February 9, 2023
Webinar: Making a Career Change
Written by Rachel Eddins
How do you feel about your job?
If you love it, you can safely close this page now. However, if you’re like most people, you are open to a career change and see what else is out there.
Perhaps your boss doesn’t appreciate you? Or, the work you do is unfulfilling?
How’s that daily commute? Easy breezy or full of traffic?
When you’re stuck in a rut, it can be tough to wake up and feel excited about what the day has in store.
When you don’t love your job, it’s easy to lose your motivation and sense of purpose. This can lead to stress … and to taking that stress out on family members.
Many unsatisfied workers are left feeling exhausted and without energy – which can throw off your routine and lead to withdrawal from your relationships. Anxiety, depression, and addictions are also quite common.
So, what do you do?
How do you find a new job that satisfies and fulfills you?
This workshop will help adults in the workforce learn how to:
- Identify their values and career needs at this point in their life.
- Understand the career decision-making process and how to navigate barriers that might get in the way.
- Learn how to articulate skills and interests that align with job opportunities.
- Use resources to learn about opportunities and take confident next steps in a job search.
- Plan the next steps to move forward confidently
When you feel proud and energized in your career, it positively affects your confidence in all aspects of your life.
This webinar is for workers in their 20s – 60s who are feeling stuck, uncertain of their careers, recently laid off, or underemployed.
This webinar is facilitated by Lauren Hermann, a Licensed Professional Counselor LPC with 7+ years of experience in career counseling, working with clients from college to retirement to learn about themselves and plan the next steps in career change and transitions.
Watch a replay of the presentation here.
Here is a transcript of the webinar:
So every month we have a really great topic related to wellness. I’m really excited to talk to you about a topic that’s really important to me and that I am passionate about, and that’s career counseling and making a career change.
When it comes to our overall well-being, the work we do plays such a big role in how we show up in the rest of our lives and vice versa.
Our day-to-day life really impacts how we show up at work and how we feel about work. So our career has a big impact on our wellness. I’m excited to really focus on this topic today with you all.
A little bit about me. My name is Lauren Herman. I provide both individual and career counseling. I have a history of over seven years, specifically working in career counseling, including career change.
I’ve worked in settings of higher education at universities. I’ve also worked for an outplacement agency, providing services for folks who’ve been laid off and helping them with finding their next move. So I have a lot of experience working with adults who are going through transitions.
Some of you may be joining us from outside of Texas, and I’m so grateful that you’re here. And for those that are local too, thanks for joining us.
When it comes to career concerns and career changes, they can impact us in a lot of ways.
A lot of these transitions also include processing our feelings about the transition. That can include grief, loss, anxiety about the future, concerns about who am I and what the world of work means to me, and how I want to show up at work and at home. It can also lead to some depression, and I really like to focus on self-compassion to combat some of those things.
One of the ultimate takeaways that I hope you have here today is that we can’t separate our career lives from the rest of us.
So a lot of us may think: “I can just go to work, I can do a job I don’t like and I’ll just get through it and it’ll be fine, and the rest of my life will be fine.”
But no! Well, we just can’t compartmentalize in that way. We physically can’t do it. We’re just one whole person.
It’s important that our work aligns with what’s important to us. I’ll talk more about how to kind of find that alignment.
And if you’re feeling a little stuck, we can talk about how to kind of get moving in the right direction. That way you feel well overall and feel like things are aligning for you in your life.
Have You Made a Career Change Before?
I want to start by just asking some questions and if you would please answer these in the chat.
If you’ve ever made a career change before, what was hard about it? Or, if you’re going through one now or thinking about going through one now, what about it feels hard or feels challenging?
Comments from participants:
- The unknown is hard to face. It can feel really scary and uncertain.
- Maybe you’ve gone through it before and it was the best decision you’ve ever made.
- There’s pressure to find your purpose. A lot of times I hear: “I need to find my passion and just do this thing I’m passionate about or find my purpose”. A lot of that is like trial and error. A lot of times our passion or purpose changes over life.
- Being afraid to fail. Trying something new, it’s like, what if I haven’t done it before and what does that mean about me if I’m not good at it? I would also even think about what does failure mean to you? What does failure look like for you?
- What if you’re a lot older now, so maybe things feel different? I wonder if change feels harder as we get older.
- Feel stuck in your career that you’re not as excited about. I totally understand that. You might have been excited about it one time and things have changed for you and maybe it’s not so exciting anymore.
Motivation to get motivation. Finding what motivates you is important.
- You’re excited about changes. Finding fulfillment and values that align, finding someone that will take a chance.
