Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/12/09)

Topic of the Week  Into the Wild... Strategies for successful career change

Successful career change:
• DO test it.
• DO the numbers.
• DO look ahead.
• DON’T forget your heart.

Your Rant: I’d like to change careers, but I don’t know where to start.

911 Repair,
Changing careers is often challenging on your confidence, energy and bank account. Which reminds me of a conversation that I had with a friend when I first started writing this column. She said you’ll tire of writing a column in a month or two, that was fourteen years and 700 columns ago.

Needless to say this writing thing worked out for me. But I hear from many people who get into a job that they thought they’d like only to find out that it’s like finger nails on a blackboard. That’s why it’s so important to kick a job or career’s tires before you start your search. I’ve listed three Do’s and one Don’t for checking your options below. For more, check out Martha Magelsdorf’s book “Strategies for Successful Career Change” (10 Speed, 2009).

DO test it. Dick Bolles, guru of all things career related, suggests doing an “information interview.” This is not a job interview or even a “pseudo” job interview. No, to do it properly you need to talk to someone NOT in a position to hire you, but rather someone who actually does the job that interests you. Ask them what they like, what they don’t like and ask if there are other people that you can talk to.

DO the numbers. Often a career change can require extra schooling or a move to another city, etc. It’s important to “do the numbers” before you get too far down the path. How much will it cost you to pay off school loans? Or to move to another part of the country? Once you come up with the cost you might be surprised at either how expensive, or cheap, this transition may actually be.

DO look ahead. I remember telling my friend that I thought I would be writing the column for a long time. She said prove it. I came up with a hundred topics I wanted to cover. I not only proved to her my interest, but I actually showed myself that this was something I could get excited about. Ask yourself the same question. Could you see yourself doing it for a long time? Or are you just trying to hop on the first pony you see.

DON’T forget your heart. In a bad economy it’s easy to just look for jobs that you think might be available, instead of something that you really want to do. I understand the pressure of paying your bills, but I also think it’s important to remember that you’ll work a lot harder to find a job that really motivates you. So I think it’s shortsighted to overlook words like “passion,” “heart” and “life’s mission.” I think all should be taken into consideration in any job hunt.

I wrote the above tips to help you find a career that is as satisfying to you as my writing this column has been for me.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

–Charles Darwin

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