You're already thinking about making the change. And
you're beginning to surf for stories about job changing, reinventing
yourself, and finding workplace satisfaction. Now what?
Navigating a Sea of Open-Ended
Work is just one expression of life. When your
once-satisfying job no longer gives you the same enjoyment, it may be
time to consider preparing yourself for another, more meaningful
pursuit. Being "finished" with your current role is the first step
toward opening yourself up to the possibilities of a career transition.
But how do you break out?
Seven Perspectives to Define
Go back to school.
Retraining can help you build the credibility necessary to switch
careers after an injury, epiphany, or geographic change. Going back
to school gives you a chance to learn a new role, how to break into
it, and what a new industry is all about. It'll also give you a
chance to learn the lingo you'll need to talk shop with prospective
Think of your interchangeable skills.
Begin viewing your daily tasks as items in a skill set that can be
applied across different industries. For example, legal-support and
executive-secretarial workers possess, by virtue of job description,
basic management skills. Complex organization, scheduling, computer,
and human resources skills build good managers, and successful
administrative support-staff members have those skills in place.
Package your skill set for maximum
Do all of the stuff the resume guides suggest. Think of your
contributions to an organization and the positive results.
Unashamedly list them. Go into some detail when you draft your
resume, then pare back. Get feedback on your resume; adapt it as you
learn, through networking conversations, what employers want.
Make a values-driven life change.
If once-satisfying work has lost its meaning because you've grown
beyond your current position (and just now noticed), examine your
values toward family, productivity, leisure, personal growth,
health, and community to make sure you choose a field that
complements those values. Meaningful work can involve many things.
Talk to friends, mentors, coworkers, and your
In that case, focus your efforts on your friends and mentors, who
can also give you insights into what you might do; it's likely
they'll have contacts among people with whom you can start
Get others involved in helping you find what you want to do. Talk to
your coworkers and boss�it may be that you can find a role in
another part of the organization where you can excel. You can also
cushion the shock of leaving by letting them in on what you're
thinking, even as you use your employer-sponsored tuition
reimbursement benefit (provided you have one). Though, of course, in
today's especially tight job market and down economy, there may be
no room for movement at your company. And, in that case, voicing
your dissatisfaction may be the wrong thing to do.
Investigate local resources for career
Don't expect employment agencies to help. They like the sure thing
and the quick commission. However, other avenues to different
industries exist in community colleges, non-profit organizations
that specialize in mid-career transitions, and university extension
programs. See what's out there.
Use visualization to try on different jobs.
A common psychotherapeutic technique, visualization can be used not
only to see situations differently, but to see different situations.
Relax and envision yourself as an artist, a real estate agent, a
mathematician, a cop, or a rock star. How do you look in that role,
going about the day? What part of the job do you like the best? What
holds your interest? The information you gain from this exercise
might help you find a path to a new career.