Successful Career Change Using Goals, Coaching and Mentoring. Q and A.

There was one question submitted on the topic of successful career change using goals, coaching and mentoring:

Fred Friedman wrote:

Q. Isn’t career change just running away from problems youll meet again anyway?

A. Let me start by reminding you that there are no such things as problems, only opportunities.
Sorry for that helpless Dilbert-esque outburst but this was a somewhat annoying ditty much loved by various managers I knew in the corporate world. (I have indeed been assimilated lol!)

For what it’s worth in my experience, I believe that problems / opportunities will be around for at least as long as we draw breath on this earth. That is the nature of reality, existence, survival, evolution, corporate politics(!), call it what you will.

But to answer your question directly, yes, I am sure that some people jump ship to escape what they experience as a big problem e.g. a &toxic workplace.

That can of course work out OK, in that they are no longer faced with such a terrible environment.

Others unfortunately find that they have jumped from the frying pan into the proverbial fire.

What I would recommend you consider before starting on a major career change are the following:

  1. Create a GOAL for what you do want in your career (right now, next week, next month, next year). You may find that it’s hard to define in much detail what you want beyond next week or next month. Don’t worry about that. Just take simple actions and begin* the process of choosing what you want to experience, whether that occurs tomorrow or months later is a detail.

  2. Describe the present reality of your career choice; warts and all. This can be done as a private journal, mind map, bullet point list, a voice recording. Keep this private and confidential (I would NOT bring it to your workplace.) The reasons for doing this are so you can objectively begin looking at the plus and minus points of your present working world but from the context of having first set a goal (however imperfect and unrealistic that goal may at first appear. The goal can be revised later if necessary.)

  3. Begin making a list of the various career change otions open to you e.g. retraining, flexitime, changing departments, distance learning, getting a mentor. Go online and seek out blogs and career sites where people are asking and answering similar questions.

(You may also have constraints which are pulling you away from these options e.g. elderly parent responsibilities, health, children and education, spouse/partner career path. These can’t be ignored but neither should they stop you first listing the career options possibly open to you. Accepting, modifying or discarding some or all of these options are choices you will make later in the process.)

  1. Identify one thing you can start doing right away that might contribute to moving any of the above forward. You can kick start this process by asking and answering coaching questions of yourself like these below on at least a weekly basis:
  • What am I doing about getting a mentor?
  • When will I start finding a mentor?
  • How will I find others who have already done what I want to do?
  • Where can I find more information about mentors in my career field?
  • Who can I ask about finding a mentor?

(I have used the example of getting a mentor in the above questions. I am somewhat biased in this respect because I believe great mentoring can work wonders over time!)

The key point is to begin taking some action towards what you think your ideal career path might be. And while things may not change in an instant for most folks, you may find that your ability to take a more responsive (rather than reactive) perspective begins to improve noticeably.

Thank you for the question, Fred!
I will have another Q and A in due course.