6 Things to Consider When Thinking of a Big Career Change
Changing careers later in life can be tough, especially if your current company and job are great. I meet people all the time who are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who have great lives and careers but aren’t completely satisfied with their job. Leaving a job with great salaries, benefits, colleagues and 401k plans make this decision even rougher.
Career Change Challenges
It seems like just yesterday that I left eBay after 10 years of service. When you work for a large company like eBay it is almost impossible to leave. You get tied into 401Ks, bonus plans and long-term working relationships that sometimes (if you are lucky) turn into life-long friendships. In my years, many long time fellow co-workers left and I kept seeing them have trouble. They would work at eBay for 10 years and then leave and have 2 jobs in the first year as they tried to find their way.
This scared the heck out of me. They all eventually found what they were looking for, but I was super conservative thinking and probably over thought the process. I worked at eBay for 10 years and before that at Drive Performance for 7 years. I don’t like to bounce around, so I thought about what I would do for a good year before picking my new career and company.
So here are 6 things to consider when thinking of a big career change
#1 – Take your time. I have seen many people take a small moment too personal, go negative and leave a job a company after 10 years. If you are at a large company for 10 years you have bonuses, extended yearly vacation time, benefits, 401Ks, flexibility and a number of other perks that you have built up. It is ok to take a chance and leave all this to do something more interesting or lucrative, but take your time. I watched a couple of coworkers get mad at a small pay plan change or job review then quit and jump on a high promising sales job. After 4 months they left that job and ended up in a small role back doing something similar to what they were originally doing. This leads us to #2
#2 – Do a lot of research. If you have worked at your present company for a long-time you know the lay of the land. You understand the managers, the goals, the company culture and all of the politics. When you look at new companies you really do not know any of this. It can be a great company but until you are actually working there you won’t understand any of this. One of my reps left to work for a small tech company that had a great commission program. They seemed like nice people. Once they started working there they found out that the company burned through their staff every year and that working conditions were horrible. They were let go 6 months in and the next job paid half of what they needed.
#3 – Talk to your family and peers. Talk to people you trust. Talking it out will help you understand if you are making a snap decision because of a small issue or if you are ready to move on. I didn’t have a lot of friends who understood what I did so I spent more time talking to a couple of coworkers I trusted as well as a couple of peers in the industry. Peers are good as they also may know of opportunities that match. Other times peers can help you see that hat you have is golden and talk you straight.
Note – You have to be careful though how much you talk to coworkers and peers. You can’t be seen as a person with a foot out the door. Most people with one foot out the door might as well just leave so you need to be sure you know who you are talking to.
Career Change Challenges – So, what do you do?
⁃ Look at the company reviews and research online. These are not perfect, but they do help paint a picture. I was interviewing at AutoTrader a long time ago and one of the reasons I took the interview were the reviews. I had no idea that people loved working there that much so the reviews helped.
#4 Talk to friends or connections on LinkedIn. This is the whole reason LinkedIn is here. When I interviewed at Amazon (a long, long time ago) I reached out to two connections where I had many shared contacts, and each spent 15 minutes on the phone with me talking about working at Amazon. It was invaluable and we all still keep in touch and help each other today.
#5 Write down your goals. When you feel the need to switch jobs you start to waver on your true goals. Sometimes it because of money or less travel or just an immediate need. My goals were to stay even on salary, find a route to eventually travel less, spend more time working with executive management, further develop my skillset and manage a team. When I was not paying attention to my goals I was interviewing for a regional “individual contributor” sales positions or chasing a national sales job for that big commission. When I was on task, I hunted not just for the job but for the people I wanted to work for. I eventually decide that to get what I wanted I need to work for myself and that’s when we started Swizzle. More on that in the next post ?
#6 When you find the right company go all in. We are inherently lazy when it comes to applying for a job. We use the Indeed, LinkedIn and other pages “Instant Apply” and then wonder why we don’t get called. If you have done what we discussed above and taken your time, reviewed your goals and then find the perfect job, you need to give it your all.
Here’s how I look at it. How much time did you spend planning your last family trip to Hawaii? How much time do you spend puttering on Facebook when you are bored? Now, how much time did you spend working on the cover letter for your dream job? A recruiter has to read through a bunch of static resumes with similar catch phrases and keywords and try and make the choice.
People who go to the top are referrals and those with great resumes or good cover letters. This is assuming you are applying for a couple of “perfect jobs”. If you are just mass applying to every job than maybe you need to reread your goals.
AND Prepare for the Interview. Nothing looks worse than when you work hard for an interview, impress a recruiter and then walk into an interview completely unprepared. It is hard to recover from an over-promise and under-deliver. Yes, I am guilty of this as well and I was very disappointed in myself.
PS – It takes a while to adjust to a small company after being at a large tech company. I still haven’t gotten used to getting less than 200 emails a day. 🙂
Good luck. My door is always open if anyone ever wants advice or to kick around ideas
Clayton Stanfield firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.swizzlestory.com (775) 470-5297 To read more articles click here https://swizzlestory.com/blog/
Career Change Challenges