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Posts Tagged ‘Career Change’

Achieving Your Goals: The Secret to Landing the Job of Your Dreams

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Question: I am so burnt out and literally loathe my job. I have been dreaming about changing industries for over 2 years and I know I will just keep getting more of the same the longer I procrastinate, but I just can’t seem to take that step forward. I highly doubt I can get what I want in this economy and I don’t have a clue how to go about getting hired in an industry I am not qualified in. Can you help?

- George C., Minnesota

Answer: George, I have helped so many people over the years that shared that same story! It is frustrating to be in a rut, but I commend you for thinking about the future – you have taken the first step. Most often, people who are happy and satisfied in their careers are ones who have done some soul searching, figured out what they really wanted, and then did what it took to get them there.

- Mary Elizabeth Bradford

How to Begin Creating Your Plan

When first creating your career plan, allow yourself to brainstorm. You must begin to get what’s in your head out on paper, so you can start to come to terms with what’s important to you, what you need to get rid of, and what might be holding you back.

I should mention that money is often the jailer that holds my clients hostage so many times. “I can’t change careers or positions because I really need the money I am making now.” If this is your position as well, I would challenge you to first come up with a plan and a timeline for changing that situation. Even if the goals you map out are a couple of years away, the power of writing down your goals and working toward them – either solo or as a family – is profound.

Sometimes we think we will have to take a pay cut, but guess what? A focused plan for a career transition and a powerfully written functional resume can do AMAZING things for you in the money department. The better you look on paper and the better you interview, the more your potential companies will want you. Often I help clients change industries and they take NO salary cuts AT ALL! They are always amazed.

Tips for Brainstorming

Write out all of the things you dislike about your current and past positions. This is usually an easy one to start with, as most people are really clear on what they don’t like!

Now, throw that piece of paper away. It’s gone. Time to let those things go and focus on what you do want. If this sounds too “woo woo” for you, just wait… you will be surprised how this process helps you to move forward!

Establish Your Career Parameters

Write down your “driving motivators.” These are the two or three things that MUST happen in your next move – they are essentially fixed, such as geography, industry or financial needs. Be honest with yourself.

Next, brainstorm on your secondary career parameters. These are things you would like to have, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t get them.

Finally, it’s time to define your dream job. Picture a blank canvas that you can draw any picture that you like on. Crystallize your vision of your dream job by closing your eyes and thinking about what your dream job means to you. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • What does it look like?
  • Where are you working? At home, looking out the window at your garden, or looking out at the skyline from your downtown office on the 9th floor?
  • Is the environment cutting edge and fast paced? Highly technical? Is it refined, traditional or academic?
  • What kind of people are you working with?
  • What are you doing?
  • Are you working independently or with a team?

And so on. Treat this as a creative and fun experience. It’s a good idea to send your thought gremlins that tell you all the reasons why you can’t do this on a coffee break so you can have a clear head and an open heart as you begin.

Action

Now identify three things you can do right now to get you moving in the right direction. Do you need to hire a resume writer to help you? Do you need to join an association that will open up a window to the people you need to know in your industry of choice? Do you need to join some groups on LinkedIn that are in your new industry of interest (you can “hide” your groups if you don’t want your current employer to get suspicious)?

Break your goal down into manageable steps. One step builds upon another and small steps lead to change and growth more quickly than we often anticipate!

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Resume Tips for Changing Industries

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Perhaps the largest group of job seekers I help are those who wish to change industries or positions within their industry. The good news is that, although most job seekers believe they have to take a big pay cut to do it, this has been the exception and not the rule with my clients.

How did they do it? Once they determined their industry or position of choice and upgraded their resume and other marketing materials to support them, they learned how to tap into the hidden job market and go direct in order to make their move.  Learning how to tap the hidden job market is by far the most valuable skill you can learn in your job search. Please see my book in this same series on this critical topic: The Career Artisan Series: The Hidden Job Market – Guide for the Perplexed.

Resume Tips for Changing Industries

  • Create a functional resume. Format your resume in a “functional” style that highlights functional strengths and transferable skills that match your new position/industry.
  • Outline quantifiable achievements in the strengths you want to highlight. Example: customer service—“increased customer satisfaction by 79%.”
  • Group keywords under a list called core competencies or key strengths. You can include areas of study that match your new industry and secondary things that might be important in your new industry like speaking more than one language or cross-cultural communications.
  • (more…)

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Industries and Careers: Draw Your Own Wages as a Freelance Illustrator

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Freelance illustrators turn art into careers. But it takes more than artistic talent to become your own boss and work as a freelance illustrator. Business sense is also required.

