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Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Careers
Thursday, October 18, 2012

"If it ain't broke don't fix it." "Why mess up a good thing?" These kinds of sayings are meant to stop people from taking risky actions. And yet, success is usually the triumphant result of trial and error.

Some of the biggest innovations of our time were created by those that listened to their instincts and took a chance on themselves. You don't have to hate your job to want to change careers, you simply have to know that you want to.

Considering making a career change is a decision that will change your life in many ways. People can spend their entire lives going back and forth and never end up taking any action. Instead of wasting time idling on the fence, you can ask yourself a few questios to help you figure out what your plan of action is:

1) Is the problem you're having at work keeping you down and you can't seem to resolve it?

There are plenty of people who go to work day in and day out struggling with the same issue and continue to bite the bullet. Over time, that bullet is going to wear them down. This can be a problem that springs up in more than one workplace or situation. For example, it could be that you're a male or female working in a field or position that is predominantly that of the other gender. Things like that make you feel like you're being overshadowed for reasons beyond your control are a good way for you to start thinking about ways to take control.
2) Does your problem have to do with someone that you work with or your environment?
It's not uncommon for many employees to work for harsh or overbearing bosses. In an economy where jobs are hard to come by, people are grateful for any job with any boss. However, being miserable at work is pointless. Why spend the majority of your life working to survive when you can't even enjoy it? There are some industries where you're bound to work under demanding people, like high fashion, for instance. These intense environments can be unforgiving. And while it may have fueled you in the beginning, there comes a time when shifting gears is in order.
3) You may have considered the job you really want, but do you have what it takes to pursue it?
Life would be much easier if we could just change careers by simply quitting your current job and applying for the one you want. In reality, it requires a great deal of energy, research, money, and time. Think about what it is you prefer to be doing and try reaching out to someone who currently holds that position. If they are willing to partake in somewhat of an informational interview with you, then by all means take advantage of getting to pick their brain. They'll be able to provide some insight as to what it took for them to land that career.
Change is the only constant in life so you should embrace rather than fear it. The reason that changing careers can be so intimidating is that once you take the leap it can be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse your decision. The push forward to your new career can be tough but for some the destination is well worth the money, time, and effort spent. No job is worth a lifetime of feeling unsatisfied. In the end, the biggest question you should be asking yourself is: Am I satisfied? 

Does Following Your Passion Work in Today's Job Market?
Monday, October 08, 2012

By Mark Winslow Contributor
Most career advice is loaded with motivational language to keep your spirits high throughout an often discouraging process. But this has to make you wonder, am I just being told what I want to hear or is this really going to help me in the real world?

First off, ask yourself: what exactly is your passion? Without a clear, solid answer, this can lead you down a tricky career path. By trying to find your passion by pursuing careers based on your various interests, you could easily find yourself down a job hopping trail to no end.

Instead, a more effective approach would be to narrow down your best or most valuable skills and work on honing them. Turn your strengths into your passion rather than the other way around. Becoming an expert in a niche market has always been one of the top ways to finding success. Experts are always valuable no matter the field and are therefore more desirable candidates.

Job seekers that are starting anew--but not from scratch--need to look their value from the outside in. Evalute your skills and think about what your selling points are. Challenging yourself adds to your value when you branch out of your comfort zone. People who stick to what they're comfortable with limit their reach for finding success in an area where they would otherwise gain a knack for.

A Hobby Is Not A Career

Let's make it clear. What you do on during your off-hours should remain what you do during off-hours. A hobby is something that most people enjoy doing because they rarely get to, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Of course, if it's a craft that you've noticed you have a real talent for, like photography or designing, then there may be some potential for making a living from it.

But when your goal is to find something that will suit your interests in the long run, you should focus your efforts toward a place that will benefit from your most valuable skills. When all is said and done, your best skills might just align with what you enjoy doing on a daily basis.

It can be hard to determine what your one true career love is, but the trick to finding it is going after something that you like, that gives you meaning, and you are excellent at doing. And yes, this may sound like another piece of motivational job search advice, but the following statement does hold true. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pursuing a career driven by the idea of passion. Ultimately, when you play to strengths your careeer can turn into your passion.