Making Career Changes Takes Heart, Not Money

June 26, 2009 07:00 AM
by Anita Gutierrez-Folch
As more people are forced to change careers due to the recession, many are finding new opportunities to pursue true passions or neglected dreams.

The Beginning of a ‘second act’

During the recession, many have had to face career transitions that they may not have been prepared to make. An article in the Chicago Tribune suggests that a successful career change requires introspection into our true passions and interests, rather than "deep pockets." According to three people who’ve made a successful change, “it's more about having a steely gut, thick skin and, above all, heart.”

Most people active in the workforce have experienced at least one or two changes in their career paths throughout their lives. According to 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cited by the Chicago Tribune, “The average person born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42.”
The Tribune spoke with a university professor turned blues singer, a neurologist who gave up his laboratory job in order to teach children in needy schools, and a housewife who chose to return to school and start a new life after her divorce—three examples of people who gave up a “safe life” in order to pursue their real passions.

This trend could be seen early on in the recession when, amid massive layoffs, financial professionals found themselves having to shift gears and find new employment. The result? Former bankers became teachers, ranchers and even comedians.

Related Topic: The logistics of transitioning

Even though every job search is different, involving different circumstances, time frames and job experience, CareerLab has identified “The 11 Steps in Career Transition” that appear along the road to a new beginning. The list emphasizes focus as one of the first and crucial steps. Take time to focus on personal motivations, interests and driving forces in order to make a decision that will provide the most satisfying outcome, the article counsels.

In many cases, career transitions can be forced by a change in current employment status. To deal with the experience of being fired or laid off, quickly set a new target that will guide you toward your future goals. Avoid thinking of the situation as a personal failure, particularly during times of economic hardship. Leaving on good terms is also an important detail to note, because it will leave the door open for contacting your former employer at a later date, if need be.

In an unstable economy, desirable new jobs are difficult to find, but they are out there. Take advice from experts and others who have survived a job loss to learn how to transform a setback into an unexpected blessing. Keeping a positive outlook on the situation is essential. According to Nicholas Nigro, author of “No Job? No Prob!: How to Pay Your Bills, Feed Your Mind, and Have a Blast When You’re Out of Work,” if you consider the loss an overwhelming defeat, it’s likely that the situation will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Reference: Career Transitions Guide

FindingDulcinea’s Career Transitions Web Guide provides resources and insight to help you get a promotion at your company, apply for a better job or even completely alter your career path. Find tips on etiquette for leaving a company or starting at a new one, and information on career counseling.

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