Freelance illustrators make their living by creating pictures for books, magazines and other publications. They may also create logos for businesses. Many commercial products, such as textiles, gift wrap, stationary, greeting cards or calendars, also require illustrations.

Jobs Illustrated

More than half of fine artists in the U.S. are self-employed. Compared to other American workers, that makes them 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed. That’s according to a 2008 report by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ian Challis has worked as a self-employed artist and designer in Seattle, Washington for 20 years. He says being able to work for himself from home is a great benefit to his job.

“I can make a decent living doing what I love,” he says. “It’s like getting paid for a hobby.”

However, he says that the salary can vary a lot. “You could make nothing to $300,000 per year depending on how popular your designs are,” he says.

One way freelance illustrators make money is by licensing designs to publishing or manufacturing companies. Most of their pay comes from royalties. That’s a percentage of the cost of the item that’s sold. If a product that uses your illustration sells well, you make more money. If it doesn’t sell well, the company will stop producing it, and your pay will stop too.

Getting Experience

Working as a freelance illustrator can be a part-time or full-time job. Many people who do this begin slowly. They do other jobs and begin to build a client-base to get some experience. Building a portfolio (a collection of best work) is important for illustrators so that they can show off their style and accomplishments.

There are no formal requirements to starting your own freelance illustration business. But in reality, artists are often well-educated. In the U.S., artists are twice as likely as other American workers to have college degrees.

The role of graphic designers and artists requires them to build a large foundation of skills to make a living, says Nancy Winberg. She is an illustrator and graphic artist in Seattle, Washington. She says it’s important not to limit yourself.

“Job descriptions are always changing with the advent of new technology, and it is important to keep up to date with the resources that are in demand,” she says. She has gained experience as a scenic painter at a theater, and as a graphic designer, web designer, desktop publisher and digital photographer.

Heather Castles is an illustrator and graphic designer. She went to college for illustration and design. Then she got a job and gained experience in the field. After a few years of experience with publishing companies, she went out on her own. She now finds employment by researching different companies online and sending them samples of her work. She used to do freelance work in the mornings and work for a design studio in the afternoons. Now she is a new parent and does only the freelance work.

“The lovely thing about freelancing is it’s such a flexible type of work, I can fit it in whenever I have time available and make my own hours,” she says.

Knowing the Market

To be able to market yourself to potential employers, you must know what kind of work is available. For example, you could create graphics for online stock use, the gaming industry, greeting cards or other retail items, even children’s books.

“The diverse applications for illustration require an artist to examine and focus in on what they want to specialize in,” says Winberg.

Most artists develop a certain style that makes their work suitable to a niche in the large illustration market. “In college, I was informed that the best way to create a demand for your illustration was to develop a personal signature style and to strive for a consistent look,” says Winberg. She adds that the gaming industry is another market that demands talented artists with sophisticated computer software skills.

Illustrators can work in fine art or commercial art. Fine art is created by hand and commercial art is digital. Work done by hand must be scanned and digitalized to make it suitable for printing or online use. Since that creates an added step, many artists now create all their work digitally.

“Regardless of the changes in graphic design technology, there is still a demand for traditional artwork. Most evidence of hand-rendered illustration can be seen in children’s books and editorial illustration,” says Winberg.

Getting Your Name Out

Online social networking is an easy and free way to advertise your illustration services. Kimberly Schwede is an illustrator and graphic designer. She uses Facebook to network. She has a “fan club” to advertise her most recent artwork.

She also joined a group of women entrepreneurs. This has brought her a lot of work, such as designing logos for new businesses.

When she was starting out she didn’t wait for work to find her. She went out and asked for it. She would look for websites that sold things that were cute and feminine. Her illustration style matches that niche. She would e-mail the website and ask if they needed a new logo.

“E-mailing is so easy. There really isn’t any rejection because if they don’t like your work they just won’t respond — versus meeting someone in person and having them say ‘sorry but we’re just not that into your illustration style’ to your face,” says Schwede.

She loves working for herself. “You definitely have to hustle though,” she admits. In addition to e-mailing, she also isn’t shy about mailing postcards with illustration samples to greeting card companies or publishers.

