“Norman” was experiencing sticker shock. After years of career success in the corporate world, he had accumulated a healthy nest egg.
But now Norman faced a midlife career crisis. He had just learned his division would be shutting down. To keep his job, he would have to relocate to a distant part of the country. Finding a new job meant fighting age discrimination.
So, Norman thought, why not launch an Internet marketing business? He began exploring and collecting information.
Norman first encountered sticker shock when he learned about the world of Internet marketing seminars.
“Over seven hundred dollars for two days? That’s outrageous!” he exclaimed.
When you’re facing a major career crisis, it’s hard to evaluate prices. I like to draw an analogy with getting a flat tire in the middle of the night. You haven’t bought tires for years and you have no idea what’s realistic.
Worse, you feel stranded. You feel you have to make decisions right away.
And you feel like money keeps dripping away. For career change, the expenses add up. Travel. Moving. Resume Services. Business Start-up.
But I take a different view. I encourage clients to banish words like “cheap” and “expensive” from their vocabularies — forever. Instead, I encourage everyone to respond to sticker shock with three questions.
(a) How does this price relate to the market?
Maybe you’re paying too much. Maybe not.
Before hiring a consultant, attending a seminar, choosing a moving company or buying computer equipment, do some research. Learn the going rate.
Sometimes you’ll get increased value by paying more. Sometimes you won’t. But you should be suspicious of offerings that are way below or way above market price.
Author Barbara Ehrenreich, posing as a corporate job hunter, hired a resume coach who charged by the hour. As reported in her best selling book, Bait and Switch, Ehrenreich’s bill grew larger and larger as the coach found more and more ways to make the resume “perfect.”
Had Ehrenreich checked the market, she would have learned that many resume consultants charge a flat fee, not an hourly rate.
(b) Will you get value for your payment?
Spending a thousand dollars seems like a lot of money…but not if it’s the best way to earn two, three or even ten thousand dollars.
But throwing money at a career or business challenge won’t work either. You have to choose resources that make sense for you as an individual. I know lots of career changers who invested big bucks in education and training – only to realize the promised opportunities didn’t fit their unique profiles.
Norman’s seminar actually was a good value because comparable seminars cost at least twice as much. And a seminar would save him months of research time as he explored new business opportunities. He would meet a dozen experienced, successful entrepreneurs – all potential mentors and role models – in one location. To get comparable value, he’d have to travel all over the country or rely on phone and email connections.
(c) What’s your time frame?
Most clients lose money by trying to move too fast – not paying for coaches, consultants and seminars. They don’t invest time in researching options.
And let’s face it: If you haven’t dealt with a career crisis for a long time, you may not know where to begin. You’re like a motorist who has never had a flat tire – someone who’s misplaced the auto club number or even let the membership lapse because “this will never happen to me.”
One client spent a significant sum to have her resume “blasted” to a thousand employers. She actually was harmed because her name became associated with a company that was distrusted by most legitimate recruiters in her field.
Another client reacted to job loss by calling real estate agents to sell his house. “I need a change of scene,” he declared, making more calls to moving companies.
Six months later, he felt stranded. Someone suggested he give me a call. “I thought I’d love living here – but I hate it,” he said. “I didn’t even know what questions to ask before I came.”
Bottom Line: “Expensive” and “cheap” have new meanings during a career crisis. To transform breakdowns to breakthroughs, we need to discover new ways to think about money.
Based on Transform Your Dollars to Dreams