Reinventing Yourself for Multiple Careers
March 20, 2007 3:30am CST
In many countries around the globe, people are born into their station in life and hence their professions. It is unnecessary for them to plan a career as they are expected to perform one specific job their entire lives. These cultures do not consider personal growth or the possibility of choosing one's profession. America, on the other hand, was built on self-reinvention, and today's economy demands it. Those born before 1946 are less likely to have changed careers or even worked for more than one employer during their lifetimes. Today, many employees outlive the lifespan of the companies they work for, and the average worker can now expect to have at least three or more careers, with up to six different positions within each of those careers. Hardly a week goes by without hearing of corporate takeovers, mergers and corporate downsizing. As a result, thousands of seasoned employees are facing burnout from increased responsibilities or being laid-off and replaced with younger, lower-paid employees. Many are looking for a different means of earning a livelihood. For the first time in history, employees must learn to manage themselves and take responsibility for their own employment. Even the word "career" is taking on new meaning, as a new generation of employees is moving in and out of multiple careers during their lifetimes. Keep in mind that a career change is not the same as job advancement within a specific career. Most are either lateral or a step down in income until you gain experience and expertise in your new career. Be prepared to downsize your lifestyle. Think of choosing a new career as an opportunity to bring a fresh outlook and revitalization to your life, as new experiences will stimulate your thought processes. The most importance part of selecting a new career is also the most obvious, . . . deciding on what you want to do. Often this is a natural offshoot of a previous occupation(s). Reinventing yourself often involves a unique merging of your old talents with your new skill set. Begin by making an honest assessment of your skills, interests and experiences and ask yourself: - What would I do if money were no object? - What did I love to do as a child? - What activity do I do so intently that I don't notice time passing? - What do I feel passionately about? - What do I value the most? - What are my strengths? - What are my transferable skills? - What kind and how much education will I need to make this change? Most people find fulfillment by doing what they're good at. By evaluating your skills, interests, strengths and desires you will be able to see a connection between what it is that you value and what you excel at. These are the building blocks that you can turn into a new career. While your new career is still in the planning stages, you can gain valuable information by: - Attending professional meetings and informal gatherings. - Networking. - Joining an online career discussion group. - Asking questions. You are likely to need some additional education in order to begin a successful new career, start by improving the skills you already have. Sometimes, learning a few new software programs is simply all it will require. Should you choose to return to college, learning new skills is much easier when you are motivated to begin a new life. Once you have chosen the kind of work you wish to pursue and acquired the necessary education, be sure to edit your resume to reflect your strengths and skills in this area. Don't be surprised if your job search lasts a little longer than usual. Concentrate on companies that are seeking people with your reworked skill set and eventually you'll find an employer who will value the knowledge and experience you gained from your previous career(s). It is vital today, more than ever, to remain versatile to stay employed. A successful career will evolve over a lifetime if you are continuously open to new possibilities. You must constantly seek opportunities for self-improvement and professional growth in order to be prepared for your next reinvention. Mary Carroll at the beginning her fourth career. Hers career has progressed from photojournalist to catalog graphic designer to photo stylist. Mary is currently employed at http://www.videoprofessor.com/ , the leader in self-paced software learning tutorials as a customer advocate.