Ups and Downs of Freelance Work

Schwede encourages artists to consider a career in freelance illustration. But she says you have to be patient while building your career. “In addition, you have to be able to deal with criticism because not everyone is going to like your work. It’s good to be well-rounded too. For me, having basic graphic design skills where I can design a tri-fold brochure helps a lot with my salary. Living solely on illustration work is tough,” she says.

Freelance workers often find it’s a feast or a famine. One week they may be working long hours to meet multiple deadlines for different clients. The next week they could have no clients at all.

“Sometimes I get down when the work flow slows down, but I always have to remind myself things will pick up again,” says Schwede.

Society of Illustrators
An American society that promotes the art and appreciation of illustration

Set up an Illustration Business in 10 Steps
Great tips from Heather Castles

Creating Comics
Resources for illustrators

42 eXplore
Lots of fun links to get your pencils moving

Steve Lieber: Suggestions on Getting Started Learning the Craft
A successful comic illustrator shares his wisdom

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Environmental Educator: A Career For a Changing World

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Source: CareerProNews

Simply put, environmental educators are people who teach others about the environment. And since the environment is front page news these days, their career is experiencing renewed interest and big changes.
Who exactly are environmental educators?

 
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has about 20,000 members. The breakdown of NAAEE’s membership is a good indication of what environmental educators are doing and where.

 
Brian Day, executive director of NAAEE, says: “Probably about 15 to 20 percent are in the formal education system, with most of them teachers, some of them curriculum developers, some of them science or social studies educators who are overseeing parts of school systems.

 
“Another 15 percent are in higher education.” Day says that they could be teaching in places like the education or forestry departments of colleges and universities.

 
“Then, about [another] half of our members are what I could call non-formal educators,” Day continues. “They work in nature centers, parks, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens and a myriad of other places.
“And then the last segment works for government, and they can work at the national level — like for the Department of the Environment — or the [state], county or local level.”

 
Moving to a holistic approach
“What people often mistake about environmental education is they think it’s advocacy in the classroom, and that’s just dead wrong,” says Day. “Environmental education is helping students learn at any age — learn how things work so they can make their own individual lifestyle choices and participate in public policy debate.”

 
He explains that environmental education is a lot more than just science. “It’s how natural systems and living systems and human systems all interact, including the social dimension, the political perspective, the economic situation… to why is there global warming, and where should our next energy come from. But if you don’t bring the human dimension to it, then you’re a scientist, not an environmental educator.”
Kristin Poppo is the head of graduate and professional studies at IslandWood, an innovation environmental facility on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She agrees that a holistic approach is important.

 
“There definitely is a growing recognition that we really need to teach our children to care more about the world around them,” she says. “Our programs look at both community and environmental stewardship, and we try to connect those. So we want people who have that broad sense of caring about the world around them.”

 
Poppo herself doesn’t have a science background. Among her many degrees, she has a BA in philosophy and religion, a Master of Divinity, and a PhD in educational foundations.

 
A career path with a few challenges?

 
The largest number of environment educators work in informal settings, as Day indicates. Jobs in these places are often part time, often seasonal, and tend to pay less than jobs in formal education and with the government.

 
Environmental educators often start out in nonprofit organizations to build up experience for their resumes. It can take a little legwork to find these jobs. You have to look for organizations that employ environmental educators and find out if they’ll be hiring in the near future. A diploma or degree from a college or university is usually the minimum requirement for an entry-level job, but this is where things get a little hazy because there really are no hard and fast rules about qualifications.

 
Although nonprofit organizations generally look for people with environment or science backgrounds, Kerri Lanaway says that they’ll also consider individuals with arts, education or even communication backgrounds. Lanaway is the school programs coordinator for a Sierra Club chapter.

 
Chad Stevens is a city park ranger. His job has both environmental and enforcement components. Therefore, “the minimum requirement is generally a two-year diploma in environmental science or a two-year diploma in policing and security,” he says, adding that, “a forestry or other related diploma or degree would also be considered.”

 
In Stevens’ job, educating the public about the environment is just one of many responsibilities, and it’s a very informal one.

 
“We do present programs to the public…” he explains, “but more so, the education component involves brochure development and information dissemination.”

 
The city where Stevens lives and works employs 10 park rangers and offers them a pretty good salary. So competition is fierce when a job is advertised. Stevens says that about 250 people may apply. And while some of the rangers use the job as a stepping stone to something else, Stevens says that some people do stay.

 
For most formal education and government jobs, a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum requirement. But a master’s degree or a PhD will move you up the ladder faster and earn you more money. Day says that about seven percent of NAAEE’s members earn $90,000 per year or more, so it’s possible to earn a great salary if you get on that track.

 
But even in education and government, the nature of your degree is pretty much open. And this actually reflects an important trend in the whole environmental educator career scene.

 
A changing climate

 
Climate change is a reality, and the climate for environmental educators is changing along with it.
IslandWood, the innovation environmental facility where Kristin Poppo works, is very much at the forefront of new trends. While offering innovative programs for children, adults, families, teachers and graduate students, IslandWood also takes pride in the fact that it pays its educators quite well.

 
“We’ve pretty much set a model for educating that is pretty exemplary, and so people are excited about being a part of our organization,” says Poppo. “But there are a lot of jobs out there in a lot of different areas. And we find that those of our students who are going into teaching, either in public or private schools, are in very high demand.”

 
“There are a few things that are happening right now that are very much changing the nature of environmental education and will cause quite a surge in the number of employers looking for environmental educators,” adds Day. He explains that the NAAEE has just recently become the newest member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization i

n charge of the professional accreditation process for schools, colleges and departments of education.
“We firmly believe that NCATE will formally adopt, based on guidelines we’ve already developed, standards for environmental education and how it’s to be taught at the university level,” says Day. This means that individuals graduating from these institutions will be better qualified to work as environmental educators.
“At the same time,” he continues, “we have legislation introduced in Congress that will provide more money for training teachers in environmental education. And then we have real environmental problems that are getting global attention.”

 
Day also mentions the fact that parents and teachers are becoming more aware that today’s children, for many reasons, are disconnected from the natural world.

 
“It’s a wonderful time to be in this organization,” he adds. “We’re at a place in human history where in the next generation we have to change everything that humans have done on the planet: economics, transportation, energy, the way we build buildings. We need to reconceive everything.”

 
So, do you have a passion to get in on the action? Whatever type of environmental educator you want to be, there’s a job somewhere for you. And since the requirements for this career are still developing, you can probably make your own unique career path to this line of work

 

 

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE)
Lots of information about standards, guidelines, initiatives, research and more
http://www.naaee.org

 
Career: Environmental Educators
Career profile of an environmental educator provided by CollegeBoard.com

http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers

/profiles/careers/106513.html

 
IslandWood
An innovative facility offering environmental programs

http://www.islandwood.org

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Want to Live Your Dream? 5 Keys to Changing Course

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Another great article by By Valerie Young, President of Changing Course. Want Creative Ways to Make a Living Without A Job? Check out Valeries site here

I hear from a lot of people at various junctures along the road to right livelihood. Some are at the very beginning, still trying to figure out which path is right for them. Others have happily reached their destination. Others are midway on their journey.

Regardless of where you are in the process, there are five keys to changing course:

1. Set Big… and Small Goals

I know it sounds cliché, and especially at the start of the New Year, but if you’re really serious about taking control of your life, you need to set some goals for yourself. Knowing that you want to change your life or work for yourself is a great start. But expressing a desire is different from stating a goal.

In her Broadway show Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Lily Tomlin’s bag lady character remarks, “I always wanted to be somebody. I realize now I should have been more specific.” Deciding you want to earn money by making and selling gift baskets is much more specific than saying you want to make money doing something creative. But even here you need to get more precise.

One of the best ways to move a goal along is to quantify it. Using our gift basket example, the key questions are how much money do you want to make and by when. You can always shoot higher, but for now let’s think in terms of generating $5,000 in gift basket sales. From here you’d want to make your goal both real and reachable by breaking it down into smaller more manageable goals, like, for example, making and selling six gift baskets in 60 days. Actually writing the date on your calendar will make it even more real.

2. Figure Out What It Will Take to Reach Your Goal and Start Doing It

A long-time subscriber named Joe understands the importance of looking to others for inspiration. He also understands how important it is to hear not just about people that have followed their dream and made it happen, but also about, he says, “those currently traveling the pathway to a new career, setting goals for themselves, managing to keep their dream alive and staying focused on the goal of a new career.”

And setting and working toward a goal is exactly what this 33 year old software engineer from Maryland is doing. But I’ll let Joe tell you about his plans – and progress – in his own words:

“A year and a half ago I started reading a lot of real estate investing books. I wanted to get into the medical field as a Physical Therapist and needed a way to supplement my income. I took classes and soaked up all of the real estate knowledge I could get.”

“I worked with advisors until I landed my first deal. It was a rehab house, and after I repaired it I made $28,000 profit for an endeavor I spent five months on part-time. I was thrilled. I took this money and used it to help purchase a rental property and another rehab which I am now selling.”

“I set goals for myself. My big goal is a career change at five years. Presently I have four years left. I plan on generating enough income to cover all of my expenses. I also have smaller goals. At the two year mark I plan to make $1,000 net cash flow per month. At three years I plan to make $2,000 net cash flow per month. This will allow me to pursue Physical Therapy without worrying about money! I have volunteered in two hospitals and determined that this is where I belong.”

“This is my journey. It’s hard to wake up every morning and go to my current job. However I now see an end in sight. I know that in a few years I will be enjoying helping people every day. And when that day comes, it will be a dream come true.”

Some of you are probably saying, “Five years! I can’t wait that long.” You don’t have to. Joe’s goal is very specific – to generate enough money from real estate to be able to fully support him during his schooling. Depending on your goals, your financial situation, your level of commitment, and the amount of time you’re willing to invest, you can certainly change course in far less time.

Whether you want to be living your new life in five years or in five months, the point is to set a goal, quantify it, and then, one day at a time, take the small action steps required to make your goal happen.

3. Live Life Now

Shooting for a future goal is great. But I received a deeply moving email that reminded me of the importance of also remembering to live life fully in the moment. A woman named Pam wrote to thank me for inspiring her partner Bruce, a man I never met but who I apparently encouraged to live his dream. Pam has generously allowed me to share her and Bruce’s story with you.

Before he was killed instantly in a traffic accident, Bruce was living his dream. Bruce had been a computer consultant who, explained Pam, tired of the cubicle life. “Although he made a boatload of money doing it, he realized that there was more out there to do. He always wanted to do something purposeful with his life, and didn’t see that the programs he wrote made much of an impact.”

Pam went on to say that she and Bruce lived together for two very wonderful years, “living our dream. We both left the corporate grind, had opened our own business as massage therapists. Bruce was a wonderful man. He had healed so much in his life and many times said, ‘If I’m to be the kind of spiritual man I wish to be, then I need to work on this.’ He was making a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I’m so very grateful for every moment that we shared. We were blessed to have many friends. And I plan to continue our dream.”

Although I never had the privilege of meeting Bruce, he sounds like a truly remarkable human being and one who will be missed by many. How wonderful that while he was among us Bruce was living his dream. Pam’s strength, her gratitude in the face of unspeakable grief and her resolve to continue to live their dream is inspiring indeed.

When we think about goals, we tend to think about achieving some future result. And yet as John Lennon once observed, “Life is what’s happening when you’re making other plans.” Bruce’s story serves as an important reminder that even while you strive to reach your future goals, you must live life now and with as few regrets as possible.

4. Break a Rule

Sometimes changing course can begin with the simple act of shaking up your normal routine. Take Barbara, a former coworker of mine from my corporate days. Most people spend their Saturday mornings in a frenzy of house cleaning and errands. Barbara does this stuff too but not until after she’s indulged herself by crawling back into bed with a cup of coffee and popping in a suspense movie.

Spending your Saturday morning watching a movie may not be your cup of tea, but surely there is some small fun thing you can do to shake things up. If you tend to read self-help books try a romance novel. Walk your dog in a totally new place or drive a different way to work. Visit your local historic society or museum. On the first day of each month have ice cream for breakfast. Go to the movies on a weeknight. Experiencing small changes can make the bigger ones seem more doable.

5. Use the One Step a Day Approach

When I was desperately trying to get myself out of corporate America, I promised myself that I would not go to bed at night until I had taken at least one small step toward my goal. It doesn’t have to be a big step.

For example, I knew that at least in the short term, leaving my job-job would mean I’d be earning less money. So one day I brainstormed a list of ways to supplement my income. I have a finished basement with a bath so one idea was rent it out to a commuting grad student who needed a place to stay during the week. The next day I stopped by the hardware store to see what I could find out about sound proof ceiling tiles. The following day I looked up the Web site for the housing office at the local college, and so on.

Not only do small steps add up, but just as important is the sense of momentum you’ll gain. And once you get started on a dream, it’s hard to stop!

“The big break for me,” said Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, “was deciding that this is my life.” Another year is upon us. Since this is indeed your life, let this be the year you start making your dreams happen.