- Haven’t worked in a particular field. That can be hard, just getting someone who’s going to take a chance on you and we’ll talk a little bit about some ideas for that. But yeah, that can be hard because it does take a little bit of a risk for you and the employer.
- You transitioned from a creative environment to corporate because it seemed right, and now you are kind of figuring out what the struggle is for the next step. Especially when you start looking at societal pressures or norms from other people about what is right. It doesn’t always align with what we need or what we feel is best for us, and that can be really challenging.
- Sometimes it’s hard to find a job that aligns with a very specific career focus I’ve developed. So depending on how niche you are in your career, it can be hard. Think about if you’re open to making a change or if you want to stay in that field, what that change might look like.
You made a career change and it was a disaster and reluctant to make another career change.
- Income versus passion feels like they’re mutually exclusive. I hope not depending on your industry. Sometimes it can feel that way, but I get that that can be challenging. A lot of times there’s a stigma that creative fields don’t make as much money, and there can be tension for sure.
- A lot of people your age may be retiring, but you want to make a career change. That can be hard. Age discrimination is real too.
Thank you all so much for, one, sharing, being vulnerable, and two, supporting each other. There can be a lot of challenges, unfortunately.
A lot of you have shared some challenges about a career change. Some of you alluded to things that maybe made it a challenge. But I am curious for you if there are strategies. I’m actually going to jump down to the third question here:
What Worked for You When You Made a Career Change?
If you’ve made a career change or thinking about one, let’s share some positive advice with one another.
Comments from participants:
- Not being afraid to rethink my whole career path. That takes a lot of courage.
- Doing a lot of research, and hearing from people who made similar changes. It can be really helpful to learn about other people’s experiences. So ask them how did they make this change? How were they able to get their foot in the door?
- Developing a strong resume. Strong resume interviewing skills definitely make a difference.
- Focusing on passion, not just on a paycheck. It’s great when those things align.
- Keeping an open mind to the experience and the people. This can sometimes be easier said than done.
- Having some strategic documents can be really helpful.
- Being open. I think that’s like I said, so much easier said than done. It does take a lot of courage to be kind of open to a new experience.
Make sure things feel stable in other areas of your life. You might have more of the capacity to lean into getting a little uncomfortable with the career change. So I find that that’s really helpful for people too.
If lots of areas of their lives are feeling a little unstable, that may not be the best time for a career change.
But being able to be in a place where you feel like you can be open, that’s huge.
Stop avoiding and putting off applying and making time to work on your resume and research. This is also sometimes easier said than done too, but definitely can feel so good once you get a little bit of momentum. It can feel so empowering and encouraging to keep going.
These are all great tips and things even ways to approach this process because it is hard and everybody’s situation is different. I just like to acknowledge, like I said, that sometimes you’ve got a lot of things in your lives that might feel a little uneasy or unsteady.
People feel a little bit more comfortable and feel like they are able to kind of jump in or have an open mind or things like that when other pieces of their life are feeling like they’re more stable too. But again, we can’t separate who we are from what we do at work.
I definitely know that our personal life and work life can interact with one another. But I also like to acknowledge that making a career change can be an uncomfortable thing. It requires leaning into something new. There’s the uncertainty that you all mentioned and so we’ll talk about some ways to kind of cope with that. But I also just like for people to have some grace with themselves too. This can be a hard thing.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re all here and it sounds like already thinking about how to lean in and do this hard thing. So just I hope you acknowledge that for yourself, too.
Starts with knowing you need a change
I like to share this approach to a career change, or really any kind of transition, but I love this, especially when thinking about a change. A lot of you talked about things that can feel kind of scary, especially with the unknown and especially not knowing what’s out there, knowing if you’ll fail.
William Bridges has a book called “Transitions“ that has a really nice approach to thinking about any kind of life transition, but especially with a career change.
A lot of times when we think of new phases of our life, we might think of a chapter book where one chapter ends and then we turn the page and the next chapter begins.
What William Bridges kind of argues is that we forget about this in-between period that is actually the most important part of any transition. A lot of times we want to get from the end of point A to point B, but there’s this kind of murky in between parts.
So according to William Bridges, there are three stages:
There are things that let us know that we’re at the end of a chapter, the end of a phase of our lives. It could be that people around us are retiring or you’re feeling stuck in a job and you’re losing motivation. It could be that the money isn’t meeting, the salary isn’t meeting, the needs of your lifestyle or your family needs have changed, or whatever it might be.
But there are things in our lives that tell us it’s time for a change. And with that, there’s some sense of loss.
