How to Switch Careers: Part 3

faq_2What It Takes to Get the Career You Want

Continued from Part 2

At one point during the party the more inquisitive young woman asked me what I would do for a fantasy career. I smiled and said, “Be a career consultant and a writer.” She then asked, “What do you do now?” “Exactly that,” I said. “It took eight years to get here from my engineering career from hell, but I am committed to this vision to make a difference.” At first she gave no response, just a big curious smile. Later, she came back in private and said, “Can you tell me how to switch careers?”

Here goes nothing:

1. Uncover your natural talents.

Your perfect career is a reflection of what you “already” are—you have innate abilities, you’re not a blank slate. Put the job hunt on hold for awhile, you’ll drive yourself nuts trying to find a career that fits you on By looking outward you put the possibility of finding what you want in someone else’s hands. Watch, listen, and notice how you do your life, especially where you are good at it. Examine where you’re doing things that come easy and naturally and set out to get even better at what you do.

2. Design the specs.

Build your future career one piece at a time, each piece a should be a important part of your daily life. Most of us try to take one big leap from high school or college into a career. This is hard to do, and for many people, very shortsighted. It’s easier to learn about yourself and the world a little at a time and begin choosing smaller pieces of your career and lifestyle. For example, do you enjoy working with people, ideas, things, or a special combination of these? Like an engineering project, start by choosing your career components—design specs—required for your career blueprint.

3. Design the full picture.

Use your imagination to integrate your design specs: your natural talents, personality traits, meaning and purpose, etc, into a full-blown career vision that custom fits you. An interesting thing happens to people when they clean out the cobwebs and allow themselves to dream a little. Dreams create a positive tension that pulls you forward. Your imagination can be actively used as a tool to create a detailed blueprint of a future possibility to further explore. The clearer you can see the end point in your minds eye, or what “a day in the life” of your perfect career looks like, sounds like, and feels like, the easier it is to make it happen.

4. Do a reality check.

Experiment with your career prototype; research it, talk to people doing it, and start being it. At this stage you’ll be ready to do some solid research to get more clarity. The reality check is an investigation to see if the real deal is what you really want. A short cut to learning more about your career vision is to find the people already doing it and go talk to them.

5. Keep a beginner’s mind.

Repeat the above steps until you are crystal clear about what you want. Trust that clarity will come as you study your inner and outer world. Stay inquisitive and open, even with all your research you may still need to stew for awhile. A career vision is as clear as its inventor; the more we know about who we are (and how to put this in action), the better we can help ourselves and ask people around us for support.

6. Begin building the bridge to your new career.

Once you’ve firmed up your career blueprint, choose it, and then get started building it. When you make it to this step, you’ve done it—you’re a practical dreamer. Through careful reflection, thorough consideration of smaller components, creative imagination, research, fine-tuning and test-driving, and a commitment to make it happen over the long-haul, you’ll be building a bridge to your future career path.

Whatever you can do, or you dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. ~Goethe