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At a Career Crossroads? The 5 Minute Career Coach April 2011
April 01, 2011

Helping Career Changers Around The World

April 2011


Welcome to the April 2011 edition of The 5 Minute Career Coach.

What's in this Issue

Career crossroads - that is my theme for this month.

Have you reached a point when you know something has got to change in your working life? Maybe it is just growing dissatisfaction with your job or perhaps you know that you will be out of a job by the end of next month. The writing is on the wall and you have to make a decision about where to go next with your work.

But which way will you turn? A crossroads offers a range of possibilities including some you may not initially consider. Skip on down to my article of the month to find out what your options could be.

With best wishes

Quote of the Day

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it"
~Mary Engelbreit~

You are never totally stuck. Even when an unwanted change is imposed upon you, you still have a choice about how you respond to it.

Facing the Career Crossroads

Are you at a career crossroads? Possibly so – that may well be what has attracted you to the How To Change Careers website and to the 5 Minute Career Coach newsletter.

So what options are open to you when you approach a career crossroads?

Straight on
Well the simplest is just to go straight on. Just do more of the same. Rather than take any big risks, you just stick with what you know and hope that applying for a new job in the same area will be the answer. It’s bound to be better than the last job, isn't it...?

But let's be honest, that is not really facing up to the fact that you are unhappy in what you are doing. Something more needs to change than just another version of what you have been doing up to now.

Left turn
So what if you take a left turn? In career terms that might mean changing the industry you are in while sticking with the occupation where you have developed a good level of expertise.

So if you are an accountant, you could switch from a big City firm, so a smaller one with very different clients. If you are a teacher, you could abandon the classroom and look for a job where you are leading educational walks round a local nature reserve or visitor attraction.

Right turn
What about the right turn? Well in this case you may decide that you know your sector inside out and have a good network of contacts which you can draw on, but what you really want to do is use your skills in a different way.

So an administrator in a college or university might stay in the education sector but look for a new role with more direct contact with students such as organsing a summer school. Or if you have worked in the conservation field, you could become an environmental consultant advising landowners how to make the most of grants that are available and helping them to adopt environmentally friendly farming practices.

What else?
So is that it? Left, right or straight on? Not at all. If you look over there you will see a helipad with a helicopter waiting to take you off somewhere totally different.

Yes, that is an option. It takes vision and courage, but it is possible to start with something completely new. It may take a while to adjust to the new environment you transplant yourself into, but just think, you may discover a new you, you could find that you are able to flourish and blossom in this new arena. All it takes is a radical leap of faith.

A bit of everything
But we are not done yet. There is another option where you get to do a bit of everything. It's called portfolio working and in this current climate of uncertainty, it no longer seems a wise move not to put all your eggs in one basket.

The word 'career' doesn't have to mean doing just one job, it can mean having many sources of income. And that is probably a more secure option these days. So it is actually possible to turn left and right and go straight on all at the same time!

And finally
Maybe you are stumbling along towards the crossroads with your head down, dark glasses on and in the company of a complete grouch who spends all their time moaning about how awful things are. This gives you one final option – take off your sunglasses, tell your companion you are going to walk on ahead on your own for a while and raise your eyes to the horizon.

Change how you view your situation, commit to looking for the positives and the possibilities, be curious about what may lie ahead rather than assuming it will be bad. It is amazing what a difference a change in attitude can make.

So as you approach the career crossroads ahead of you, think about which of these options will work for you. You have lots of choice!

Your 5 Minute Coaching Session

Challenging questions are one of the key tools coaches use in helping clients to create change.

Each month I offer you a mini coaching session by asking you a challenging question to think about. The questions I ask are designed to get you thinking in new ways and hopefully gain insights that may open your mind to new possibilities for you career and for your life.

If you could take an aerial perspective of where you are in your career right now, what would you see that in not apparent from ground level?

Taking a different perspective can make all the difference. Sometimes you may be just too close to see clearly so take a short flight in a helicopter and see what you can see.

Recommended Resources

And What Do You Do? 10 Steps To Creating A Portfolio Career
Barrie Hopson & Katie Ledger

One of your crossroads options is to consider creating a portfolio career. All very well, you may think, but how on earth do I do that?

Help is at hand with this great book by Barrie Hopson and Katie Ledger.

The book contains 10 steps which take you through a process that helps you decide if a portfolio career is really for you, looks at the skills you can use, the values that will motivate you, the networks of contacts you have (or can create) to help you and explores the crucial money issue.

It puts you at the centre and builds on who you are and what you have to offer instead of you continuing to mould yourself into the shape that will fit one particular job or organisation.

Katie has travelled this route before you, having moved from the traditional way of working with one employer to her current blend of communications consultant, conference host and producer, presentation and media coach, author, blogger, presenter and mother of 2 young children.

Does a portfolio career sound like your kind of thing? Then read this book to find out how to make it happen!

More recommendations
If you would like to see more recommendations for books and similar resources, follow the link to the Career Change Books page of the How To Change Careers website. Do keep popping back to it as I am adding to it all the time.

And if there are books, websites and other resources that have inspired you and that you would like to recommend, there is a place for you to do so on that page.

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