Mid-life career changers often feel totally overwhelmed when they contemplate all the things they have to do. In fact, the reason most career change fizzles is related to lack of time. If you’re working 40 to 50 hours a week, how will you squeeze in your search for a new career? And where do you start?
— Career change time doesn’t work the same as career success time.
When you have a job in a corporation, you often realize you need to focus. Your mission is to “get the job done.” But when you want to find a new career, openness is more important than focus. A distraction may turn out to hold the key to your next life.
Serendipity used to be considered woo-woo and even a little silly. But browse through serious academic journals of career research and you will find a surprising number of people find a new career by accident, not through a step-by-step careful process.
For some reason, though, working through a step-by- step process can trigger a serendipitous experience. You consider a career that combines your love of math and mechanics with your fascination with medical miracles. One day you meet someone who enrolled in a degree program for biomechanical engineering and you have an “aha” moment you could never have achieved by deliberate planning.
— Think of juggling several balls in the air, not pitching one of them at a time.
When you’re just getting started on a search for your next career, you need to explore multiple options simultaneously, not sequentially. For instance, you might be considering a return to school for an advanced degree, a temporary job to pay the bills while you start a business and a new role in your current company.
When you focus on just one option, you may need weeks or even months to sort out the possibilities. Any of these options could turn into a dead end. If you just focus on one thing at a time, you’ve lost weeks and months with little to show for your efforts.
— Make career planning your number one priority.
Recognize that you may have to give up some recreational activities and personal time. Remove nay-saying friends from your life. Get the family on board even if you have to hire a counselor or relationship coach.
Mid-Life Career Strategy can be especially challenging because the rules keep changing as you move in new directions. Now you can download a FREE gift, “3 Secrets of Successful Midlife Career Change,” at Mid-Life Career Choice. For a proven time management system visit Time Management For Careers. From Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., an author, speaker and career consultant who specializes in helping mid-life mid-career professionals and executives navigate career journeys.