Making A Career Change
Donna Schwartz Mills
My hometown newspaper (The Los Angeles Times) has a regular business
feature called "Career Makeover." The concept is simple: A
reader who is contemplating a change of profession is matched with a panel
of experts which devises a game plan for making the move. What I always
find fascinating is the number of people I would call "successful" who
are not feeling satisfied with what they've achieved. Some of these folks
have had life changes that have prompted them to re-examine their careers.
Others are disillusioned or burnt out. And others simply want to
have more fun! I guess I find it reassuring to see that I am not the only
one who has changed my career direction midstream.
One profile that really hit home
was that of a doctor whose earnings were in the low six-figures.
He confessed that he only went to medical school to please his parents
and now that he is in his forties, he yearned to try something else.
He had an idea for a product that could be marketed as a hangover cure,
and wondered if it was something he could someday generate enough income
with it to quit medicine.
A career counselor helped him evaluate his background, abilities, likes
and dislikes. Marketing experts advised him on the pitfalls of bringing
a new over-the-counter drug to market -- such as getting FDA approval and
fighting for retail shelf space.
In the end, the experts concluded that entrepreneurship was not for
him, and the good doctor was pointed in another direction.
I don't know if I would have dismissed his idea so easily. His instinct
to market a product related to what he knows was a good one. In fact,
I've come across several health care professionals who are enjoying a substantial
extra income by doing just that.
Of course, you can't assume that a course of action that works for one
person is the same one for you. An assessment of your interests, abilities,
likes and dislikes is a good first step in finding your direction... and
thanks to the Internet, you don't have to spend a fortune finding a consultant
to do it for you. Here are some starting points:
Professional career guidance counselors swear by the Birkman Method
Career Style Summary, part of The Princeton Review. There's no charge
to take the pared-down online version of the test. http://www.review.com/birkman
The Keirsey Temperament and Character Web Site measures these two components
of your personality to give you a rough indication of where you stand.
Try running a Self-Directed Search to see if your individual type matches
your chosen field. You can take this professional quality test in its entirety
for $7.95. http://www.self-directed-search.com
Life is too short to spend it toiling away at something you don't enjoy.
Sometimes you need to figure out what your alternatives are. You
owe it to yourself to do it!
Donna Schwartz Mills is the editor of the NOBOSS ParentPreneur
Club (http://www.parentpreneurclub.com/siteman/a7.html), an
online resource for moms and dads with home-based businesses
and those who are thinking of starting a home-based business.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .