5 Ways to Test Drive a New Career

Have you already determined that you’re ready to move in a different career direction? Maybe you’ve even identified one or even several possible new career options. It warrants mentioning that there is no one perfect career out there for you, but you will find that several career paths best suit your individual skills and desires. So now what? Sure, you could simply chuck your current job and blindly go out there to pursue your dream. This can work for some people, and the personality and career assessments I give to clients helps to identify who those risk-takers are, but for most people this would cause excessive anxiety and uncertainty. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Here are five ways that you can ease into a new career before jumping ship:

 

  1. Six degrees of separation – Okay, so maybe you don’t know someone who knows someone who knows Kevin Bacon…but there is something to this theory. You probably do know someone or someone who knows someone who is doing your dream job or has knowledge about how it. Offer to take them to coffee or lunch. Ask them questions. Your best bet for gaining crucial knowledge of a career is to talk to someone who is already doing it, and doing it well. What do they love about their job? What don’t they love? They will be a wealth of information, and finding out important information ahead of time can save you time and energy in reaching your goal. The power of networking is especially huge if you are changing fields entirely. You have a better chance of finding an “in” to a different field if someone knows you and can vouch for you. You need to get your foot in the door before you can convince someone how your skills translate to that area.
  2. Research – if you’re reading this article then you have an understanding of how to use the internet to find information…and you know that Googling is a verb. 😉 There is so much available online – just use a search engine to explore a specific career field and you can find things from salary information to success stories of people in that field.
  3. Volunteer or Intern – Many times, you can gain enormous insight into a possible career by volunteering a few hours a week. Non-profit organizations, hospitals, and shelters are just a few examples of places that use volunteers. Many other businesses offer internships (some unpaid, some paid) to those who want to break into a field. If a place doesn’t offer either of these, you can always offer yourself as an unpaid intern or volunteer– the worst they can say is no.
  4. Take classes – your new career field might require additional learning or certification. Some of these courses might be online which makes it easier for those working a full-time job. I’ve had clients do everything online from learning computer coding to obtaining their real estate license. Another bonus of doing this while remaining at your current job is that depending on the type of classes, some or all of the tuition may be reimbursed by your employer. You can check with your HR department ahead of time.
  5. Moonlight – unless your current career forbids this, you can start doing your new career on the side to see how you like it. Especially if your new venture involves self-employment, starting it out on the side allows you to keep the financial stability of your current job while going through the growing pains of a starting a new business.

Changing careers always involves an element of the unknown but the rewards can be enormous. Being uncomfortable is actually a good sign, because the greatest growth in life always occurs beyond your comfort zone. Good luck and remember:

“You miss 100% of the shots not taken.” —Wayne Gretzky, hockey great

Do you feel ready for a career change but want more help? Contact Dr. Helvig today for a free consultation to see if career coaching would benefit you at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com.

Feeling Stuck in Your Job? Get a Career Coaching Consultation

Feeling stuck in your job? Read my client’s story below and see if you can relate, then contact me for your FREE career coaching consultation today!

Abby* is a professional in the corporate world who came to see me because despite the great money and benefits she received from her job, she was not happy. She realized she had been unhappy for years, but had convinced herself that the money and security was worth the trade-off. She had also gone through a divorce, and did not want to have to count on someone else for her livelihood. Like many of my clients, she came to me because she reached “a breaking point.”

For her, that breaking point seemed an unlikely one—she had been given a promotion with more responsibilities, a fancier job title, and more money. One of those responsibilities involved her supervising others, and she quickly discovered it was not a task she enjoyed, stating, “I don’t want to babysit other adults.” She struggled with the fact that she knew others would consider her lucky and envy her “success,” but in truth, she felt miserable and knew in her gut that something needed to change.

Due to the divorce, and wanting to be self-reliant, Abby had been diligent about saving her money and after assessing her financial needs, she concluded she did not need to make the same amount of money she had been making in her corporate job in order to thrive. After completing several assessments and assignments, as well as introducing mindfulness concepts such as meditation, Abby discovered her true career passion where she felt she could really make a difference in an area that reflected her personal values. We laid out a step-by-step plan for Abby to transition to her new desired line of work. Abby expressed regret that she had waited so long before making the change, but I told her that I’ve worked with clients who were in their mid-60’s and that it’s never too late to change your life for the better.

