But One with Ample Resources to Help You Meet the Challenge
While some people make the decision to switch careers after relatively brief experience in the workplace, if my clients are representative of the universe of career changers, most people make the decision after 10-15 years in their first career. What’s interesting about this is that virtually all of these people told me that they were never satisfied with their occupational choices.
Why is there a significant lapse between the time people become aware of their dissatisfaction and the point at which they take action to remedy the situation?
My theory: All of these clients had bachelor’s degrees, with many having earned master’s and JD degrees. Rather than face the disappointing reality of having invested the time and money toward acquiring credentials that qualified them for a career they found unfulfilling, they kept putting off the decision, often thinking, wishfully, that merely changing employers – rather than careers – would dispel their discontent. But at some point, they realized that – contemplating an employment horizon of 20 or more years – the moment of truth had arrived: they had to make a change.
Delaying the Decision May Limit Your Options
While the task of pinpointing a suitable alternative career is always a challenge, that challenge is compounded to the extent that one has postponed the decision. The reason: The older you are, the greater your financial obligations will likely be, which, in turn, will limit your career options.
For one thing, it could prevent you from undertaking an educational program required to enter an occupation that promises greater gratification.
And, even if you gravitate toward a field that’s feasible to enter without further education, at the very least, you may have to accept a reduction in compensation – which could deter you from making the move.
Women Re-entering the Workplace
Many women who want to resume their careers formerly held professional positions in such industries as financial services, retailing, information technology, and packaged goods. But now, they are fairly flexible in their choice of a career – their overriding goal is to get reestablished in the professional workplace.
One of the challenges unique to this group is the need to identify positions that – while not necessarily high-paying – will be steppingstones to increasingly higher positions, along with a concomitant growth in compensation. At the same time, many women seek part-time work as their initial reentry point in the workplace so they can retain some flexibility in their schedules. While these two requirements – gaining a position on a professional career track and doing so initially on a part-time basis – may seem antithetical, they need not be – depending, of course, on one’s skills and interests.
A Plethora of Useful Resources
With the Internet, books, the placement offices of one’s alma mater, and an abundance of advice available from friends and colleagues, no one who desires a career change will lack for information. If anything, the sheer volume of resources may overwhelm people looking for a new career, such that they are at a loss as to what their first step should be.
Many people turn to vocational testing for guidance, sometimes spending thousands of dollars on such services. Fortunately, the Self-Directed Search, a highly regarded interest test, can be taken online for a nominal charge. You may find that completing the test provides you with the direction you need to identify a suitable alternative career.
Because vocational testing is a multifaceted subject that merits a more extensive discussion, in my next post, I’ll discuss the differences between interest and aptitude tests, as well as which type of test is most appropriate for particular categories of career changers.
Copyright © 2008 Janice Weinberg. All rights reserved worldwide.
|Janice Weinberg is the founder of Career Solutions, a Westport, Connecticut-based consultancy that serves an international clientele, and the author of How to Win the Job You Really Want (Henry Holt & Co.). Her latest book, Debugging Your Information Technology™ Career (Elegant Fix Press, LLC), describes 20 careers that represent excellent alternatives for those seeking a career change from IT because computer proficiency is a strong asset in both entering and succeeding in these fields.|
I am happy to announce that my dear friend Janice Weinberg will contribute regular articles on changing careers and on mothers re-entering the job market to this blog beginning some time this month.
Janice is a successful consultant, lecturer, author and founder of Career Solutions. Her book, How to Win the Job You Really Want, was published in 1995. Her newer book, Debugging Your Information Technology™ Career, became available very recently.
Janice will discuss a number of fascinating and relevant topics that you will enjoy and find beneficial. If you have a specific issue you would like her to address, please post it here as a comment. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that Janice will respond to each and every question, but I do promise to pass every one on to her.
This is my first post to address alternative careers.
Many people who entered the workplace 10, 20, or more years ago are reconsidering their career choices.
In some cases, the decision to seek a new occupation is motivated by the desire for a change. In other instances, external factors are forcing people who enjoy their work to turn to alternative occupations.
Case in point: The information technology profession has been greatly affected by offshore outsourcing which – despite generating a fraction of the media coverage it received several years ago – continues to be used by companies as a cost control measure … and at a rate that is only increasing.
Thousands of computer professionals affected by offshoring have already switched to teaching, nursing and other occupations they believe will protect them from the practice. And those who remain in the IT field continue to be concerned about offshoring’s potential impact on the security of their jobs.
However, to the extent that computer professionals feel threatened by offshoring – or have already made 180-degree career changes – it may reflect their lack of information about the importance of computer knowledge in occupations that are not on the traditional IT career path.
A new book, Debugging Your Information Technology Career, addresses this lack of information. The author, Janice Weinberg, a friend for more than 20 years, is a Connecticut career consultant who was formerly a computer professional at IBM and GE.
If you know a computer professional – or someone who is considering becoming one – you may want to tell them about this book, which I believe they’ll find both enlightening and encouraging.
More information about Debugging Your Information Technology Career is available at Janice’s Career Solutions website.