Changing Careers in Midstream

Also known as Coho
Gary Vestal / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

The Coho, also known as the silver salmon, can change direction so quickly that fisherman often think that the fish is off the hook and continuing on its migration to spawn in the river where it was born. Some Chinook salmon even change sex along the way!

People don't usually have the same capacity to change careers, or life, in midstream. It sometimes take more of an effort or even a push to get us moving in a new direction.

Moving Your Career in a New Direction

Jean wasn't altogether unhappy when she was laid off from her job as a Customer Service Manager for a large software company. It gave her a chance to pursue a mid-life acting career. Something she had always wanted to do, but, never had the time for. She works for a temporary agency to bring in some extra cash.

When Tony's boss lost the election for Business Manager at his local union, Tony lost his job too. Even though unemployment was a big cut in pay, it gave him a chance to consider career change options and time to discover a new career direction.

Joe left a top consulting firm to run a marina in Key West - a life long dream of his. Interestingly enough, the consulting firm hired him back part-time as a contractor so he had some income coming in to get his business started.

Samantha left her job with an insurance company to become the volunteer coordinator for a local animal shelter.

She had volunteered for the shelter for years and was offered the position, which was her life-long dream job, when it opened up.

Lena retired early from her job as Vice President for a large credit union. She supplements her pension by working in a fabric store. Sewing has always been her passion and she now has a job doing something she loves, while having free time to create quilts and wall hangings.

When you add her pension to the earnings from her part-time job, she's not far off from her previous compensation.

Career Change Options

One thing that these career changers have in common is that they were willing to take a risk. The other common factor is that all of them made a conscious decision not to worry about where their next paycheck was coming from. They were willing to cut costs wherever they could, use unemployment or savings to supplement their income, or lack of it, and were willing to try something new.

It's not easy to walk away from a stable paycheck and job security. Sometimes it takes a push, like a layoff, to move you in the right direction. It can though, give you a shot at a new career and new life, further along in life than for most people who are choosing career options.

If you're not in a position to simply up and leave your job to start over, there are other options. Consider how you do could work that interests you, and build your resume, while maintaining your current position:

  • Volunteer
  • Get a part-time job in your field(s) of interest
  • Pick up a freelance job or two
  • Use your vacation time to explore other industries or career field
  • Take college courses or vocational courses to expand your knowledge and skills

Remember, how volunteering turned into a full-time job at the animal shelter? In many cases, a volunteer experience, internship or part-time job can help you transition to a full-time career opportunity.

If you're brave enough to consider giving up your day job to start a new career or new business, there are ways you can make extra money to supplement your perhaps smaller paycheck. You could work a second job, do freelance or temp work, and cut your expenses.

The savings from skipping that cup of coffee you buy every morning or going out to dinner on a regular basis can add up fast. Create a budget that seems feasible and see if you can manage to get by without a paycheck or with a smaller one.

Remember, we spend a good portion of our life working and it's important to make sure that what we do is meaningful and fulfilling.

Regardless of your current job, take time to mull over whether what you're doing is what you want to be doing. If not, consider how to take another career path. You never know where you might end up!

Ready for a Change?

Have you decided your ready for a change? Is it time to move on? Follow these Ten Steps to a Successful Career Change to get on track for a new career.

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