Most people will have more than one career in their lives. The days of starting out fresh faced at a company in your twenties and remaining there until you retire are long gone. It is reasonable, even expected, that many of us will wear different hats at different stages during our working years. Of course the question always arises, how do you move from one profitable enterprise to another without losing ground?
Well, the good news is that many of the rules have changed. There was a time when “job hopping” or having several seemingly unrelated position was the kiss of death. Not anymore. In many cases it is now seen as an impressive collection of wide and varied experiences, demonstrating one’s ability to carry out a lot of different tasks.
Likewise for getting terminated. With the current economy, the number of people who have to write “terminated” on their resume when talking about their previous position has gone up significantly. Hiring managers (the smart ones anyway) realize this and will refrain from automatically concluding that because you were fired that you are automatically unqualified for the position.
Whatever your case, you do have options. Careers are made in rough economic times, by those who keep their heads when all about them are losing theirs. Consider these options for your new life’s endeavor.
Nursing is a solid, nearly recession proof job if you are willing to go back to school. Associates in nursing can be had in as little as two years, and you can expect to earn $50,000 or more annually. The hours are long and not always conducive to much of a social life, but if you are a compassionate type it may be the perfect option for a new beginning.
Self employment. Many people simply grow tired of working away for someone else’s success, so they drop out of the race and start their own business. Whether it is through marketing or online ventures, or the more traditional routes of retail establishments or service industry, the initial investment and startup may be a risky venture, but has the potential to pay off handsomely.
Retail Management. As of 2010, the retail field is still the most popular place to begin a second career. Outfits such as Home Depot, Borders, CVS, and Walgreens are among the many popular retail chains that routinely hire second career employees, and the opportunities for management are considerable.
Financial Planning. This is a challenging career to begin, but the payoffs can be considerable. A bachelors degree is recommended by most companies offering such programs, experience in the workplace is preferred, and an impressive salary may only be a couple of short years away.
Social Work. Working with the public is an attractive choice for many people, and while schooling is usually involved, many entry level programs will allow you to begin working while still attending classes.
Pharmacist. If you already have your degree and the necessary prerequisites for pharmacy school, devoting a few more years to your education can pay off handsomely. Median salary is just under $100K per year and expected to grow.
Physical Therapist. This industry is expecting upwards of 27% growth by 2016, and while it is a graduate degree program, the job security and future compensation promises to be rewarding.
Paralegal. Another job whose prospects are expected to rise 22% by 2016, and ideal for someone who likes a lot of responsibility and can work well under pressure. Necessary education is available as a certificate, post grad, associate, or bachelors program. Some companies may even offer on the job education. The median salary is in the mid 40s.
Before you make such a drastic move as quitting your current job and jumping feet first into a new endeavor, it is wise to take inventory of yourself, what you have to offer as far as talent, experience, and ability.
Identify your transferable skills. I worked in music for twenty years, and while being a singer does nothing to get you on with a Fortune 500 company, other talents such as networking, marketing, promotion, writing, business administration, scheduling, etc, are talents that can be put to work in other fields. I left the music business and went from a career onstage under the lights to working as a copywriter for an internet based company. It can be done.
Special training and licensing may be required for many careers, but successful transitions can also result by just putting your most transferable skills to work.
Don’t make the mistake that certain careers are only right for certain personality types. The best salesmen are not always outgoing, effervescent people, and the best accountants are not always detail oriented pencil pushers. The fact is that any personality type can be successful in any field if the motivations and environment are right. I’ve known people who worked in two or three environments in a given field before finding the one that “clicked” with them. They went on to become very successful.
Recognize your weaknesses. One of the biggest derailments to any career is the failure to know your limitations. The good news is that the limitations do not have to remain a defining force. Additional education, experience, and time in general will change those parameters.
By the same token, don’t let success go to your head. When I started as a content writer, I received a lot of high praise from my co-workers, and realized there is always the temptation to believe your own press. This is a mistake. There will always be somebody better out there. Overplaying your hand may mean you get shown the door and they get a chance.