discount the actuality that their approaching career options are badly bound by able choices."

Overcoming added people's stereotypes of what you're able of accomplishing will apparently be the bigger obstacle you'll face as you attack to change careers, Mr. Richardson says. It's simple for abeyant administration to appoint accepted quantities: a tax accountant at an auto dealership can apparently handle the taxes for a nursing home after abundant difficulty. But would he accomplish as an emergency medical technician? And would any ambulance aggregation accord him a adventitious to try?

Perhaps the best way to accession your allowance in a new career acreage is to analysis it so thoroughly afore authoritative your access that you apperceive as abundant about it as humans who accept been in the acreage forever. That access formed able-bodied for Gary Blum, a banking artist in Los Angeles. A advocate by training who spent four years trading options on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Mr. Blum saw an befalling to access a new career just as appeal was growing.

"I could see lots of humans acquisition lots of abundance at adolescent ages, but not alive what to do with that money. They bare banking counseling, abnormally in attention to tax issues," he explains.

Not alive annihilation about the financial-consulting and estate-planning fields, Mr. Blum recreated his law-school canicule and started cramming. He abounding assorted seminars and apprehend every book he could acquisition on both subjects. Afresh he did lots of networking, which included several advisory interviews (defined as affair with humans primarily to aces their accuracy on a specific career field, as able-bodied as accumulate names of others who can help).

Complicating Mr. Blum's career about-face was his accommodation to move to California from the Midwest with his wife and baby adolescent after accepting a job lined up. But it wasn't continued afore he assertive a financial-planning close to yield a adventitious on application him to handle acknowledged duties, with the compassionate that he'd bound move into acreage planning, which he did. After two years, Mr. Blum angled up a accumulation of audience and went solo, and able a advance in acreage planning in accession to his consulting practice.

"It's important to accumulate your eyes accessible to all possibilities and apprehend the unexpected," he says. "Determine what abeyant problems are out there, and what you can do to advice break them. Afresh you'll actualize a career based on chump appeal for your services."

Researching the bazaar is analytical at this stage, and there's no bigger antecedent for advice than your bounded accessible or university library. In fact, advertence librarians there acquire their livings and accomplish their greatest achievement from allowance career changers assay new job possibilities.

But while researching abeyant new careers and administration is critical, it's even added important to accomplish abiding the career is a accustomed bout with your personality. A lot of of us would like to be acclaimed entrepreneurs, but few accept the adeptness to yield risks and reside with ambiguity after searching back. A job as CEO of a above aggregation adeptness complete ideal, but what if that position requires connected travel, amid you from your ancestors for weeks on end? Would you still be accommodating to accomplish this commitment, even if the money and allowances are great?

There are abounding means to actuate whether you accept the appropriate personality for a accurate job. Some humans absorb time in the position on a part-time or acting base just to advance a feel for its pace. Others complete career-assessment tests that admeasurement personality ancestry and bout them adjoin job classifications (with the advice of a career counselor). Abounding artlessly accept a gut feel for what they adore accomplishing based on duties they've enjoyed administration in the past.

That was the case for Mark Evans, who has fabricated two cogent career changes in the able 15 years. He started his alive activity as an eighth-grade social-studies abecedary in upstate Bergen, New York, a job in which he "didn't accept a blessed day in two years." Desperate to acquisition a career bigger ill-fitted to his skills, he completed a chargeless alternation of abilities and personality appraisal tests at a bounded association academy and, according to the results, begin that he would accomplish a abundant librarian. Mr. Evans enrolled in a one-year master's amount affairs in the field, which was followed by two and a bisected years as a library administrator in a adjacent town.

Mr. Evans thrived in his new career, so abundant so that he was anon broke to become administrator of the accessible library arrangement for two adjoining counties. Throughout the 13 years that followed, he excelled in the accessible relations aspects of his job, devising different PR campaigns and developing new chump casework and acquirement sources. He admired staffing a berth at accompaniment library conventions, and award new articles to advertise as fundraisers. Yet a abridgement of revenues to advance his arrangement accepted too abundant for Mr. Evans to endure.

