Does career change call for different tactics when the econoomy changes?
A reporter called me with a series of questions on this subject. Here’s how I answered.
Q. Conventional wisdom says that even when the recession is over, we will find ourselves in a new reality in which we must all be prepared to change professions repeatedly in life. Do you agree?
A. We’ve been in the new reality for a long time. I’ve been recommending William Bridges’s book, JobShift. Jobs haven’t been secure in years.
Q. How can people in their 40s and 50s prepare, and how should they choose?
A. They need to start getting entrepreneurial. I recommend looking into Internet marketing options as well as offline business opportunities. After 45, you need to get ready to be self-employed at some time in your life. From 50-60 you need to seek options proactively.
This step is not easy and I don’t encourage anyone to quit a job to become a solo-preneur. If you’re laid off, keep looking for jobs – but you may find income faster from self-employment than from sending out resumes.
Q. What kind of psychological impact does career change have on someone who’s been in the same profession for 20 or 30 years?
A. Some people are relieved. Some are traumatized. It’s hard to realize there’s no room for you in a profession after giving years of your life to your job (and maybe sacrificing some personal joys).
Sometimes you have to move away physically or at least change your social patterns. Friends and family still see you in the “old” roles. You have to look forward and stop thinking about what “should” have happened.
Definitely it can feel cruel and unfair. The only way to feel better is to move to something new and stop looking back.
Q. Do you encounter clients who actually are happier after experiencing this kind of change?
A. One client I’ll call “Suzanne” resisted working for herself. She was tossed unceremoniously out of a job in her early 40s. She kept waiting for a new job but was overqualified for almost everything. Finally she agreed to do some networking to see if people would hire her as a consultant. She turned out to be a natural.