Taking Chances on a New Career
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach | Possibility Thinker
We choose careers for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we choose based on someone we look up to and admire. When I was little, for example, my plan was to become a nurse. My mother was a nurse. So were two of her sisters. At the time, I think I was drawn to the crisp white uniforms and snappy caps that nurses wore back in the 1950's and early 60's. Later, in high school, while taking chemistry, it occurred to me that perhaps nursing wasn't in my future after all. And that doesn't even mention my dislike for needles and blood. Nursing would never have been my true calling now that I know better.
I wound up opting for teaching because it felt like the second of three choices I had available to me at the time. Back in the early 1970's, the women's movement was just being born. For most women, career choices consisted of nursing, teaching, or secretarial work. I had given up on my delusional idea of being a nurse. I had no interest in office work. So teaching it was. I even had to do a coin toss to select between English or history because I liked both subjects. I settled on English. (Don' ask me why.)
I had been lucky in one respect, however.
My freshman year in college, I had the privilege of working in the library as part of my student-loan program. I fell in love with the librarians and with the work I did. And I felt like I had found my new home. I settled on the idea of becoming a school librarian since I would have to delay getting a Masters in Library Science for financial reasons. But I was able to get certified as an English teacher and as a K-12 School Library Media Specialist. I loved being a librarian. I always said because I believed it that I had the best job in the building. I love books, and I got to teach without having all of the responsibilities of the classroom teacher. I got to change up my routine from day to day and I got to work with all the kids, not just one class at a time. I truly loved it and feel blessed that I had that experience.
I might still be doing that today if fate hadn't intervened. When my term at the Virginia Education Association came to a close, I was on track to return to my school division where I had been on an extended leave of absence. The only assignment they had for me was in the classroom to teach English. I had done a three-year stint in a middle school back in the late 1980's. I knew I didn't want to go back to that to wind up my career. I also knew I didn't have the energy or the stamina for teaching middle schoolers. So I had to find something else to do with my life.
If you are lucky, you find a job that you are suited for when you are young. But as time passes, things change. Many people begin to feel disillusioned with the career they have chosen. It isn’t what they thought it would be or circumstances change so that it is no longer a good fit for you.
At this point, you may start to think about changing careers.
That can feel daunting, however, because it may very well mean starting over. That is a scary proposition, especially if you have been in a certain career for several years. It’s likely you have climbed the corporate ladder or earned seniority and are earning a pretty decent salary. Starting over is sure to require a cut in pay that can adversely affect the life of both you and your family.
Taking on a new career is not just about a cut in money, either. It also means starting over as far as the "pecking order" that was gained after many years in the original career. This too can be an awfully scary proposition, too. Another factor for career changers is that they are typically older workers. If people do decide to switch, they tend to do it in their forties or fifties. This means they have as little experience in the new career as someone just starting out and younger. That can be intimidating even for the boldest hearted individual.
If you are considering a career change and you have thought about the issues above, you should know that there are positives that you should consider when making your decision. The first is that money isn’t everything. Sometimes, getting out of a bad situation is enough to overcome the objection of less money. Besides, the Internet makes it easy to earn extra income, either by selling online or doing work for others. It is no longer necessary to work at a physical location when trying to earn extra money.
The second factor regarding lack of experience in a new career is the fact that it will be new for you. This can be exciting as well as intimidating. There will likely be a learning curve. Think back to when you first started in your original career. Any new achievement made you feel like you could rule the world. Learning a new job can be reinvigorating as you learn the ropes in your new position. But it may take time.
The third factor where you have no seniority, remind yourself that you do have work and life experience that can still be brought to the table. If you have any management experience, that can easily carry over into a new job. And you will know how to handle adverse situations better than your younger colleagues. I watched the movie The Intern just last night. The character played by Robert DeNiro was perfect. He became someone his younger boss and colleagues turned to for his wisdom and gentle manner. He had life experience they lacked, and they tapped into that experience time and time again.
Here is the bottom line.
Staying in a career you no longer enjoy will take years off your life. Literally. Is it worth it?
If you have thought about taking a chance in starting a new career, know that others have done it and have made it work. Is it easy? Not necessarily. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
If you are contemplating making such a move, perhaps you could use some help. Please feel free to schedule a 20-minute complimentary session with me to talk about what may be holding you back from making the change you want. I will share with you what I know based on my experience helping dozens of individuals who have made a change mid-career.
To make an appointment, go below and follow the directions. I would love to chat with you.
To schedule a 20-minute complimentary Discover Session, click here: http://kittyboitnott.coachesconsole.com/calendar.