So anytime a phase of our life ends, for some people, there’s some grief associated there. This life that we thought we were going to have, the future we thought we were going to have in this direction is coming to an end. Or the way things were going, whether good or bad, or any experience in the middle, is coming to an end.
Sometimes we can have some really strong feelings about that, and it’s important to process those.
The book has some really great reflection questions to think about what’s leading you to your end and how you want to make meaning and find some comfort and resolution in your ending.
2. In Between
When we think about The Middle, I have this picture of The Wizard of Oz when she’s streaming and there’s a tornado kind of swirling around and things just feel really uncertain and unsettled. A lot of you may know that feeling. I like to call it the swirls also.
But it’s this in-between feeling that’s actually the most important part of any transition. And that’s actually where the most growth happens because it gives us the time to pause and have this open space of seeing what are the pieces we want to collect and hold onto and take with us as the dust is starting to settle and before we move into our new beginning.
There are questions in the book too, to think about how you want to start your beginning and how you want to move forward.
We’ll talk about some ideas for each of these stages, but I just like to share that a lot of times you want to go from: “I ended this job or going to this job” or “I ended school, and now this is my next move”.
And really that in between can feel so uncomfortable and scary.
If we can give ourselves the space to get into the murkiness of it, we can come out the other side feeling so much more confident in the direction we want to go into in terms of knowing about ourselves and knowing about our options.
Then when we have that new beginning, we can have some really great tools in our tool belt to start moving forward strategically. The main point I want to highlight with this transition model is that we’re going to lean into the in-between a little bit in our conversation today. I’m really just going to pose a lot of reflective questions to get you thinking.
If you’re ever interested, you’re welcome to check out this book too. There are some more great reflection questions in there also.
Decision-Making Cycle: The CASVE Cycle
How to move forward
The decision-making process is a research and evidence-based career decision-making cycle that comes out of Florida State University. They call it The CASVE cycle. It is a research-based decision-making process that allows individuals to make well-informed, confident choices.
1. The first step is at the top of this circle or this cycle where something is telling us that we need to make a decision. So again, we talked about you’re at the end of a transition or end of a phase in your life. There are messages coming at you or maybe coming within you that are letting you know that it’s time for a change.
2. The next part of that phase is knowing ourselves and knowing what we need. And specifically, when it comes to career decision-making, there are four areas that are really important for us to think about. We have to know a little bit about ourselves and what we need from work.
3. Once we know a little bit about ourselves, we can start to learn more about the options that are out there.
Some of you talked about that: talking to people who have made decisions, who have made changes like this before, and learning more about what’s out there. Those are great strategies at this stage in the game when you’re thinking about how to expand your options and learn more about things you’ve never heard of before.
As you start to explore and learn more options, you’re also going to be thinking about those things that you know you need to narrow down options at the same time. Kind of like this internal checkbox that we have. You want to make sure things align with our checkboxes.
Then hopefully you’ll narrow it down to maybe your top three to five types of areas you might be interested in or jobs you might be interested in, or even paths you might be interested in just to keep it open.
4. You’ll then prioritize those based on your values. You’ll kind of narrow them down.
5. Then it’s really hard to move forward/implement your first choice without some kind of risk. I’ll talk about different levels of risk. There’s definitely a whole spectrum of what risk can feel like in terms of taking action and moving forward.
Once you do start to take those actions, then you have the opportunity to kind of evaluate how did this work out for you.
- Do you feel good about it?
- Or do you need to kind of maybe redirect in the future?
We go through this cycle throughout our lives all the time, whether it’s in careers or other types of decision-making.
It’s estimated that current millennials are likely to work in nine different industries.
That’s kind of the most recent economist forecast. It’s probably gone up since I last got that data. But imagine working in at least nine industries. So not even jobs, but industries.
That’s just a testament to the fact that we change and evolve over time and our work has to evolve with us.
It’s normal for our needs to change.
But this is a great cycle to go through as you start to notice that things maybe aren’t aligning for you anymore or you’re feeling stuck.
The Rainy Day Boots: An Example
I like to use an example of if you’re going to buy rain boots.
So here in Houston, we get a lot of rain, we get some floods, but let’s say it’s raining really hard, and there are puddles everywhere, and so it’s letting me know that I need to buy some rain boots.
- What I’m going to start with is knowing what I need out of these boots. Maybe it’s material, maybe it’s a price point, sustainability factor.
- I’m going to think about, of course, my size, and availability.
- I’m going to think about what my needs are that I have.
- Then I’m going to look and see what’s out there, what’s on Amazon, what’s in the store, what are different places.
- And based on my needs, I’m going to evaluate how this lines up with what I know I need about these rain boots.