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25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I was just reading a fabulous blog post at Hello My Name Is Scott titled 25 questions to invite someone to talk about what they love.

All I can say is wow!

Attention all professionals whose #1 question is “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up” – this blog post is for you!

Its written for those networking or working to bolster client relationships – BUT, this is a beautiful tapestry of questions…I think it’s completely applicable for people wanting to clarify what they really love to do.

Personally I am going to print out this list, venture outside to find someplace pretty and inspiring and answer these questions myself. What a great tool! Here are the 25:

1. If you could do just one thing all day long and get paid well for doing it, what would you do?
2. If you could only give one speech, for one hour, for one million people, what ONE WORD would that speech be about?
3. If you could only have one section of the bookstore to visit, which section would it be?
4. If you could only subscribe to ONE publication for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. If you could only work 2 days a week, what would you do?
6. If you could only work 2 hours a week, what would you do?
7. If you could take a sabbatical for one year, where would you go and what would you do?
8. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do all day long?
9. If you were the last human on Earth, what would you still do every day?
10. What activity always makes you lose track of time?
11. What activity gives you the most energy?
12. What brings you to life?
13. What could you talk about forever?
14. What things are you able to do, without even trying?
15. What do you like to do, just for the fun of it?
16. What do you love to do that (you can’t believe) people actually pay you money to do?
17. What do you love to talk about?
18. What do you most enjoy making?
19. What have you always found to be easy?
20. What is the one thing that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do?
21. What pictures or wallet items do you ALWAYS show to people?
22. What questions do you look forward to be asked?
23. When you don’t know what to do, what do you find yourself doing to find your way?
24. Why do you admire the people you admire?
25. You, yourself, are at your best when you’re acting HOW?

- – -

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Unleashing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

This article from ChangingCourse.com was just too good not to post. The step-by-step advice Brian provides for branching out on your own is spot on. Enjoy!

-meb

By Brian Kurth

The realization you’re in the wrong career does not hit like a lightening bolt. Rather, it festers within you for a long time, slowly worming its way into your consciousness, until one day you realize you’ve known it all along. For years, I sat in a ninety-minute-each-way commute in Chicago rush hour traffic to/from my telecom job in product management. I dreaded every Monday. It never occurred to me I could start over. It never occurred to me I might be an entrepreneur at heart, and I could create my own destiny. However, after the dot-com bubble burst left me on my own, the thought of another position in my field was finally too much to bear. I left my career and my horrible commute behind, and embarked on a new journey filled with questions, uncertainty… and elation.

It’s romantic to think the heavens will offer up a sign letting you know when the time is right to unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and start your dream business. Unfortunately, reality often doesn’t work that way. Launching a business is risky, and those risks can easily overwhelm your senses and weaken your confidence. The fear of failure pervades your psyche, and when the safety and security of your family is on the line, happiness seems like a selfish luxury you can’t afford to indulge.

Many people live their entire lives this way. For others, their work frustration grows a little every day until they realize their need for happiness is suddenly greater than the fear that comes with making that change. Once fear can be overcome – or at least overwhelmed – that’s when great things can happen.

However, merely conquering your fears is not nearly enough to ensure success in starting your own business. You might have all the desire and motivation in the world, but there are still many steps that need to be taken, and many questions that need to be answered. So once the desire outweighs the fear… then what?

1. Start Researching

Starting a new business demands acquiring a vast amount of information that literally no one can figure out entirely on his or her own. Luckily, our modern world is packed with resources and assistance for dedicated and passionate entrepreneurs. If you’re willing to take the time, you’ll find the facts you need.

The Internet – As recently as ten years ago, compiling information on a given topic would mean an exhaustive process of scouring books in a library and talking to strangers on the phone. Luckily for entrepreneurs, the Internet has blown it all wide open. It is the entrepreneur’s best friend.

The business you are considering might be new to you, but it’s important to realize that it’s not for others. Get on the Internet and find everything you possibly can on your newly chosen field. Read it all, take notes, and write down questions that arise. Any piece of information you can get is one tiny step closer to being ready for your big change. But don’t get stuck in online analysis paralysis. At some point, it’s time to take the next step toward becoming an entrepreneur.

A Mentor – There are people who work in your dream business who are willing to help you on your journey. You may need to find them in another city and may even have to sign off on a non-compete clause to get their advice, but they’re there for you. Find several people who work in your newly chosen field, and initiate discussions with them. Tell them you admire what they do, and ask if you could learn from them as you look to make a career change. When someone agrees to be a mentor, schedule a visit to their workplace where you can observe the process in action, take copious notes on all you see and hear, and ask a ton of questions. When starting a new business, there are absolutely no better lessons than those taught from someone within the field. They’ll tell you everything you want to know, plus much more you need to know.

