Career Change in early 30s

Sunday, May 10th, 2009 - career change, career coaching, career management, career planning


Career Change

Secretary of Change: Inchoate Fear Resolution
Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

Ben asks: I am 32 and I started a career in recruitment about 10 years ago, the past 3 years I have moved in to inhouse recruitment and have about 3 years experience within HR. Due to the economic downturn my role has been made part-time which has given me the opportunity to retrain in a different direction. I am however in the classic trap where I am on a decent salary and if I move in to a different field I am aware that a may have to take a huge drop. I am looking for inspiration of what I could re-train in or a direction I could move in to but feel that I am just going round in circles. I am trying to figure out a different direction perhaps combining my existing experience

In answer:
The key issues when changing careers, are (a) motivation (the why), and (b) the explanation (the commitment). Both answer the third question for the employer, which is: risk.

It would seem from the way you have written your question – and asking such questions in forums is good, as you can make what others may see as mistakes – is that the change was brought about by the fact you went part time, over a long term career ambition. You also don’t state what you want to do, just that you want to do something else.

Career change is wholly possible – particularly before the age of 45 – if you bare in mind the question of what you really want to do, and ideally test that area and then show some commitment to it; and then know how you explain the change to future employers.

Your situation sounds ideal for a career advisory service or a career coach, but you can sit down with three pieces of paper and do this yourself with the help of some friends:

  • Sheet1:Vision – write down where you want to be in 10years: personal life, finances, family, etc – oh, and the last thing to write on that sheet are professional life/work!
  • Sheet2: Now – write down what you like/dislike about your current situation/life: use a SWOT analysis
  • Sheet3: Plan – write down how you get from sheet2 to sheet1 – the plan, with some thoughts on why

Now go and chat to three friends – at least one a women, they are more perceptive and direct – and take into account their input. Then modify the three sheets of paper, and chat to them again – your friends will give you the most honest feedback.

I want to give you a thought here: if your true calling in life paid less but made you happy, would you do it? Anyone can be a millionaire these days at whatever they do: the classic slogan I always quote is the one from a Welsh drain cleaning machine, which had written on the side “We are No.1 at No.2’s!” Run by a millionaire, he was the happiest and cleanest bloke you ever met – not surprising really, as he loved his work.

If you do what you enjoy and are best at, the money will always come; if you do what you do because of the money, the money will always be eventually be flowing away, and you will be unhappy.

Good Luck!

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One Response to “Career Change in early 30s”

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