Launch your new career to support both your personal career development and successes. Whatever your motivation, acting on that decision to launch a second career can be overwhelming.Can you go back into the job you once had, or has it significantlychanged since you left it. Are you ready to start a new career? Do youeven have the time and money to do so?
Once you’ve made the decision, there are plenty of new and very scary factors to take into consideration. Yes, you’re free to do whatever you want, but you won’t have the safety net of a nine-to-five job. And when you’re working for yourself, sickies aren’t really an option. Here, then, is a five-point plan to going solo and what it takes to make the leap – aka Why Don’t You (Just Jack In Your Day Job And Go And Do Something Less Boring Instead)?
We’ve all been there: staring out of the office window thinking, “There has to be more to life than this,” aware that we’re wasting our best years working for The Man when we could be doing it on our own terms instead. So what’s stopping us? If those numpties on The Apprentice can be entrepreneurs, surely any of us can? Wouldn’t it be better to be CEO of a company of one than just another minion struggling up the corporate ladder?
Before you dive in, here’s some advice to guide you through this tricky time.
Learn From Your First Career
Launching a second career means more than simply doing the exact opposite of your current career. You may even like some aspects of your current career,and you don’t have to discard them entirely.
Rather, what youshould do is take a look at your current career and identify the thingsyou like and the things you dislike. Make a list of the likes anddislikes, and then seek out a second career that retains the likes anddispenses with the dislikes.
Consider If Your Hobby Can Become a Business
It’s a question many people ask themselves when they are considering acareer change. That thing you love doing in your spare time — can itbecome your main source of income? Usually, hobbies require aninvestment of time and money, so turning that into a moneymaker could be a losing proposition. Even if your particular hobby creates somethingthat is in great demand, do the costs of the materials and the time ittakes to create it make financial sense? You will need to crunch thenumbers and see if scaling the operation into a full-time venture ispossible. And remember, most new businesses see little-to-no profitduring the first few years, so even if it’s in the cards, you’ll needanother source of income in the meantime.
Adjust Your Expectations
Technology has changed quickly, and the job skills you possessed before may be considered obsolete now. Picking up right where you left off may not be possible, so take a step back and carefully examine your skills, and the current state of the industry. If you were working in a field that has undergone little-to-no change over the years, such as tailoring or baking, you should have no problem adjusting. But if you were in advertising, medicine, IT, engineering, or finance, you could find the radical changes in the industry will severely hinder your usefulness to an employer. Retraining, and even working for free to gain experience, will be invaluable.
In the case of a second, new career, even though you have matured and you believe you have more to offer, that doesn’t translate well to an employer. It’s not enough to have “quick learner” on your resume. Expect and accept that in order to go forward, you will almost certainly have to retrain and acquire new skills before you can even think of submitting a resume.
While you’re working on that, find a job — any job — that can get you back into the workforce. Not only is this incredibly helpful at re-acquainting you with a daily routine, and working with others, but it also puts something solid on your resume. Someone who is actively employed, and gaining experience, is more appealing to a future employer than someone who is “waiting for the ideal opportunity.”
Select Your New Career Based on Your Well-Prepared Career Goals
Before selecting a new career, you need to clearly set out your new careergoals. For example, millions of Americans between the ages of 44 and 70are looking for “encore careers.” These are second careers that combinepersonal meaning, social impact, and, levels of income that areconsistent with or higher than a person’s income in their previouscareer. Younger career-changers may also be looking for such encorecareers, or they may be driven by desires like increased income, jobsatisfaction and engagement, and employability.
Once you are crystal clear on your career goals, you can go about choosing a new career path that best aligns with these goals.
Look for Something That Fulfills You
Many people leave high profile jobs with the hope of doing good and helpingothers. It may result in less pay and benefits, but the rewards faroutweigh the financial setback. For example, a journalism professor in a local university in Colorado used to write for the NY Times, andFortune magazine. He gave that up to teach others what he knows, trading the tight deadlines and stress for a career in education. And as hisstudents will tell you, they have never met a more fantastic andenthusiastic teacher or mentor. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, and something like this inspires you, remember that you can get amaster’s degree. You, too, could go into teaching. If not teaching, what else inspires you? Is it working with sick animals? Pursue a dream, ifyou can.
Be prepared for a longride.
The average American in an encore career takes 18 months to makethe transition, and 67 percent of those folks had reduced or zero income during that transition period. If you want to pursue an encore career,start saving now, and be mentally prepared for the journey ahead.
Ask Yourself If a New Career Even Possible Right Now
This is a tough question to ask yourself, but it’s a crucial one. After everything you have read, you must consider your options, and the reality of the marketplace. Is this the right time for you to switch careers, or re-enter the workforce? Do your research. Ask friends and colleagues who are out there making a living in those areas you’re interested in. And while you take all that in, it’s very possible you may have to remain in your current profession, or one closely related to it, for a little while longer.
Ten tips to become successful in your career
Because the world has become so competitive, you will have to do your best to secure your share of success.
Be Polite to the Receptionist
It is amazing how much the receptionists know and can help you. Maybe they will be your gatekeeper and stop pesty calls, maybe they will store your online shopping delivery, maybe they know the CEO really well after working there for 30 years and will be an informal advocate of yours.
It will never hurt your career to be polite to people, even those who don’t ‘seem’ to be able to help you advance your career.
No More Excuses
You can always find an excuse for not taking action. Remove “if only” from your vocabulary. For example, stop thinking “ifonly I didn’t have that deadline, I could really focus on my painting”or “if only my client wasn’t so demanding, I could start thinking aboutthat novel I’ve wanted to write.”
Meet and Greet
Starting with your immediate colleagues, say hello and get to know your fellowworkers, you will affect each other’s work so it is in everyone’sinterest to be friendly and co-operative. Then take the time to meetyour peers in other divisions, areas of the business and network aroundso that when you do need something from them or to ask for help, youhave previously taken a few minutes to introduce yourself.
Set and stick to personal deadlines.
Stay current with technology. You don’t have to be a maverick on Twitter,but you should understand how it works. I recommend exploring each ofthe more popular social media platforms for work: Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn and Instagram. You should be proficient with computers,navigating online and Microsoft’s main products (Word, PowerPoint andExcel). Microsoft has some great free online tutorials you can take, oryou can explore courses given at your local community college.
While it’s not easy to find extra time, it is possible.
Cultivate Double-Duty Activities: “For example, if you are interested in photography but have no time to practice because you’re always at work, see if there is a way to do some photography on the job by offering to be the official photographer at a work event.”
Skip the blame game.
Itis not your boss’s job to make time for you to tend to your hydrangeasor get to that yoga class. Take responsibility — you have more controlthan you think.
“When you finally get a vacation, rather than kick back at the beach, consider taking an intensive class or working with a career coach.”
Be a Slacker
“Many of us give 115 percent at work. What’s the worst thing if you just gave 100 percent for a while to make room for more things in your life?”
Making a career change can be difficult, but it’s also increasingly becoming the norm. Starting a second career isn’t the same as starting your first, but if you follow these tips, you’ll position yourself for success on your new professional path.