2. Raise Money

One of the reasons why people so often fail to leave unpleasant work situations is the money; they simply earn too much in the job they hate, and fear a dream business of their own wouldn’t provide the same level of security. This is a legitimate fear, but there are things that can be done to mitigate the risk until the income matches the level of happiness and desired lifestyle.

Save Up – Change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Merely planning for the switch can improve the situation in the short term. Put money aside out of every paycheck so you’ll have a nest egg for when you finally decide to take the plunge.

Find Outside Funding – No matter how much money you’re able to save, it might not be enough to get a business off the ground. Luckily, there are other avenues for raising the needed capital. Look into finding government grants, private investors, or even bank loans to help you get started.

Set Some Limits – No matter how strongly you believe in your new business and your ability to make it work, you don’t want to throw all your eggs into that basket. Be careful about putting up your personal assets as collateral. Keep some of your assets – be it your home, your pension, your 401K, etc. – off the table. Don’t invest your entire net worth into your business. In the event that something goes wrong, it will be a HUGE comfort to know some of your assets are protected.

3. Get to Work

Once the research is done and the money is raised, it’s time to get to work. New businesses take an extraordinary amount of time and effort if they’re going to make it. Don’t be afraid of the hours, and don’t shy away from the commitment. Remember: eighty hours in a job you love is still FAR more rewarding than forty in one you hate.

There will, of course, be obstacles along the way, but with enough passion, dedication and foresight, anything can be overcome. Keep reminding yourself you deserve to be happy, and your dream business is ultimately worth the time and effort it takes to get there. And once you do, you’ll never dread a Monday again… and as I like to say, everyday is a Friday!

About the Author

Brian Kurth, a former “Dilbert,” worked for the phone company in Chicago. After realizing there was more to life than telecom calling plans, he founded VocationVacations (ChangingCourse.com/recommends/vocationvacations). He is the author of “Test-Drive Your Dream Job – A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love” (Hachette, 2008) and is a sought-after speaker on how to pursue and attain one’s dream job and lifestyle. He has shared his wit and wisdom in appearances on NBC’s TODAY Show, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and FOX News, and has been featured in articles in O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine and many more. Kurth co-executive produced “This Job’s A Trip” for the Travel Channel in 2006. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Kurth lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Hate Your Job? Three Powerful Strategies to Get a Job You Love

Monday, August 25th, 2008

 

You probably put a lot of time and energy into getting that job you hate. Think about it…you had to interview; you have probably invested a considerable amount of time and effort for who knows how long. But if you are ready to take the first steps towards a job you actually LOVE to go to each day, then here are three simple yet powerful steps you can take right now:

 

 

Step #1. Define and Write Down Your Goals.

Focus on the long term goals first and resist the temptation to worry about how you are going to get there. The “how” is what usually stops us in our tracks. It’s that fear of the unknown – that place you venture out to that creates that uncomfortable feeling. Yes venturing to these places can be uncomfortable but you will quickly find it also does something else. It gets you moving forward and that too, is a powerful motivator AND a confidence builder!

 

 

Step #2. Assess Your Surroundings

Notice the people you are working amongst and the product or service you offer. Are you like them or do you feel like a square peg in a round hole? Do you feel like you fit in? What about the product or service you offer – do you believe in it? Does it resonate with you? This is how you can quickly come to terms with what might not be right about your current situation. Maybe it’s your immediate surroundings or maybe it’s the industry itself that is not a match for you. I know for me, in the positions I had that didn’t “fit” me – not only did I feel like an outsider I acted like one because something inside me didn’t “buy in” or “fit in” with everybody else. Not a good way to get a promotion is it?

 

Step #3: Build Your Job Around Your Life

You can begin to take an honest look at your work/life balance by writing down the lifestyle choices that are most important to you and your family. How many points is your current career supporting? Another powerful step you can take is simply to write down what your job might LOOK like if it was truly built around you life. This is the first step to initiating change in a positive direction. Even if that change may be in the distant future, you will be amazed how much you can and will accomplish by taking this initial action.  Planned relocations, strategic salary increases, consulting, telecommuting, portfolio careers and flexible schedules are all plans that you can put into motion today and examples of career choices I have seen professionals successfully make to build their job around their life!