- Then I’m going to prioritize them based on what’s most important to me. Maybe it is, again, the size or availability or the material or the color.
- I’m going to start to narrow down my top three picks, and
- I’m going to take action.
- I might order them.
- I might go in a store and try them on.
- I’m going to do something to kind of test it out and see how it fits and how it goes.
- And based on that experience, I’m going to evaluate if they feel like great rain boots.
I’m ready for my next rainstorm. Or maybe I need to go back and find another pair.
I don’t mean to trivialize jobs either, because I know that jobs are much bigger decisions and career paths and career changes are much bigger decisions than rain boots.
But I just like to kind of illustrate that you may be going through this process on a regular basis, and it’s a great process that you can use when thinking about moving forward for your career, too.
I’m a millennial, and I’ve definitely had a few different kinds of careers already. It’s been hard to find something that really works. It may be that I think that’s really normal, and it may be that what worked at one point in your life doesn’t work anymore.
I find that sometimes people who have a lot of different varied interests kind of need to change jobs and go through these cycles multiple times just because they have so many interests and needs that they need to get met.
It may be hard to find one job that kind of meets all those needs.
That’s a great segue into kind of the first thing to think about with ourselves. Step one is knowing we have to make a decision. But step two is knowing yourself.
- What do you enjoy doing for fun?
- What activities do you find yourself losing track of time with?
- If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
- What are your favorite books or movies?
One of the things to know about yourself in terms of making a strong career decision is your interest. So again, these are some great questions to kind of think about on your own, write down or maybe come back to this recording and reflect on.
But what do you like to do for fun? What are the things you find yourself just in the flow where you just lose track of time and you could spend all day doing something and not even realize the sun setting?
If you could do anything in the world without any obstacles, what would you wake up tomorrow and start doing?
I know there are obstacles and I know that we don’t always have time for fun, but I really encourage you to think about what are the things that you just truly enjoy.
Another question I would like you to think about is what are your favorite books or movies? And I want to talk about the “why” here. So a lot of times the way that we engage with content or engage with forms of entertainment like a book, a movie, or a show, says a lot about our other interests.
A lot of times I’ll talk to people and I’ll say what do you like to do for fun? They’ll say: “I’m on YouTube or social media or watching TV.”
Tell me about what you like to watch. That can give us a lot of insight.
So, for example, if you really like stories that are around Mystery, Law and Order, or Forensic Files or any kind of crime shows, you might really enjoy problem-solving and the thought process of what happens next and cause and effect and really thinking things through.
If that’s the kind of natural interest that you have, you might enjoy work that allows you to do a lot of problem-solving and be curious to understand cause and effect. The same thing is true of sitcoms.
So if you really enjoy sitcoms or romantic comedies or things that are more about interactions and relationships, you may also enjoy a more people-focused type of work that allows you to focus on building relationships in your job.
I’ll give one more example here. Let’s say you like Home Improvement-related shows, or shows that are around like a flip or seeing new houses, or shows related to baking contests. There may be something about the creativity of those jobs that you really like. So you might enjoy work that allows you to have some sense of creativity in it.
Let’s also say you like something like Survivor or reality show competitions or things like that. Maybe you like a competitive kind of work or maybe you like work that’s really hands-on.
Pay attention to what content you like to engage in, and what is it about it that kind of gets your brain really fired up and gets you really interested and kind of tuned in.
Even if you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of time for hobbies, think about some books or movies, or shows that you like to tap into or that you like to engage with because that can also tap into some of your interests.
So that’s one domain of things we need to start thinking about for ourselves. What do we like? And it’s really important that we do work that we like because if we don’t motivation is so much harder. When we do work that we don’t enjoy it’s going to bleed into other areas of our life too. And so it can have a really big impact on our happiness and just kind of overall life satisfaction.
- What are the things that come naturally to you?
- What do people come to you for advice for?
- What are areas you want to improve?
Another component to think about is our skills. So if we have a job that we like but it doesn’t come as naturally to us, sure we can do it, but we’re going to get frustrated and we have to put in a lot more energy than maybe someone else is doing the same job. And that can feel frustrating sometimes.
A lot of times the things that we like are also things we are naturally good at.
This is just for the sake of the fact that if we like it, we’re more likely to put more time into it and develop a skill out of it. But still think about what are those things that are skills for you.
Are there things that just come naturally to you or that people come to you for advice for?
So for example, I have a neighbor who is an engineer and it’s very handy. So anytime I need some help with something that is like a handyman kind of work, that’s the person I go to. And he has a great skill at that, that he uses at his job.
Thinking about what are the things that people come to you for.
- Is it something like that?