Abby ended up in a meaningful and rewarding job that lined up with her values and brought in a higher salary than she had anticipated. She commented at the end of our work that “everyone should hire a coach,” but in truth, it’s not for everyone. Many people go through their life, living it according to the expectations of others, whether it be parents, spouses, or friends. They go through the motions, achieving the commonly accepted versions of success in our society, even if there is an emptiness inside that they can’t identify. All personal growth happens outside of one’s comfort zone, and it takes a brave person to make themselves uncomfortable on purpose. While some of my clients were made uncomfortable by outside circumstances, such as getting laid off due to down-sizing, most of my clients have decided on their own to make big changes. If you aren’t waking up every day excited for your job, or if you feel you aren’t thriving and that something is missing, then coaching might be for you.

Contact Dr. Kristi today to set up a FREE 30-minute career consultation if you’re ready to change your life: Kristi@ProsperityCoachingandConsulting.com

*Name and identifying information changed to protect confidentiality

Happy 2017: Goal Setting and Career Coaching for the New Year

 

Happy 2017! This is Dr. Kristi here, and I know you’ve seen Dr. Todd’s post about goal setting earlier this week, so this is my spin on approaching the new year. I will admit that even as a very upbeat person, the end of 2016 was rough for me on several levels. I attended several funerals for people who died well before their time (ages 39 and 18 respectively), as well as saw the deaths of many of my beloved childhood icons from Prince to Princess Leia. This combined with the political ugliness of election season made me really happy to see the end of 2016.

Yet, with every ending comes new beginnings, and I believe that going through emotional pain often causes self-reflection and allows you to view the essence of what is most important to you. For me, that has always been family and career, in that order, and where I will continue to put my energy in the coming year. I’m not a believer in resolutions as they don’t tend to stick for a lot of the same reasons extreme diets don’t work. However, I am a believer in creating goals and then taking small steps each day toward reaching them. At the beginning of each year, I create a goal list and then do some reverse engineering to figure out what steps I need to take, and in what order.

One of the great things about hiring a life or career coach is the accountability factor, as there will be days you don’t feel like taking steps. I have awesome (and very honest) clients who sometimes tell me they only took their next step because they knew they had a Skype session with me that week. That’s great, and I’m a firm believer in the notion that ‘slow and steady’ accomplishes a great deal over time. Ask any financial planner about saving for retirement and they’ll tell you the same thing. If I wasn’t married to another psychologist/coach who holds me accountable (but only when I ask him to or we’d have problems), *grins* you can bet I’d hire one too. In terms of my goals for the year, I have a fiction anthology coming out in the Spring, and another completed novel in production now, also for a Spring 2017 release and need to work on a marketing plan for both books. By the end of 2017, I want to have another novel written and ready for production, as well as complete my non-fiction book on career coaching. This means I have to write about 500 words per day, which is very doable.

In terms of personal goals, I want to continue a consistent yoga routine as well as increase mindfulness through more meditation as I feel healthier when I do it, and have found more creative ideas flow easily as a result. I use a tracking sheet to mark my progress in all areas each week, and am in love with the Conquer Your Year planner, and will give more updates as I use this throughout the year. Note: I am not receiving any compensation to endorse this planner; I just started using it myself and love, love, love it.

I hope that you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017, and that you reach all of your desired goals in life, love, and career. As always, please let me know if you have any questions about coaching, and I’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Live long and prosper,

Kristi

5 Steps to Help You Find Your Passion and Identify Your Dream Job

As a Ph.D. licensed clinical psychologist and certified professional coach, one of the favorite services I provide in my practice is career coaching. Some clients come to me because their job is no longer a fit for them, and common phrases I hear are “I can’t stand one more day of corporate” or some variation of “this job is sucking the life out of me.” Reasons for staying in the job are often due to stability, financial gain, and many times, fear of the unknown. There’s something to the saying, “The devil you know is better than the one you don’t,” so people sometimes stay in unsatisfying jobs, relationships, etc. due to the belief that “it could always be worse.” That is surviving, rather than thriving, and my goal is for people to thrive in every aspect of their life.

 

Medium Career Compass

Some clients who see me already know exactly what they want, which ranges from starting their own business to getting into real estate. I’d estimate those clients are about 40% of my clientele. More often than not, I hear some variation of “Help, I’m [insert age] and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”  They know they want to do something different, but aren’t sure what exactly that is. Some fell into jobs based on opportunity, parental or familial expectations, or preconceived notions rather than identifying what they wanted to do with their life. They operated more from a “should” versus “want” mindset.

