Mid-Career Change I Can Believe In

With Christmas now receding into the distance, the rush is on in Japan to (literally) clean things up before 2008 ends and 2009 (the year of the Ox) begins.

I too have been busy, starting with a review of my own vision-roles-goals and then drilling down into what worked and what didn’t in 2008.

From that I created an outline of my career path for 2009 and beyond, along with some specific S.M.A.R.T. goals and plans as well as a few D.U.M.B. ones.

Here’s a high level view of what I’ve come up with:

Career change i can believe in

  1. Mid-Career Coaching: If you’re a mid-career IT Professional (as I was) and ready to change (or being forced to), then is open for business. (Oct 2011 Update: I no longer offer private coaching and techcareerzigzag has been discontinued.)

  2. Personal Growth: I’ve wrestled with how to position this blog for a while now. What I’ve decided to do is let it be a living document for my own mid-career change journey, the rough and the smooth.

I hope others will gain strength and support from what is written here. (And I read other blogs for similar reasons!)

  1. Freelance Writing:
    Well, I’ve always liked writing even when I was pressganged into it at school haha! And a good part of my careers as a teacher and as an internetworking instructor have required it.

However, the most exciting aspect of writing since taking a career break from the corporate world in 2007,has been the personal thrill of wordsmithing materials which both educate and earn.

Yes, I’m talking freelance copywriting for others, as well as myself. I’ve found a good writing coach down under, Angela Booth, who really fuses a love of writing with a strong and time-tested way to make money from it (for herself and her writing clients).

Anyway, I’m going full-steam ahead on this project and will be with you real soon. I’ll most likely start off specializing in online writing services for Technology, Personal Growth, Careers/Jobs and Spiritual markets. At least those are what I’m interested in. Let’s see what the coach says 😉

  1. Social Networks: Bah! Humbug! That was probably my somewhat naive reaction to these a few years back, especially as the Tokyo foreign company IT job market was a well-remunerated cocoon all to itself. Things have changed, including my response to these networks now that I’m charting my own career course.

(2018 Jan Update: I am off LinkedIn; too busy with the SF writer persona.) remains my professional port of call for career coaching and IT consultancy. I may occasionally dip my new freelance writing pen in there from a marketing perspective too. (Yes, I did blog earlier about updating my LinkedIn virtual real estate, aka my profile, and this is on my Do-To project list.) is the microblogging mindset I’m a-struggling to get my noggin around lol! It clearly has enormous potential for those who get the connected nature of web communities, be they friends, buyers, saints or sinners!

One thing I’m stuck with for now is my nickname, justfiverules. Not sure if I should junk it and create samuraiwriter99 or markmcclure2day. Personal branding was an afterthought when I created my tweeting identity.

  1. IT Consulting: IT has been my professional bread and butter for many years and, if I’m honest, my ticket to whatever limited prosperity I’ve encountered.

In this tough 2009 to come, there are clearly very limited foreign IT opportunities in Tokyo, even with a CCIE cert. (I know because I have been interviewing.) There are some freelance Cisco jobs in the UK which I can clearly go hunting for as I’ve a UK passport, but the tax and personal ramifications of being away from my family are not immediately attractive. And I doubt I could stick the cold, wet weather for long; too long in Tokyo climate has made a big softie lol.

  1. Teaching: Interestingly, after nearly twenty years away from school teaching, I had some opportunities to (substitute) teach middle school science and maths this year. I enjoyed it too and many memories came flooding back of my early 20s as a new teacher.

Next Steps:
Well, Mid-Career Change I Can Believe In may be borrowed from the new US President’s copywriters (thanks guys, I’m available for proofreading that inauguration address!) but it’s surely very prescient in my case.

The cool thing about these choices / opportunities is that I can turn most of them up/down to an intensity I’m comfortable with e.g. limit the number of coaching or writing clients and perform most services from anywhere with nothing more than a Net-connected laptop and phone.

Also, some projects also include information products which are written once and sold multiple times. Passive income it is not (yet), as marketing work is required on an ongoing basis; but with proper systems there is enormous potential here.

Right, that’s enough about me. Hopefully, you’ve a better idea of where this blog’s going, and how it fits into the mid-career path(s) I’m now walking.

PS: I highly recommend a great book for mid-life career changers (especially if you’re still just thinking about it) called Do What You Want For The Rest of Your Life - A Practical Guide To Career Change and Personal Renewal - by Bob Griffiths_.

I was impressed by his struggles with personal demons and a final decision to leave a high paying but demoralizing Wall Street job in 1988 for what we’d today call a slash career as a Playwright, Author, Speaker and Hospice Volunteer.

In particular he speaks very clearly about the necessity to extricate yourself from the consumption trap. A very timely message in today’s economic clean-up operation now underway aka deleveraging.