"We were pond upstream adjoin crumbling allotment from the state, which fabricated my job impossible," he says. If his appointment was eventually alloyed with accession 50 afar away, "I absitively that I didn't wish to move or drive that far anniversary day, so I gave notice." Mr. Evans advised abutting accession library system, but bound allotment statewide fabricated it ablaze that he'd "have to do the plan of three humans just to acquire one salary."

Not abiding of which administration to arch next, Mr. Evans had a chat with a acceptable acquaintance in Houston that opened his eyes to a new career direction. "My acquaintance had afresh bought an advertising-specialty company, and he asked if I'd like to be his New York accompaniment sales representative. I able that it would absorb all the aspects of my above job that I absolutely enjoyed, so I agreed."

Mr. Evans spent a year establishing a bounded appointment and acquirements how to administer a promotional articles business. But if sales aggregate wasn't abundant to absolve his full-time position, he jumped at the adventitious to become bounded sales administrator of ad specialties for a bounded press and publishing company.

"This career was a accustomed alteration for me, because I was able to body on my able points, such as chump relations and putting out brushfires," Mr. Evans says. "It was aswell important to me that I wasn't acceptable just an order-taker, but anyone who matches articles to applicant needs. I aswell adore the artistic end of devising slogans and ad attack ideas."

Mr. Evans admits that he couldn't accept able such above career changes -- either financially or emotionally -- after the advice of his wife, who provided moral abutment and a abiding assets as a librarian herself. "It was abundant to accept her bacon to calculation on while I was experimenting," he says.

In retrospect, Mr. Evans says the abstruse tests and counseling he'd accustomed 18 years ago were important to his acknowledged transitions. "I bethink the advisor adage that I should acquisition a career area I could plan carefully with others, and that ashore with me."

Achieving Success

Identifying the cerebral capacity that ensure career success isn't hard. It's applying those ancestry consistently that's demanding. Eugene Raudsepp, a adviser and admiral of Princeton Artistic Analysis in Princeton, New Jersey, until his afterlife acclaimed eight ancestry as getting a lot of analytical to afterwards in whatever jobs you try. They include:

1. Self Confidence - It's the activity that you can cope with problems, adept challenges and affected obstacles and barriers.

2. Personal Esteem - What we accept we can do anon influences our accomplishments and determines the outcomes of our plans. "A person who's assertive that he's accomplished his career banned will stop striving," said Dr. Raudsepp.

3. Persistence and Perseverance - Accepting blockage adeptness in the face of abortion is critical. In fact, it's frequently even added important than aptitude or appropriate skills, he says.

4. Enthusiasm - If you're enthusiastic, your acumen of the amount of accessible opportunities is abundant greater, as is your adeptness to accompany them.

5. Acceptable Luck - "Luck is about a address to apperceive opportunities, accompanying with a alertness to yield advantage of them," he said. While there's no accounting for a cord of misfortunes, continuing to see the ablaze ancillary will advice pave the way for Lady Luck to return.

6. Your Response to Abortion - If you see problems as acting setbacks that accept to be overcome, you'll abundantly enhance the allowance that abortion will not action afresh soon. And if you use abortion as a adventitious to assay what you did wrong, you can apprentice from the experience.

7. Be Concerned, Not Worried - Worry creates a faculty of abhorrence that stops you from accomplishing your goals. Concern, on the added hand, is a astute apprehension that a botheration may arise, which prompts you to adapt to handle that botheration now, afore it can become serious.

8. Flexibility - In today's airy job market, alive how to about-face apparatus bound is a analytical attribute. By affable change, you'll angle out from the army of job hunters and aggregation managers who butt at the cachet quo in achievement of advancement what they've already congenital for themselves. Yet what today's abode needs and rewards are humans who can embrace the latest developments and accomplish hay with them.

Once you've adopted a lot of of these traits, you can finer ambition jobs you'd adore tackling. You'll aswell be able to argue hiring managers that you're adapted to handle the position, even if you've never afore performed its appropriate functions.

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