In terms of our generation, we’re very fortunate that we have more freedom to explore what we want versus the survival mode of generations past. As I’ve worked with people from ages 20 through 70, I can say with certainty that it’s never too late to find your dream job. However, most people carry fears and blocks of what they think is possible for them, and part of coaching is to explore and challenge these limiting beliefs. One of my favorite quotes is courtesy of Henry Ford:

 “Whether you think that you can or think that you cannot,

you are right.”

So many of our challenges in life are mental, rather than physical, and it’s so rewarding to see people move out of their comfort zones by changing how they think, and then experience personal growth. Coaching in these cases starts with clarifying the individuals’ strengths and passions. I often use a combination of personality and career inventory assessments with clients, as they help to identify potential ideal jobs based on a combination of personality traits (e.g. introvert versus extrovert), and job skills and interests. However, even if you’re not working with a career coach, there are still steps you can take to help you clarify your next career move.  I recommend starting with what you’re passionate about, but what if you’re not sure where your passion lies?

Finding your Passion

Here are a few ways to unlock your potential dream job or career. Take a pen or pencil and answer the following questions honestly. This is important, rather than doing it by computer or tablet, as handwriting has been shown to activate different parts of the brain than typing. There are no right or wrong answers, so write as much as you like, and in any form you like (bullet points, sentences, phrases, etc.)

1. What are your hobbies? When do you feel so involved in something that you lose track of time? The definition of a hobby is: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. It’s something done due to the love of doing it, rather than a secondary gain. Some potential responses might be: when I’m gardening, skiing, rock climbing, reading, woodworking, playing with my children, or fixing a car. You get the idea but feel free to brainstorm here – you will probably come up with more than one answer, which is great.

I’ll share my own personal story here too: I write sci-fi and fantasy novels for fun. When I started several years ago, it was purely for the love of doing it and I had no idea anything would come of it. Fast forward several years, and I have several published sci-fi novels through a New York publisher and am a regular speaker at Comic Con. My novel writing is different now, because it’s part of my business, which I love, but turning a hobby into a business isn’t for everyone.

2. What skills do you have that you feel set you apart from others? This could be having an amazing aptitude with numbers or being someone who easily makes new friends. If this question is hard for you, think about the last time you got a compliment. Has someone told you that you’re an outside the box thinker, creative, a great cook or that they admire your homemade curtains? Did someone ask you where you got that awesome table or bookcase only to find out that you made it? NOTE: Don’t discount a skill based on not liking an aspect of it. For instance, if you are great with numbers, but didn’t enjoy being an accountant, it doesn’t mean there isn’t another great fit for you involving numbers.

3. Write down your ideal work day. Don’t focus on what the actual job involves (seriously). First, just close your eyes and visualize what your perfect day would look like, and most importantly, feel like. What type of co-workers do you have (motivated, excited, creative, etc.)? What is the relationship of your boss like (or are you the boss?) If you prefer autonomy and don’t like to be micro-managed, then visualize a supportive and accessible boss who encourages your independence. What does the environment look like (bright open space, cubicles, office with door, outside, frequent traveling to different cities, etc.)

When you feel really happy like it almost feels real to you (and you’re smiling), then you’ve succeeded and have tricked your brain, so now you can open your eyes. Jot down everything you loved about this visualization. I’ll do another post soon about the power of visualization exercises and research about how they impact the brain. One powerful exercise I do as a follow-up with my clients is to examine how close or how far this ideal day is from their current work experience.

4. When you surf the internet, read books, or browse magazines, what are you drawn toward? Do you love going to travel sites, or do you prefer reading current news or the latest thriller, romance, or military novel? Clarifying your interests helps you to identify your passions.

 5. What would you be doing right now if money were no object? What would you be doing if money did not matter at all to you? Even if your first inclination is to say “nothing,” think past that honeymoon period of sitting on the couch playing PS4 or binge-watching Game of Thrones. People thrive when they feel they are living up to their full potential. Would you start your own charitable foundation? Your own business? Would you travel the world and experience new cultures? Move closer to family or loved ones?

Conclusions:                                                                                              

Now, go back through all of your responses and read them again. Highlight or circle any common themes, words, or ideas. These repetitions give clues as to potential career ideas. Keep in mind that there is usually not one perfect job out there for you (just like there’s not one perfect partner), so you’re just opening yourself up to possibilities at this point. Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought in your journey toward a new career.

Next time, I will go over some of the incredible power of visualization exercises in your career (whether you want to change careers or simply move to the next level in your current career).

Until then…:)  Kristi