- Is it a technical skill, is it problem-solving, or relationship advice?
- What are those things that people come to you for or kind of perceive you as an expert in?
And what are areas that maybe you just want to improve? Maybe it’s a skill that you haven’t gotten to really check out or test out, but it’s something that seems interesting to you and you want to lean into. That’s something to think about too.
We don’t always get a chance to try every little thing. So think about if there are certain skill sets you’ve been wanting to try out or build.
Personality / Environment
- What setting do you prefer?
- Do you prefer working with people or things?
- How do you prefer to contribute to a team?
- How do you prefer to structure your time?
We talked about interests and strengths.
The third part of this is our personality and how it fits into our work environment.
- So some people might prefer working from home because of the flexibility.
- Some people might prefer going into an office.
- Some people might prefer working out in the field or working with people or numbers.
There are different ways that people like to contribute to a team. So think about it for you, are you someone who likes to really collaborate and brainstorm with others? Or are you someone who likes to work independently and then present to the team? Think about those kinds of dynamics that work best for you.
You can even think about your structure. So do you prefer to have a job that’s more project-based? You can kind of work on things as you have time throughout the day. Maybe you can work on it in the middle of the night if you need to. Or do you really need a structure for like an 8-5 or 7-4?
Think about how you need to structure the work that you do based on what else is going on in your life and just your own personality too.
So again, I think a lot of times people think they can do any job or they’ll try whatever. I hear this a lot from the college students that I’ve worked with. But really, knowing your preferences is going to make your life so much easier to be in an environment that is setting you up for success.
Can we work in environments that may not be our favorite? Sure, but we’re going to experience tension. If you’re someone who really likes to work independently and you’re surrounded by people all day, that’s going to feel really frustrating and draining for you.
And even if you like the job, the environment is still going to zap your energy. Try to think about what you need from your environment based on your own personality and preferences.
- What jobs have you considered? Why?
- Who do you admire? Why? What job do they have?
- What’s your favorite character in a story?
- What do you want your legacy to be?
- What are your deal breakers?
The fourth, and I would say the most important piece of knowing yourself is knowing what’s important to you and what your values are. We don’t often go around talking about our values and so we may not have language for them.
And so I’ve got some prompt questions here to kind of get you thinking about what values might be present for you. If you know your values, that is great.
Some values could be things like:
- having an impact on the community,
- helping others,
- prestige, and
Those are just a few values that you might have.
But if you think about some of these questions, I hope they can bring up some other ideas and things that are important to you too.
So if you think about jobs that you’ve considered, what is it about that job that sounds appealing to you? That might give you some insight as to what’s kind of feeling attractive about it to you.
I would like for people to think about who you admire. Even if we don’t know what our own values are, a lot of times the things we admire about other people reflect back our own values.
So think about the people in your life that you admire and try to think outside, like your immediate family. This might be a distant relative, a celebrity, or even a fictional person.
- What is it about them that you admire?
- What are the qualities that they have that are so important to you?
- Think about what job they have. How are they showing their values?
And maybe there’s something about their jobs that might be of interest to you too.
I think with jobs, too, a lot of times we only know what we’ve been exposed to. There are so many jobs out there, and we don’t know what we don’t know.
So, again, thinking about people in our life and the work that they do can also kind of help to expand our options also.
A question I like to think about that may seem kind of silly is what’s your favorite character in a story? Even when you were younger, is there a story or movie where there’s a character that you really like?
I’ll give a couple of examples. So I worked with someone once and their favorite character was Batman. I asked them what is it about Batman that makes them their favorite. And they were able to say, Batman really is looking out for other people. He protects. He is able to problem solve and kind of go out there and fight for what’s important and keep people safe.
And this same person has a career where they are doing a lot of problem-solving and a lot of trying to protect people and keep them safe. And it’s a great career fit for them because whether they know it or not, the fact that they love Batman, there’s something about that aligns with their values of protecting other people and problem-solving.
So think about what’s your favorite character in the story, and what is it about them that makes them your favorite? There might be something to your own career story that would be important to embed based on what that person does too.
The next question is a really big question. So I definitely want to give you space and time to think about it beyond our session tonight.
What do you want your legacy to be?
There’s a question in the Transitions book I mentioned earlier, and it asks: “What would you want to have written on your tombstone?” (Assuming you want a tombstone.)
Think about what are those lasting pieces. What do you want your tombstone, what do you want your legacy to be? It really forces you to think if you’re in the future and looking back, what are those things you want to be doing now that you feel are going to align with what’s most important to you?
What are your deal breakers?
