When we think of a new career we generally think of deciding that wed like to do something different with our lives and making that move to that new career. Often, however, it doesnt really work that way. Career changes may be something we didnt anticipate, we didnt ask for, we didnt welcome and something that just got thrust upon us.
Middle-aged men are especially prone to this forced career move. In fact, the chances that a middle aged man will be pushed into a new change due to unexpected job loss is twice as likely as twice as likely now as it was just a decade ago. In the United States alone one million males are forced into a midlife career change due to downsized, merged or bankrupt companies. Many of these, finding new employment difficult, head into entrepreneurship or partnership.
Women arent far behind in this non-optional career change either. Technology evolutions and downsizing affect women in the workforce as well, not only because they have to change career midstream but also because they are unemployed spouses of males who lose their jobs. These women must enter the workforce, some without having ever done so in the past.
Some career change is voluntary and welcome, of course. Divorce can either necessitate a career change or make possible a long-sought career change. Empty nest syndrome may leave caregivers with time on their hands to pursue their dreams.
No matter whether a career change is voluntary or thrust upon us, there are some tips that help make the transition a more peaceful, successful and productive life transition.
The first thing we all must do is assume that we will have at least one career move and perhaps many in the course of our adult lives. As much as we are able we should do what our parents tried to teach us as children save for a rainy day. A cash reserve of about six months salary or at the very least three is important. Should you be laid off what you dont want to have to do is make a career change that you dont welcome simply because finances require you to take the first job that comes along or one you dont like but one that pays better than your dream occupation.
Keeping abreast of the latest technology and the latest workforce gadgets keeps your skills marketable. No matter what career you change to youll be welcomed if you know the latest computer and communication software and hardware. Great communication and public speaking skills, knowledge of software programs such as Word, Excel, Spreadsheet and Power Point can be valuable no matter what career change you make.
Networking in your industry and the related industries, but outside your workplace can be immensely helpful with any career change. The old saying that its not what you know, its who you know is still true today.
Consider returning to school if you find yourself forced into a career change.
Look into the possibilities of education grants and loans. See if you might be able to live off savings and a part time job while you train for that new career. Theres no reason that you cant make career lemonade out of that lemon of an unexpected career change.