In the last post we looked at 5 mistakes from an article in Monster.com. Read the original article here.
Tip #6 was,”Don’t Keep Your Dissatisfaction to Yourself or Try to Make the Switch Alone.”
This tip is on the right track. They make a good point: don’t talk to your boss “just yet.” I’d say, keep your boss out of the loop on this one! Be very careful about talking to friends and family. Most of them will put you down and many will say things like, “It’s just a job – what’s the big deal?”
Here’s where a lot of people (including the author of this article) confuse job search with career change. they say, “Friends, family and colleagues need to know what’s going on so they can help you tap into that large percentage of jobs that aren’t advertised.”
That’s true – if you are looking for a new job. But for career change, this step is premature. You need to tap into sources for informational interviews and fact-finding. These days, you need contacts. The halcyon days of the Parachute book are long gone. you won’t find many bored executives who are eager to talk to strangers.
Most people won’t take your call unless you come with a recommendation: “Anne Jones gave me your name.” If possible, get Anne Jones to call ahead so you won’t come as a surprise out of nowhere.
And here’s a key point of etiquette. If Anne says, “I see you’re interested in information technology. I don’t know IT people but I know someone in information science who uses IT in a library. Would you like to talk to her?”
Your answer should be, “Yes – I really would!” Then you absolutely, positively follow up with a call. If Anne’s gone to the trouble to set something up, you need to make those calls, even if you are 99% sure you are not interested. Almost always, if you have a good script for informational interviews, you will get information that will prove useful in unexpected ways.”
Tip #7 reads, “Don’t Go Back to School Unless You’ve Done Some Test-Drives in the New Field.”
Generally I would agree. However, be aware that internships (which I don’t recommend for mid-career executives) and volunteer jobs won’t give you an accurate perspective on life as a paid professional. You can do some rehearsing, shadowing and interviewing.
I would suggest doing a ton of research on programs before investing significant time and money. My report on “Back To School For A Mid-career Transition,” focuses on MBA programs but has advice anyone can use. Get it here.
Tip #8 recommends, “Be Careful When Using Placement Agencies or Search Firms.”
Chances are you won’t find a reputable firm to place you in a new field. Additionally you’ll need to do some research to be sure you’re working with a reputable firm. Getting your resume submitted by the “wrong” firm will block you from employment, no matter what.
Tip #9 is good: “Don’t Expect a Career Counselor to Tell You Which Field to Enter.”
These days you’re more likely to see a career coach or consultant than a counselor. Here the advice is sound: “Career counselors are facilitators, and they’ll follow your lead. They can help ferret out your long-buried dreams and talents, but you’ll have to do the research and the decision making by yourself. Anyone who promises to tell you what to do is dangerous.”
And I echo Tip #10: “Don’t Expect to Switch Overnight.”
These authors say, “A thorough career change usually will take a minimum of six months to pull off, and the time frequently stretches to a year or more.”
A year? More like 3 years! so many of my clients call because a spouse said, “It’s been six months. Haven’t you figured things out by now?”
I offer services to help but, as we said earlier, don’t expect me to do more than facilitate.
Visit my services page to learn more.