Another question to really get you thinking about values and then what are your deal breakers? I think in deal breakers as maybe the more practical side of value is based on what you need in your life right now. So deal breakers could be:
- a certain salary
- certain education requirements, or maybe doesn’t have certain education requirements.
- job intensity, maybe you are really needing something that’s not so intense for this stage of your life. Maybe you’re wanting something that feels like a little bit slower pace.
So think a little bit about our values, but also our priorities, too.
Those four areas that we want to think about are:
- What do we like,
- What are we good at,
- What works best for our personality and what environment is going to set us up for success, and
- What are our values?
A couple of you actually kind of alluded to values and doing purposeful work.
We can do work that maybe doesn’t align with our purpose, but it’s going to impact how meaningful the rest of our life feels. It really is.
Let’s say you’re in a job where you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes you need to connect with the “why”: “Why does this job even exist?” That can help us reignite our values.
Let me give an example. If someone is a custodian, they may not enjoy the actual cleaning aspect of their job, but I know of people who are custodians who say that they love their job because they love creating a safe space for kids.
So try to connect with the “why” of your job, or even the “why” of the organization you’re a part of in terms of how is it having an impact. That can at least help you get through this stage until you find a job that maybe aligns a little bit more closely.
But definitely, the importance of values is really going to help us feel like we’re doing meaningful work and purposeful and definitely can change our quality of life.
Gain Career Information: Options for Learning
After we think about these core areas and learn a little bit about ourselves then the next step is going out and learning about options and assessing and evaluating those options as we go based on what our needs are.
I like to think of different tiers to risk-taking and trying something out that are different levels of risk and investment. I’m going to start with least risk to most risk. I’ll share some resources that you can use to learn more about career options. Go online, and learn a little bit about some careers that are out there.
Watch videos, there are so many things on YouTube about a day in the life of any career. But learn a lot about options online just to see what’s out there. That can be a really great first step for a lot of people.
The next step might be connecting with people who are in some of these areas that you’re thinking about. We call this an informational interview. An informational interview is just talking to someone who’s in a job or career or even in an industry that you’re thinking about and you want to know more about it firsthand.
So you can find out:
- How did they get into it?
- What’s the day-to-day like?
- What tips do they have for me?
- What they like or do not like?
Getting that perspective from someone who’s doing the work you’re thinking about can be really helpful and also a great way to build connections that might help you out in the future too.
Then there are also varying levels of hands-on experience. So shadowing someone that you talk to to get an idea of what is it really like on a day-to-day basis.
It could be volunteering for an organization you’re interested in or volunteering to do similar work that you might be interested in. It could even be taking a class to learn more about what is the knowledge that’s needed and that might give you a sense of what the work is like.
Some people might just gain work experience. They might just start off with a part-time job as a way to kind of ease in and learn more about it and see if it feels like the right fit for them. Or again a bigger investment is going to be to gain full-time work in that new path.
I find that folks are a lot more confident in doing that when they’ve done some of these other steps to kind of lead to it and that can feel a little bit more comfortable. So definitely different levels of risk.
I do find, again, that going through the process of learning about yourself and then learning more about options in this kind of gradual way can help with confidence a lot.
Prioritize & Evaluate Options
Let’s say you’ve gone through this process of learning about yourself. You learned about options, you started to narrow things down. Now it’s time to really prioritize.
Some things to think about is as you are thinking about these options, how is it checking your boxes? So how is it aligning with your needs? And I’ve got some additional reflection questions here for you to think about too.
What are the costs and benefits of this job?
Does it have higher pay but mean I might have a more hectic work schedule or I might be more stressed out and carry that home? Is this job more creative, but maybe you have concerns about the income?
Think about what are the costs and benefits of the job. Because every job is going to have some kind of cost and benefit to ourselves and to others.
So think about how it impacts you, how it impacts your family, your community, and the folks around you that are part of your life.
How do I feel now about this choice?
As you start to try out these choices through some of those gradual ways (maybe taking a class or talking to somebody or shadowing or getting part-time work), start to think about how are you feeling.
- What emotions are coming up for you?
- Are you finding yourself getting excited or more nervous or are you feeling really at peace?
- Is it all of the above?
But start to notice how are you feeling about it and what are those feelings telling you about whether or not this is the right direction for me.
How confident are you about this choice?
The next piece of that is how confident you feel in it. So I love to ask people to think on a scale of 0-10. How confident do you feel about this choice? And depending on that number, think about what you need to get one point higher. So if you’re at like a 5, and you’re right in the middle, what do you need to get to a 6?
A lot of times its additional information. What’s the additional information that you need? Maybe you do need to just try it, or maybe you need to talk to somebody. Maybe you need to go online and make sure you have all the data and facts in terms of how fast this industry is growing or what the salary rates are across the country.
