For those who’ve been following, you’re aware that many of my posts focus on strategic and tactical ways to navigate through hiring, employee management, job searching, career management and so forth. What about those that simply want to make a change? Well, here are some words of encouragement for you!
I’m not going to go all “What Color Is Your Parachute” on you. I would, however, like to offer some support based on my personal experiences as well as those I’ve witnessed throughout my life regarding career changes.
I was a simple kid from a middle-class Chicago neighborhood. I somehow managed to scratch out an electrical engineering undergraduate degree. The day I threw my hat and tassel in the air, I shut the book on Ohm’s law in favor of technology consulting for a firm that was nice enough to give me a job. Somewhere along my seventeen-year technology-consulting career, I also managed to open a real estate investment company (which I continue to operate). In 2004, I created milewalk Inc., the executive search firm I currently manage. Since that time, I’ve become a multi-book author, blogger, speaker, TV and radio resource, and done many other media interviews. The only reason I’ve done the latter was because I felt I had something to say that might benefit more people than I could personally speak with.
Hopefully my last paragraph didn’t turn your stomach. The only reason I shared my background is to illustrate that all people have a fork in the road every single day of their lives; every—single—day—they have a choice. Throughout mine, I consciously chose to ignore a few, was completely unaware of some, and took the road never traveled on others. If you keep an open mind, you will see yours.
Life is too short to continue doing something you don’t love. Most people I encounter, whatever age they might be, forget that they chose their career at a very young age. Regardless of when you made that choice, you can always change your mind. If you’re a young adult, perhaps eighteen or twenty-two years old, entering the workforce for the first time, realize that you can always change careers if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Life is full of wonderful ways to earn a living.
Most people never act on new adventures. It’s my opinion that they would rather live with unhappiness than uncertainty. Instead of taking a chance, they hold themselves hostage, with decisions they made during their twenties serving as the shackles. Consequently, they keep plowing forward until they collect their Social Security checks. There are certainly a select few who are fortunate enough to love what they do for their entire careers. Most are not. I’m not sure about you, but I certainly don’t want a twenty-two-year-old to pick my career for me—not even a twenty-two-year-old version of me.
Realize the absolute worst scenario in the event you “fail” is to revert back to whatever it was you were doing before you made the attempt. I’m not quite sure who invented the expression, “There’s no turning back.” Whoever it was, he or she was sorely mistaken when it comes to the workforce. I absolutely guarantee that if you take that new road in the fork and decide it’s not for you, the bridge back to wherever you came from will still be there. It might not be with your previous employer, but you will certainly find other suitors in your old field that would welcome you back.
There are entirely too many success stories that support my view. Some individuals who I worked with during my technology-consulting career have gone on to prosperous careers as a yoga instructor, chef, restaurateur, woman’s retail shop owner, flower shop owner, and photographer. There are countless others that were entrepreneurial enough to open their own businesses in the technology consulting industry. If any of them would have “failed,” they could have easily gone back to work in their previous field. If you really aren’t enjoying your current line of work or simply aspire to do something else, give it a try!
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