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Overcoming the Roadblocks To Changing Careers


By understanding the roadblocks to changing careers, you can better see what you have to accomplish so that one day you will be doing the work you love.

  1. Getting the new training and education
  2. Getting the experience
  3. Getting your credentials and building your reputation
  4. Finding your true direction
  5. Paying for it all

The Magnitude of Your Career Change Determines How Much New Education and Training You Need

In order to make a radical career change you will need training and some form of education in your new chosen field.

If you are just making a minor course correction that allows you to work for the same company, they might let you try new careers, in which case you probably only need small amounts of education.

For example, let's say you were an engineer working in a high tech company. Let's say you had a lot of experience with the company's products. This might make you an ideal candidate to move into product marketing.

In this case you might only have to take a few classes and read a few books on the subject of marketing.

However, if you wanted to move from being that same engineer to being a medical doctor (yes, people do this), you are looking at several years of formal medical school.

Getting the New Experience

The next thing you need is the experience. You might have been a great engineer, but in your new field, how to do learn enough to become really good at your new profession?

Again, if you make a career change within the same company, they will probably give you the experience you need. Big companies do this. It's one of the good things about larger companies. They have the time to let you grow into your new job. They have more experienced people around to help guide you and coach you.

However, if you are self employed or you are leaving your original industry altogether, you are on your own.

Somehow you will need to get the hands on experience you need to perform your new function.

If you go into medicine, they probably have an internship where you work long hours for very little money.

So doing an internship is one way to get your new experience.

Another is to keep your day job and somehow work on your new career in your time off. If your new career allows for flexible work hours, maybe you can fit it in each evening, weekend and holiday.

But somehow you need to get the experience before someone will be willing to pay you enough to live on.

Your Credentials and Your Reputation

To turn your new skill set and new career into a money maker, you will probably need both new credentials and a new reputation.

Again, if you are lucky enough to be changing careers under the umbrella of a large company, your new job title will act as your credentials and hopefully your prior reputation will carry over to help you in the new career.

Thud if you are that engineer, moving into marketing, you can carry your existing reputation with you.

However, if you are not under the care and feeding of a large corporation, and you are doing this on your own, what do you need?

Well, if your new career requires an advanced education, once you graduate you will be handed your new credentials.

The journalist turned psychologist will have a Masters or Ph.D. in Psychology.

The engineer turned medical doctor will have an MD.

The English major turned lawyer will have their J.D. credentials.

But what about reputation? Just having the letters Ph.D. after your name on a business card does not bring you new clients.

You will need someway to build a new reputation. You will have to do some self marketing.

Finding Your True Direction

Oddly, one of the first stumbling blocks to making a bog career change is that people usually don't know what it is they really want to do.

If you don't have a clear vision of the type of work you really want to do, then it's impossible to move forward.

So actually, discovering your direction is your very first step, right after you decide you really want a change.

So how do you discover your true direction? Ha. That's what this web site is all about. Just have a look around. You might try these links:

Paying for it ALL

Ouch. This is the nasty part of changing careers.

Somebody has to pay for the new education, and the living expenses while you are getting trained and certified for your new career.

Perhaps you will choose the "pay as you go" method, where you keep your day job and take classes as night and on weekends.

Perhaps you have parents willing to help, but if they have already paid for one education maybe not. Remember, your parents are probably more worried about being able to afford to retire someday than that worry about your ultimate career satisfaction.

Perhaps you have a spouse who is willing to work while you finish medical school.

Then there are student loans.

Finally there is the lottery.

Sitting on a pile of cash is something that most career changers wish for, but that few actually have.

One thing that we advice our career coaching clients is to start saving 25% of your income now, so that when it comes to make the career transition, you have some savings to make it easier. Yes, I know that is very hard to do, but for most career changers there is no other way.