Career Direction for Career Changers

Changing careers can be as simple and as fast as finding a different position in the same company you've been working at, or as complex as changing the type of work you do and the industry you do it in.

How do you know what needs changing?

How do you know where to start?

At we offer two different approaches to changing your career.

1) The "Do It Yourself" (DiY) approach

2) The "Career Coach" approach

This paper will give you enough information to get started on the "Do It Yourself" approach.

However, if you have been struggling for awhile, we suggest you use a one hour Career Coaching session . We have a 99% success rate at helping people identify what it is they really want to do for a living, and we usually do it in just one hour on the phone with you.

Plus we are very good at diagnosing what has gone wrong with your career and what your next few steps should be.

Do It YourSelf Career Change

First let's figure out if you really need a change. Can you relate to any of the comments listed here:

"I used to enjoy my job, now I dread going to work."

"I used to wake up excited about going to work.  Now I can barely drag myself out of bed."

"I think my job is toxic."

"I'm exhausted when I get home.  I have no time or energy to find a new career."

"I liked my job a few years ago.  What happened?"

"I can't seem to achieve the success I expected."

"I used to enjoy working with my boss, but not any more."


Typically, Career Changers fit into two categories. Those who have not yet acheived success and satisfaction in their career and those who have been successful but something has changed.

For many people, It sneaks up on you such that you don't recognize that your job satisfaction is in trouble.

Maybe there was a reorganization, a layoff, a change of bosses, a merger or a new person in the company. 

Somehow you went from enjoying your career to hating it.

We know this.  We see it all the time.

People Change Careers Everyday

It's not uncommon to have as many as five careers in a lifetime. As common as career change is, it's generally very hard to do, and it can be extremely stressful on you and your family.

The good news, is that once you do get on your "Right Path," things start get a lot easier. But more on that later.

Entrepreneurs change careers by starting new and different businesses. Technical people move from design or programming into management, marketing, sales and possibly back again.  Entertainers might move from acting to singing. Some folks change industries entirely. Some people simply switch companies.

There are a few careers where career change is rare. A family medical doctor, after building a practice, will rarely make radical changes. Many attorneys find themselves in the same situation. Building a practice takes many years and the cost of switching careers is usually prohibitive.

Business owners, can change careers, usually by delegating the management of their ongoing business thus freeing up time to start another business.

The key to a successful career change is finding the path that's right for you.

Finding Your Right Path

The most important thing to know is that your career change should put you on a path that is closer to, if not directly on, your "Right Path."

In a nutshell, your Right Path has to do with your personal mission in life, and the reason you are here.  The closer you align yourself to that path, the less stress you are bound to encounter. Identifying your Right Path then becomes your top priority.

Being on the Right Path leads to greater success and career satisfaction. When on your Right Path, obstacles will be fewer and easier to overcome. The battles you fight will at least be the right battles. Once you are on your Right Path, things will start to fall into place.

Your Right Path is like a roadmap that helps point the way forward. Without a roadmap in life, you will be like a ship without a rudder.  You will be blown this way and that. The slightest breeze will knock you off course.

Without a vision of where you are supposed to go, your life will seem like a bunch of random events.

In fact, many people don't know how to change careers and many are afraid to think about it. The default position is to cast your fate to the wind and wait for life to nudge you in the right direction. Trust me, you want to plan your career, rather than leaving it in the hands of others.

The best time to start to determine what your Right Path is, is when you are safe and secure in your present job.

One word of caution.  If you are sensing that you need a major career change or a major life change, please start working on it right now, for your own good and the good of your family.  Don't put off searching for your Right Path. Why...

The Giant Bungee Cord of Life

It's best to start searching for your Right Path in a gradual way while your life is still relatively stable and you still have a paycheck. However, sn interesting thing happens if you delay searching for your Right Path.  

Picture that there is a giant rubber band attached at one end to your waist, and at the other end to the path you should be on.  The further away from your Right Path you travel the more tension builds up in the rubber band. 

At some point, as you get too far off your true path that rubber band will snap you back, disrupting everything in your life. It is usually not a pleasant experience.  It may come in the form of getting laid off, getting fired, getting demoted, being reorganized, downsized, divorced etc.

Do not for one minute assume that the giant bungee cord of life will snap you back to a nice comfortable position on your Right Path.  If there was a lot of  tension in that rubber band (and in your life) you will overshoot your Right Path and continue to oscillate back and forth. 

You might be out of control for awhile, until the oscillations dampen out. If you haven't worked on identifying your Right Path, how will you recognize it as you fly by it.

Troubleshooting Your Career

Even if you were phenomenally successful at one time, you can find yourself wondering what happened to your career. 

Go through this career troubleshooting guide from top to bottom.  Do not skip steps or it will not work and you might misdiagnose the problem.


1) Determine if you are doing the right type of work

If you are doing the right type of work you have the greatest chance of success and job satisfaction. 

If you are bored with your work then it might be the wrong type of work.

The way to determine what is the right or best type of work for you is to use the CareerPlanner Career Interest Test. 

It will help you understand what types of work are right for you and which types to avoid.

Please do not go to step 2 until you know whether the problem is with the type of work you do.

2) Determine if it's your personal and family life

  • Is your family life making it hard to concentrate and do your job?
  • Is your family supportive of your job and your career?

3) Determine if the problem is between you and your boss

  • How good is your relationship with the boss?
  • Do you trust your boss?
  • Do you respect your boss?
  • Are you learning anything from your boss?
  • Does your boss treat you fairly and professionally?
  • Does your boss provide good leadership and direction?

4) Determine if your co-workers are causing you problems

  • Are your coworkers generally cooperative and supportive?
  • Do your co-workers frequently try to take over your job?
  • Are your coworkers backstabbing you?

5) Determine if the problem is with the company, the culture and the atmosphere

  • Is your company financially healthy or is it always desperate to make the quarter?
  • Do your customers think highly of your companies' products and services?
  • Is your company growing fast enough to provide challenges and opportunities for you?
  • Is your company growing too fast so that employees can not keep up and customers are unhappy?
  • Is the direction of your company well understood and do you feel you support it?
  • Is your company innovative and moving forward or is it stuck?
  • Is your company getting more bureaucratic?
  • Is the environment too political?

6) Determine if it's the industry

  • Is the industry you are in growing in a stable and predictable manner?
  • Is your industry experiencing frequent downsizing or offshoring?
  • Are there more competitors each year or are there more mergers and acquisitions?