Whether your motivations are to find a better work-life balance, become your own boss or turn your passion into profit, arriving at a professional crossroads presents a conundrum for working moms. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to transition from a career you’ve spent years building, to find one you truly enjoy.
If you work in a career that you’re less than passionate about, it will, at some point, catch up with you. But how do you move away from a career you’ve spent years building?
Naturally, there are financial considerations, but there are also personal implications: How you define success? I faced this conundrum when I pursued a new career, after spending more than a decade in corporate America. While it is humbling to take steps back and start a new journey mid-career, there are ways to ease the transition, both emotionally and financially.
Find the good
While I didn’t enjoy my profession as a whole, I’ve found, to my surprise, that there are elements of it that I’m still interested in, and want to develop further. Identify the components of your professional experience that you’d like to keep, and find a way to capitalize on them as you build new endeavors. Although you’re technically “starting over,” you have plenty of professional ammunition.
When you’re mid-career, education has less to do with spending years obtaining an advanced degree, and everything to do with learning skills that will make and keep you current and progressive in a new career. Stay informed on industry trends by reading trade publications and white papers. Not only will your knowledge make you more marketable, it will help boost your confidence in the face of career change.
Become a “Do-er”
If you’ve been working at a managerial level or higher, you may have become accustomed to support teams handling tasks for you. When you’re rebuilding mid-career, it’s important to not only be able to “talk the talk” but “walk the walk.” Tracy Brisson, a New York-based career coach and founder of The Opportunities Project, suggests spending a few free weeknights learning the ins and outs of software that are valued and sought after in your new industry. You may also be able to use those skills to find consulting-style projects on sites like Elance.
Know what’s needed
Scour the latest job postings in the industry you want to transition into, and make sure that you have the skills that employers are seeking now. If you don’t have the chops to compete currently, consider attending continuing education courses online to build your skills in areas that are weak, and are in demand.
Be a teacher or coach!
Brisson suggests coaching as a way to maintain the professional skills you’ve honed while you pursue new endeavors. While coaching does not require certification, you can get fairly inexpensive online training through a program like Fowler Wainwright. She adds that coaching may also inspire you to put together some short guides and eBooks that can sell themselves while you transition careers.