What is that information that you need to just feel like a slightly bit more sure about it? Here’s a conversation you need to have with a family member to make sure it’s going to fit in with the rest of your life.
These are some reflection questions you can also be thinking about as you go through this process.
Resources for Career Change
Here are some resources that you can use to learn about yourself and learn about options and hopefully evaluate some things too.
So we have some awesome resources on our website, Eddins Counseling Group Career Resources.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
I want to share a couple of others of these. One really great online tool for learning about careers is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is a website that is created by the Department of Labor that’s got tons of information about careers.
They’ve got videos about what these people do, projected job growth, and how to become this occupation. If that occupation sounds cool, there’s even a whole list of similar occupations you might want to consider too. This is a really great tool.
O*Net Interest Profiler
The next one is O*Net Interest Profiler. It is actually part of the website O*NET OnLine which is also another great resource to learn about careers and their Interest Profiler is a free career interest quiz that they have that you can take. It only takes about ten minutes, it’s free and it will give you some ideas for careers that might be a good fit for you based on your top career interest. So, these are great places to start.
Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI
If you’re wanting to go a little bit deeper and learn about yourself, we offer a couple of assessments here at Eddins Counseling Group. So one is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator MBTI and that’s a great way to learn about your preferences and your personality and think about how that could fit into workplaces that might set you up for success.
We also offer a strong interest inventory. That is a very detailed report of how your interests compare with people in 150 occupations and it’ll say: “Based on your responses, you responded really similarly to people in these occupations. Let’s look at what it is about what they do that you might also enjoy.”
So it can come up with some really great ideas for options there too and also kind of help us narrow down our interests also.
Another great resource and tool are using LinkedIn.
That’s a great way to find people and kind of learn who’s doing the work that you’re doing if you want to connect for an informational interview.
A really cool thing about LinkedIn too is if you find someone who’s working in a role or at a company that you think might be interesting, you can actually look at their profile and see what are all the jobs that they had to get to this point.
You can actually see a visual of their career path to get an idea of some experiences that you might want to check out or consider having.
LinkedIn also has LinkedIn Learning. So if you are thinking about taking a course to kind of level up or if there’s a certain certification or skill set you’re wanting to grow in, there are some options on LinkedIn for that too.
Identify potential barriers to your goal and support needed
Some other things that maybe aren’t necessarily resources but just recommendations are to think about what might be some barriers to your goal and the support needed.
So if you have a goal that you identify and you recognize it’s going to impact your life in terms of your income or your schedule, or maybe you do need to take a class or whatever it might be, think about what those barriers are and what support you need.
I like to be realistic and kind of plan for potential obstacles. That way you can have some support in place in case you need to get around them.
Create a routine with rewards
Another thing I like to share is when you’re in the job search or exploring new careers, try to create some routine out of it. I know we’re all busy, but having some structure will help us not feel like we’re just in this one big scary dark hole that never ends, because it can definitely feel that way.
So having some routine in terms of maybe you decide you want to spend one hour looking at what people do in different careers, or one hour learning about careers through the Occupational Handbook. Or maybe you just want to not even have a time limit.
Maybe you just want to include some kind of schedule: Around this time, I’m going to complete the owner interest profiler, or at this time, I’m going to make an appointment with a career counselor or therapist at Eddins Counseling. Have some structure in place so that way it doesn’t feel like it’s just this swirly dark hole.
Every time you take a step towards your career, acknowledge it as a little win and reward yourself.
So I hope even after this session you’ll do something that’s like a reward for yourself. Whether it is like going for a walk or having an ice cream or watching your favorite show. Whatever feels like a reward for you, build that into each step of the way to keep yourself motivated and encouraged as you go through it.
Let’s say after this session, you complete the owner interest profiler and do something to reward yourself afterward. Again, it’s really going to help as you keep moving forward.
Eddins Counseling Group Career Resources
I want to show you this ebook that we have. If you go to our website and go to resources, we have a whole article about job search and career resources, especially once you’re ready to start moving forward in your job search process.
We’ve got some great stuff in here. So we’ve got information about the job market, we’ve got some job search strategies, we’ve got resume samples, cover letter examples, and some resources for preparing for interviews. So a lot of great stuff.
On this top right-hand side, we’ve got an ebook around Seven Steps to Making Positive Career Changes (see below). You can click on this and download it and it’s got tons of great information, and it is kind of like a workbook. So you may see some of the same questions that we saw that you saw this evening.
