Is it possible to explore a career change responsibly?! 5 tips on how you can do it!

Supporting your family, paying your mortgage, funding your retirement—we all have serious obligations that can make contemplating career change feel incredibly risky. What if I make less money? What if I try something new and fail? Even if I’m longing for  a change, or feeling downright miserable, should I really risk leaving my secure job to try something new??

So many people give up before they even start. The risk of trying something new wins out over the incredible benefits a career change could give you.

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Renewing Your Career: Fine-Tuning vs. The Big Leap

In the past few years I’ve trained and coached over 500 people on how to manage their career. I find most people who want to re-invigorate their career assume the choice is either to put up with what they have now or face financial risk—because surely change requires a big leap into something brand new, which can’t possibly support them as well as what they have now.

Many picture quitting a well-paying job, taking a huge cut in salary for a position they enjoy more, and other dramatic scenarios that will turn life upside down.

And that’s where so many people close off to the process of exploring how to best renew their careers – because life as we know it, even if it’s unfulfilling, is easier to face than risk and upheaval.

Truthfully, that’s generally not how my successful clients achieve career happiness. That’s not how I do it either. Renewing our careers to bring happiness and fulfillment back into our day involves a lot of fine-tuning.
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Notice What You Want

So many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They set vague goals like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”, but never actually make any progress because they can’t figure out what exactly they want to do. How do you unravel the clues, read the signs, and sort out the hidden messages you send to yourself about what you really want to create in your life?

I have done this for myself multiple times in life. I have it dialed in now, and it’s one of my favorite things to coach around, but the first time was like groping around in the dark. For years I thought I wanted to get an MFCC and become a psychotherapist. In the middle of grad school, on the cusp of doing my first internship, I started feeling huge inner resistance. With dismay, I realized this wasn’t the right path for me after all. Now what?

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Reinventing Your Career After a Mid-Life Layoff – Interview with Thomas Weis

How do you manage your anxiety and self-doubt when the worst happens? Laid off in his mid 50s (which he aptly calls “the throw away age group”), learn how this professional faces the end of a 30-year career and reinvents himself. Changing industries, transitioning from manager back to individual contributor, this is a story of what so many seasoned professionals are going through.

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Lost passion for your job? 3 tips to find it again!

“Every job has an expiration date.” I don’t know who first said it, but most of us have experienced it first hand. You dread going to work, sleepwalk through your day, and come home exhausted. “I wake up every morning and wonder how I’ll get through the day,” a once energetic business owner said to me this week. “I can’t wait to come home and have the day be over.”

Many people get stuck here, unhappy with what they do all day, but unclear about how to find something new.

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Finding the Key to Being Successful and Fulfilled

Career is often a place in life where we can go on autopilot, following a set path towards the promise of success and stability. Go to a good school, declare a major, and get good grades. Then look for a stable job, work hard to get good performance reviews, and hope for promotion. Show up on time, invest in a retirement fund, and take your allotted weeks of vacation. If you went into business for yourself, follow tried and true advice on how to build and grow your business.

Add a mortgage, family, and other responsibilities into the mix and it can seem dangerous to tinker with your career. Why jeopardize success and stability? You might imagine you’ll waste all the time you’ve invested, all the credibility and experienced you’ve gained on this path (which isn’t true, by the way!).

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How to Find Work You Love: 3 Tips for a Smart Search Strategy

How have you chosen your jobs in the past? Here are four of the top strategies people tell me they’ve used in the past…that aren’t working for them any more.

  • I wait to see what I’m offered.
  • I check what’s available and apply for what I think I’m qualified to do.
  • I wait for something more interesting to present itself to me.
  • I’m afraid I’ll never be as successful as this so I don’t even look.

Not the smartest strategies, right?! I’ve used several of them myself – we’ve all fallen back on what’s familiar and ‘standard’ – and they didn’t work well for me either.
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What Artists (and Richard Branson) Can Teach You About Making Successful Changes in Your Career

What could an artist, who makes a fraction of your salary, possibly have to teach you about making a successful career change? I’ll give you a hint: it’s something Richard Branson, who makes unimaginably more than you and me, would agree with.

A new client, so unhappy in her job that she cries at work and is developing serious health issues as a result of the stress, told me last week, “I can’t quit my job until I find something Really Fulfilling. But I have no idea what I’d find fulfilling. I feel really stuck.”

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Ready to Learn WAY More About Yourself? MAPP Out Work You Love Doing and Find Exact Job Titles to Match

I love when people write back to me. Recently, I had an email exchange with a woman living in Jamaica (my blog has been featured in news feeds all over the world) who was doing impressively thorough exploration of new career options. She had enjoyed utilizing my Passion Discovery Worksheet, and wanted to share a another resource with me She introduced me to the MAPPTM Assessment, a career aptitude test that really impressed me with the level of insightful, useful information it delivered on my career preferences. How do I know? I used it myself!
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Balancing Career Change and Family – Interview with Donna Marsh

Learn how a successful professional uses three key tools from the Passionate Professional process to balance a career change with being a mother of a special needs child and a military spouse. Read more