Career Strategies 101: Researching a New Career When You No Longer Feel the Love

February 13, 2017

This February, JEVS Career Strategies takes a look at being in love...or not...with your job. When you think the romance is gone, what should you do? What kind of research is needed before making a decision about your next career? Finally, just how transferrable are your skills - and what can you do to strengthen your case for a career change? Maxine Katz, former JEVS Career Advisor, returns to help, should you be rethinking your relationship...with your job.

Emily Dickinson famously wrote “The heart wants what it wants.”

I sometimes hear from clients that they are unhappy with their present job and are unable to articulate why. Other times, they note that their relationship with work seems “irretrievably broken,” and they have a direct answer for what they would like to do next.

“I am tired of being a lawyer. I know I want out, and I want to be a ringmaster in the circus,” they might say.

If I hear that, I would ask the client what makes him or her believe that they want to be a ringmaster? In asking that, I want to see what research has been performed. I ask clients, are you sure the “grass is greener” and that the new role would make you happy – before we start a plan to try and help get you there?

First, ask yourself what you know about the role.

Do you know anyone else who has performed the job, or do you have friends who have that occupation? What can they tell you about the job; about a “typical day?“ What are their commitments? Is the job lifestyle and work/life balance one that you can accept and would like?

Consider what the job culture might be like. Would you enjoy and gain satisfaction from the new environment? Do you have personal priorities – a needed salary or perhaps childcare – which would need to be taken into account when deciding next steps?

Know – or get to know – someone within the industry. If you don’t know someone, perhaps you can learn more about the job through a connection on LinkedIn, or other social media. Perhaps someone you know, knows someone who is involved with the circus, or even the performing arts? Maybe there is an alumnus listing or directory from any school you previously attended that could help open a door.

You may also check with online sites such as Salary.com or Glassdoor.com, to gain access to reviews about organizations you might want to join and a better sense of their pay scale/benefits.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, you could even look up a circus and call or email. “I really think I would like to do this, and want to know more about what it takes,” is direct and honest, and could lead down many interesting roads. We know that most people at heart want to help  – and if we’re thinking about a big move such as a career change, we can’t be afraid to ask an initial question or two!

No one can predict the future, especially at a new company or organization. But knowing as much as we can about the industry that we’re seeking to enter – especially if it’s different than the one we’re leaving – can only help when it’s time to apply.

Now that you know what's expected...can your skills make the leap?

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