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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Changing Your Career Path During the Recession (2)

Overcoming obstacles to career happiness

It’s always challenging to consider a huge change, and there may be many reasons why you may think changing careers is not possible. Here are some common obstacles and how to overcome them:

It’s too much work to change careers. Where would I ever begin? Changing careers does require a substantial time investment. However, remember that it does not happen all at once. If you sit down and map out a rough plan of attack, breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones, it is a lot more manageable than you think. And if the payoff is a happier, more successful career, it’s worth it.

I’m too old to change careers. I need to stay where I am. If you have worked for a number of years, you may feel that you’ve put too much time and effort into your career to change midstream. Or you may be concerned about retirement and health benefits. However, the more you’ve worked, the more likely you are to have skills you can transfer to a new career. You may also consider planning a transition for after retirement if you are close to receiving a pension or other benefits after a number of years.

I don’t have enough skills to consider a new career. You may be unaware of the skills you have, or underestimate your marketability due to low self esteem. However, you probably have more skills than you think. Consider skills you’ve learned not only from your job but from hobbies, volunteering or other life experiences. And gaining skills is not an all or nothing proposition. You can volunteer once a week or take a night class to move forward, for example, without quitting your current job.

In this economy, I’m lucky to have a job. I don’t want to rock the boat. In today’s climate, it might feel like too much of a risk to consider changing careers. However, if you’re unhappy in your current job, doing research on other options will only benefit you in the long run. You may discover a career with a more stable long-term outlook than your current career, for example. And you don’t have to quit your current job until you are confident of your new career path.

What if I’ve already lost my job?

Being unemployed or underemployed can be tremendously stressful. You may be feeling the pressures of meeting mortgage payments or other financial obligations. You might be feeling ashamed with your family and friends. And a very real loss is that of your identity at work. This is especially true if you have been in the same field for a very long time.

However, unemployment also has a bright side. It gives you the chance to reflect on your career path where you might not have before. If you’ve been considering a new field, now is the time to research and see what might be the right fit for you. You may end up in a much stronger position than if you had originally kept your job.

Click here to read part 3 of this article

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