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“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
I ran into an old friend (metaphorically speaking) that I used to work with very early in my career. We hadn’t been in contact for probably 12 years or so even though we spent 11 years (across two companies) working together way back when. When we worked together, he was not your average guy. He was a very successful business man, near the top of his field. A typical “type A” personality, but if he liked you he would go out of his way to help you. Anyway, long story short, I spotted him on LinkedIn and he then sent a message letting me know the new things he was doing (very different from what he was doing when we worked together). I pressed him a bit for more information on one of his new ventures (because it seemed so different from what I would expect) and he told me that every so often you need to reinvent yourself. And you know what? He’s right. Sometimes we are forced to reinvent ourselves (industries change, companies disappear, skill sets become irrelevant due to changes in technology, etc.) and sometimes change is just part of our natural progression. So, whether you’re reinventing yourself because of your own personal “evolution” or are changing due to a forced “revolution”, take some time to map out the best way to get to your destination.
Reinvent Your Career: Before you reinvent anything, the first question you should ask is “why?”. There are millions of reasons why, but in the interest of time, I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of the most common reasons. The second question you should ask is “how?” and there are a few links below to cover that as well.
- Career Regrets: Maybe your career choice has not turned out as you expected. Or, perhaps your career has not progressed in the way you had planned. Or it could just be that, now that you have experience, you would just like to do something different. No matter what the reason, if you’ve come to that conclusion it is time for a change.
- Industry Downturn (or Worse): Could be that your industry has taken a turn for the worse (like my example of typewriters). It could be on its way out (like DVD rentals), depressed (like the Newspaper industry) or the product could just plain be gone (like Hummers).
- Your Company is Gone or You’ve Lost Your Job: Sometimes a career change opportunity (have to think on the positive side) presents itself. Maybe your company has been acquired or has gone out of business. Or, maybe you lost your job (does not matter why). Forced job change is a good time to reassess your career and decide if you should continue as planned or look for a new path.
- Moving House: Sometimes an unplanned move to another city, state or country will force an unplanned career review. As with job loss, this is the perfect time to take a pause and review your career situation
- The “Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Job Market” Syndrome: Maybe other careers look more exciting, more interesting or pay more money. Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and that means a career change.
- Make a List: A list can help you put things in perspective. What do you like about your current job/career? What do you hate? What would you change? If you could define the “perfect job”, what would it be?
- What are You Good at (and Bad at)?: Okay, no sense in trying to take on a different career if you don’t have the skills. Make a list (yes, another list) of what you are good at, what you are bad at and what you don’t want to do.
- What Do You Want to Do? If you already know what you want to do, skip to the next bullet. If you don’t, take some free career aptitude tests (see some of the links below). This will help you figure out what you are good at (or not). See how this matches up to the lists you’ve created.
- New Career Requirements: Take all of the stuff you learned from the prior steps and see how this matches to the requirements for your preferred career. What do you need to do to fill the gaps?
Some links to help you get started are included below. Part 2 (Reinvent Your Job Search) will be published in a future post.
- Career Assessment:
- Career Tests:
- Career Planning:
Good luck in your search.
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