 

 

 

 

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Five Things I Have Learned As A Career Coach

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Looking back I have probably coached and written resumes for over 400 executives in all kinds of industries. Here are a few things I have learned along the way that I hope you will benefit from.

1.    Many professionals worry about things that never happen

Most clients I have worked with, shared with me numerous worries they thought would hold them back including: their age, too little or too much salary, the economy, a shrinking industry, too many jobs in the last 10 years and being fired or laid off, just to name a few. I am happy to report that these same executives went to on achieve (and in many cases exceed) their career goals.

How did they do it? Usually through a combination of the following: First through education that the reality of their concerns was often overemphasized to the point of being counterproductive. Second, obstacles were minimized or eradicated through a well planned marketing strategy. And third, through an expertly crafted resume which showcased their strengths that was in sync with their goals.

2.    Many professionals believe they can’t successfully change industries

I love to hear the excitement in my client’s voices when they are shown that successfully changing industries is more about their plan, their resume, their networking approach and the coaching they receive than their experience!

 

3.    Most professionals feel they interview very well – when they don’t

“Just help me land the interviews and I will do the rest.” I have heard that dozens of times from seasoned professionals that made one simple error. They mistook their amazing charisma and people skills for great interview skills. Believe me, there is a big difference. I have seen first hand how just answering one question the “wrong way” quickly leads to a lost candidacy.

 

4.    Most professionals can’t write an interest-generating resume

There are multiple reasons for this such as the following: industry jargon used

(a resume needs to be written for people in at least 5 different departments), not being able to write objectively, not being able to craft their resume from

a marketing perspective and too often writing what they have done and not what has happened as a result.

 

5.    Most professionals didn’t know how much career coaching and marketing would help them – until they got it.  

I can relate to this one especially. I didn’t realize how much a business coach would help me until I hired one. It’s normal to feel this way but if you have ever played sports and had an excellent coach, or studied under a dynamic teacher then you have already experienced the value that a true professional can bring, and the many ways they can help you to reach your full potential.

 

I hope if you have identified with any of these points, it will help you to quickly and easily take action to shore up areas for improvement. I promise this will result in a much more enjoyable and fruitful job search for you!

 

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Dream Job Success – Three Simple yet Powerful Tips to Land Your Dream Job

Friday, July 18th, 2008

 

Certainly you have seen wildly successful people who achieved a great deal in their careers – all the while making it look easy. Do you ever wonder how they really got to where they are? Perhaps you think they just had that special something or were super-incredibly dedicated or especially gifted and talented which effortlessly raised them to great heights.

 

The truth is more often than not high achievers and people that reach their personal and professional goals have a plan and a simple strategy for doing it.

 

If you have dreamed about changing careers or industries but have held onto that dream for so long and done nothing about it, then I have good news for you. It doesn’t have to be this way!

 

Here are a few tips to begin to make the shift from dreaming to action:

 

Tip One: Don’t Push – Be Pulled

To break that inertia that has held your dreams hostage for so long begin thinking and operating from the place you want to be. Accept and embrace that you want to move forward in the direction of your goals. In other words, picture your dream job in your mind, and give yourself permission to step into this world. This will automatically pull you forwards, closer towards your goals.

 

This can start with something as small as a magazine subscription relating to your new industry, purchasing a book, taking a class or finding and talking to an industry mentor.

 

 

Tip Two:  Surround Yourself with Experts

If you put your focus on getting closer to people who are already successful in your industry of choice you will move forward fast! These are the people who have the answers to your questions and if you have ever reached for a goal before, you know that mentoring only has to result in just one idea that changes everything (in a good way!).

 

Step out of that place of uncertainty and wondering if things really could work and into a place where you can empower yourself by being educated, mentored and empowered by others! The best place to do this is a trade association, social networking group or a group of people in a company who are willing to mentor you.

 

Tip Three: Invest In Yourself

Do you know why business owners have business coaches or why corporate executives have performance coaches? Because they know that an objective opinion – help from someone who has been there and done that – will help them to easily and quickly solve their professional problems and overcome whatever obstacles are in their way. No one would do it if it didn’t work!

 

And here is something else they don’t do: they don’t wait until they are ready. They move more often well before they feel or think they are ready! So invest in yourself, in a coach, an expert you need, a seminar or a class to keep yourself always learning and being the best you can be as it relates to your professional goals!

 

 

 

 

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