When speaking with people about their careers, it is not uncommon to find people who altered their career plan to accommodate life. Maybe there was an ailing parent to care for, a young family to support, medical issues to address or other life situations that caused the individual to alter their initial career plans. Maybe you graduated when the economy was lousy and you took a whatever job you could get but you are still there. At what point does it become too late to pursue that true passion for a career of choice?
- Reality Check – Do some research to determine what skills, experience, certifications etc would be required to make the desired career change a reality. Evaluate your skills and experience and focus on transferrable skills for the new position. If necessary define a plan to gain the required skills or experience.
- Assess the Financial Impact – Does your dream career pay what you have come to expect or would you have to take a cut? How much of a cut can you afford to make to pursue your dream? Know that your bottom line requirement is to address your financial obligations and assess whether this new career option could cover your basic needs. Would you be willing to pursue supplemental income options to pursue this dream?
- Network, Network, Network – Identify contacts working in your dream field and conduct informational interviews. Meet people who have the job you desire and learn from them. Attend relevant professional association meetings and activities. Put yourself in situations to meet people in your desired field.
- Define and Implement a Plan – Define a target list of companies and networking contacts within those companies. Implement a plan of regular networking outreach and information interviews. Monitor your progress.
- Stay Passionate – If this is what you really want to do, stay committed. Don’t be discouraged because it takes time and effort to make a change. Stay the course and celebrate your progress along the way.
- Creative Options – If following your dream is not feasible at this stage of life, find creative options. Can you do volunteer work in a field you are passionate about? Could you work part-time in an industry that excites you? Be creative and explore other opportunities to use the skills and passions you possess.