Monday, October 24, 2011

To Be or Not To Be...Motivated During a Career Change

(Wow! Was that a cliche title or what??!?) Make no mistake about it, the career change I went through when I left the theatre was an incredibly hard and humbling process: admitting that I needed to make the change was excruciating, figuring out if and how my skills were transferrable, being intimidated by the wide expanse of the unknown, hiring the career counselor and then ultimately putting myself out there. Today's post How To Know When a Career Shift is in Your Future by Lisa Lambert Snodgrass does a terrific job of succinctly distilling the nuts and bolts of determining if such a change is right for you.

There's a lot in there to digest. Each one of those bullets might take you hours to address so don't think this is a made for TV reality show makeover kind of process because it's not. It's going to take a lot of time, courage and perseverance.  Part of you is going to have to embrace the unknown because you never know if, when or how your next break is going to materialize.

Speaking from experience, the most important point Ms. Snodgrass makes comes in the second to last paragraph: you shouldn't go at it alone. Luckily I didn't have to. The most instrumental person involved in my career change was not me, the career counselor nor the knight in shining armor Associate Director of Human Resources who ended up finding me my next job. It was my wife. She kept me from getting down and picked me up when I was. This is particularly true of her in general but even more so during this process.  She held me accountable and made me focus. She made sure I stayed on task and redirected me when I wasn't. She used to leave little slips of paper around our house with inspirational notes, quotes and sayings. I'd open my underwear drawer be greeted by a quote from Shakespeare, open a cabinet and find words from Martin Luther King Jr., reach under my pillow and find a note reminding me that she believes in me.  These little notes kept me going. All of the other things about this process were under my control from the decision making to the question answering to the hand shaking to the email writing and interviewing, but the will and drive to persevere and stay motivated when times got tough was not. (cue Joe Cocker..."Love Lifts Up Where We Belong"...) Thanks to her though, I always had the support to keep my head up and my focus on the ultimate goal. (..."Where eagles cry, on a mountain high"...)

The best advice I can give to you is to of course seek out the necessary "How To" career change resources and get started. But even more important than that is to make sure you are not even contemplate going through this process alone. Use your friends, use your network, use your family or heck you can even use me (!) to pick you up and keep you there because even though you may not know it you are going to need it.

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