A New Year, a New Career! Take a Leap!

This time of year is always a time of reflection and goal setting for what you either failed to do last year or didn’t dare to dream until now.  The obvious ones at the top of most lists are getting more physically fit or stopping a dreaded habit. These are obviously great things to do and can have a great impact on your lifestyle or future, but they are usually easy decisions. You know what you must accomplish or do to achieve them.  

Changes

This time of year also brings the opportunity to make those not so easy changes in your life. Like changing industries within your career. This is not as easy as saying, “I am going to go work for the competitor of my current business,  because I hear they pay more, have better benefits, are closer to my house,” or in worst case scenarios, “I will no longer have to put up with this jerk as a boss”. These are usually simple transitions as you will have the skill sets, industry vocabulary, and personal and professional network that can bring instant results to the bottom line, making it less of a risk to hire you.  This can be accomplished somewhat easily by making a few key contacts and pulling out that old resume for a quick update. I would recommend getting in touch with someone that does this for a living, like a local staffing company that you can trust, as they have insights on jobs and companies that maybe you are not aware of something else that could be a great fit.

Risks

This article is for those that are interested in getting out of or ending their career in one industry to transition to another.  This can be a very scary decision since you are leaving the industry for which you have contacts, industry knowledge and success. Maybe it no longer excites you to be doing this or maybe you have topped out in this line of work. It’s possible there’s no room for advancement or promotions. Even if there were, they would be meaningless to you.  

Seeing the Change

I came across a scenario like this early in my career for which I found myself out of college for a few years and climbing the corporate ladder.  I was doing well, or so I thought until my father tuned me into the fact that my industry was going downhill. He also opened my eyes to the fact that those that I thought I was helping, I was going to be hurting.  I had to change industries, and fast. This is exactly what I did and it worked. I believe it can for you as well. I confided in a friend that owned a business to look at my resume. He laughed at it and told me it could be done better if I wanted to be seriously considered for a different line of work.  He also mentioned that I would need to change my way of thinking.

Accepting the Risk

If you are looking to change industries and you have put yourself in a position for which you must maintain or even make more money than what you were currently making, the odds for success are very small.  You must look at the big picture and realize that though you are a confident and determined individual, rarely is a company going to train you in a new industry and pay you more than what you were making.

Taking a Leap

This was true in my case.  I went from being trained as a junior executive to a salesman at the bottom of the totem pole for a new company.  I also took a sizable pay cut and lost the prestige of being known as a top performer to that of a “this is the new guy that doesn’t know anything.”  I had to work harder and things were not as easy for me as they were before, but I kept my eyes on the bigger picture. Through hard work, training and determination I was able to change industries and thus began a career in helping people.  I quickly found out that because I was doing what I loved and had a passion for, the money that I lost by changing industries was no longer as big of deal as what it was when I made the switch. Don’t get me wrong, it was still scary at the time, but sometimes the best things come from those types of situations.  

If you were wondering what industry I was in before I made the switch to staffing, it was the mortgage industry and we all know how that turned out in 2008.  That corporate ladder that I was climbing no longer has a ladder at all. Thanks Dad.

Written by: Kevin Burr