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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why Changing Careers in a Down Market is a Great Idea

By Annemarie Segaric

Ask anyone who knows me. I don't like to follow the crowd. I chose my major in college--Operations Research/Industrial Engineering--partly because so few women became engineers. In high school I wasn't the loner in the group but I definitely wasn't part of the "in" crowd. While everyone else was making plans for Friday night I was hopping a bus to Manhattan by myself to go makeup shopping at Macy's. I have this independent streak which explains why the jobless reports, economy in crisis articles and the "oh no, the world is falling apart" mentality is driving me crazy!
You see fear begets fear. It's absolutely contagious. And I don't know about you but when I'm around someone who is ill and contagious I usually protect myself or politely run for the door. But in our world today it seems we are thriving on the crisis. It's like
rubbernecking on the highway. We can't help ourselves. We want to be a part of it all. There are some of you who want to share in the misery. You know...misery loves company. Now I know some of you would say you've stopped watching the news. You're tired of it all and are no longer paying attention to the dim economic reports. While staying above it all and not getting caught up in the anxiety is a great move, why not make things exciting for yourself?

What would it be like if you assumed it was a great time to change careers or start a business? How would that change your behavior...your life?

I bet it would shake things up quite a bit for you and take you out of your comfort zone. You see, we don't really make progress when things are running smoothly and all is going according to plan. We grow and we shift when things are not working, when it feels like we're running in circles, when you think maybe you should just give up. It is at times like these that big things happen. Here are three steps I challenge you to take right now. Don't wait. I mean right now!

1. Grab your favorite pen and journal and jot down what an ideal day looks like. Yes, I know, I know. You can't think about the ideal at a time like this. You should just be grateful you have a job if you have one or that your family can simply pay its bills. Go ahead and do it anyway. How would your day start? What would your home be like? How would you spend your day? Who would
you spend the day with? What would you do for work that would be extremely meaningful and exciting? Just write as little or as much as comes to you.

2. Next, take a look at your ideal day description and figure out what you could easily do today to incorporate one or more of your future wishes. Could you take up a possible career interest on the side now? Could you look into subletting your place and checking out new homes for your family closer to your ideal? Could you take a class to brush up on those skills you'd need to make your dream job a reality?

3. Now, do something today you've been frightened to do but know you really need to be doing. Maybe it's applying for that job you recently heard about, deciding to pursue the career you always wanted to have, calling up that friend of a friend who had a great person for you to meet, or investing in yourself and your own education which you know will pay off down the road.

The whole point is you can't and shouldn't wait for the perfect time to make a career change. There will always be something "wrong" about your current situation. In fact, if you shift your perspective, you'll see that the problems of today are actually the fuel needed to drive your true dreams ahead. What are you waiting for?

Annemarie Segaric is a nationally recognized career change coach, motivational speaker, and the author of the book, Step into the Right Career: 107 Tips to Change Your Life While Still Paying the Bills. Ready to switch careers but feel stuck and don't know where to begin? Visit http://www.careerchanger.com and get your own complimentary career changer toolkit today. Annemarie is also a regular contributor to Hip Slope Mama.