But it’s got a lot of reflective questions where you can think about what are your values, your skills, your interests, and what you know about jobs that are out there. You can kind of take inventory as you go, so I really recommend checking that out.
There are also some great questions in there just to think about how are you feeling about your job search and what you need just to feel more confident in general. Anyway, I encourage you to check that out. This is completely free and on our website.
- Identify 3 learning opportunities you can use over the next week
- Meet with a counselor for support: career exploration, resume reviews, LinkedIn review, networking strategies, interview prep, and evaluating offers
For your next step, think about what are three learning opportunities you could take over the next week to learn about yourself or about options. Again, it could be as small as going online and learning about what’s out there. But think about what are three things that feel doable, and if three feel like too much, do one.
Then the next step might also be meeting with me or another career counselor to go over this whole process with you and be here to support you. So we are here to support you from career exploration to reviewing your resume.
- We can review your LinkedIn,
- talk about how you want to network,
- help you prepare for interviews, and even
- help you with evaluating and negotiating offers.
So just know that you’ve got support through our team along the way.
If you want to get connected with our office, these are a couple of ways to do it. You can call, text or email for a free consultation just to learn more about our office and services.
Call (832) 559-2622 or
Text (832) 699-5001
If you’re ready to just dive in and book an appointment, I’ve got our link here to book an appointment as well. So lots of ways to get connected with our office and get some support. And with that, I just want to thank you so much for joining us today.
What are your thoughts on the trial and error method?
I think trial and error can be great as long as it’s within your scope of comfort with risk. So everyone’s idea of a trial and error is going to depend. So again, thinking about that kind of continuum of risk.
Are you going to try something by:
- shadowing it,
- getting a part-time job, or
- you’re going to jump into a full-time job?
I do definitely think that employers can tell when you’re not confident, whether or not you know that’s the route you want to go.
Keep in mind that if you are unsure if you’re going to like something, an employer can kind of get a sense of that too, and they might feel hesitant if they can sense you might be hesitant. So I think trial and error kind of depends on your own level of comfort with risk and also how confident you feel in that trial.
Everyone’s personality is different too, in terms of being ready to jump in and try something versus wanting to feel more cautious. We all have different kinds of approaches to that too.
Do you have a resource for salary estimates?
Those two resources that I shared with you, the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET OnLine, are both great tools to learn about salary expectations. On the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you can even look at state and local as well as nationwide averages for salary.
Another great tool is Salary. Here, you can look by location and job title. You could also even narrow down by years of experience, how many people you’re supervising, and level of education, and it’ll give you a nice benchmark to kind of see where you could expect your range to be within a wider range of people with a wider range of experiences.
What is your message for people trying to make a career change in their 40s or it’s never too late?
I won’t say it’s never too late, just to not be cliche, but I know a lot of people including one who I’m working with someone right now who is making a career change in their 40s. It can absolutely be done. I work with people who make a career change in their 60s. It can be done.
I think it goes back to identifying those transferable skills. Think about really what are the things that come naturally to me, what are the experiences I’ve had from my past careers that I want to bring with me into the future?
Then, work with the career counselor to kind of think about how you want to strategically promote and talk about all of those transferable skills in an interview and in your resume. So I won’t say it’s never too late, but I’m definitely working with folks now that are in that age group and that are making a career change. That’s absolutely possible.
Does what students say about me count as what I’m good at?
I think if you’re in a teaching role, you could definitely think about what is it about the content that you’re sharing with them. If people you are serving or working with are giving you feedback, that could definitely be a sign of something that you’re good at.
I might even not just ask the people that you serve and what they say about you, but what do your colleagues think you’re good at, too? But definitely, the people you serve are probably one of the best judgments of whether or not you’ve got some skills at the thing that you’re working on with them. That could definitely count.
What additional advice would you give to someone who has a lot of interest and can imagine a lot of very different niche careers and have a lot of different work experiences?
That is where I think that’s pretty normal to change jobs often again for people who have a lot of interest. I hear that a lot. It’s very normal because you’re trying to get so many interests filled.
One of the best ways to really narrow down is to think about your values. So anytime we’re feeling like there are a lot of options on there and feeling overwhelmed by all the interests and options, checking into your values is going to be the way to kind of narrow it down the best.
Because you might be doing work that you like, but if it’s not feeling meaningful or fulfilling to you, it may not ultimately check your boxes or feel as interesting to you otherwise. So tap into values as a way to kind of narrow it down.
All right, everyone, I’m going to let you all go. I hope you have a great evening and hope you do something to reward yourself for taking this time for yourself. I hope you have a good evening, and thanks again for all the questions and all your participation. Thank you so much for being here. Bye, everyone.
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