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Re: Want to take your career to the next level? Ask a Career Coach!

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@r882285h wrote:

Hi John, I feel like I am at somewhat of a career crossroads. I have been with my current company for approaching 25 years and it has been filled with ups and downs, but generally a mainly safe job which allowed an opportunity and flexibility to raise my kids stress free while earning what I thought was a good salary.

 

My youngest child will be headed to college this fall. There are changes in my workplace and my role and I'll admit, I return home from work pretty sad every day. I have tons of soft skills and high EQ, and lots of ideas for ways I would like to pivot my next career path.  I feel like I must prepare now for what is likely my last decade in the hustle/bustle of work heading into retirement. Actually, career coaching or counseling is among those areas.

 

My challenge - I can't seem to really put it all together.  I have an opportunity to take individual courses and even obtain a degree at a discounted price via my part-time adjunct work. I just don't know if there's ROI in spending money to take classes on something that I can monetize in the short term or invest in another degree long term if neither will lead to a career transition heading into retirement. I just don't know how long I can feel stuck in my current situation. I just feel like I'm all over the place with things I would like and possibly can do, but when I look at my paycheck and responsibilities, I realize, I can't start at the bottom in terms of salary.


 

Thanks @r882285h -

 

You are at a very common crossroads, these days.  It is really a second mid-life crisis, but one that is very specifically focused on work, and the premise and promise of a second-act career.

 

I would caution you on the pursuit of an additional degree or certification, unless there is a very specific role/career you are pursuing that requires it (e.g. software coding, HR management).  You mentioned coaching, and yes, there are certainly coaching credentials offered all over the place, but very few with credibility and history (e.g. the International Coaching Federation - ICF).  And it depends what kind of coaching you plan on going into.

 

If you like the business/industry you're in, but just are feeling stale in your specific role, or not on board with the direction the company or culture are going in, you might look at ways of starting a consulting practice that grows out of your current role, or addresses an adjacent problem or solution that needs handling - something that current clients/customers are experiencing but having a hard time figuring out.  With your experience and savvy, you could package up that solution or set of solutions and market  them to your existing rolodex.

 

If you're tired of your business and are really looking to slingshot your way into something new, this will require some research and deep reflection on your part.  I talk about this extensively in my book, as it is really a big step.  The big caveat about making this big a leap is to really determine if you motivation is a genuine readiness to open to and embrace something really new and more authentic to who you are - or a reaction against your dissatisfaction with your current situation.  You may need to take a good long vacation to reflect on this question before you decide on your course of action.

 

Creating a side gig while you are still in your well-paying job is an option if you have an idea that lends itself to a small business or an online business.  Consider one or more experiments, or potential partners if you and a trusted (and I mean trusted) colleague or  friend have an idea.

 

Taking a pay cut is a concern, although I don't think you'll wind up having to go back to square one.  One thing I recommend to people who are in a stale situation in their longstanding job is to also try to refresh that job.  This will help you to feel better about going into work, likely extend your viability there from management's POV, and possibly unleash new ideas that could actually renew your positive feelings about the job (I've had this happen with clients in the past).  What you don't want is to get let go before you've fully figured out your own bridge to the next thing.

 

Talk to your manager or HR, or someone you think is already in your corner about how you could do more to create/provide value to the company.  Just showing that kind of initiative might surprise them, even if it feels to you like the last thing you want to offer (because you're so down on your job).  And it might surprise you to find that they're open to working with you.  If your initiative totally falls on deaf ears or hits a wall, then you know that your days are numbered and you should immediately start making exit plans, including thinking about all these new ideas, but also hitting the tradtional job search.

 

In any event, you have to make sure your LinkedIn is thoroughly up to date, engaging, and accurately captures who you are, why you're motivated to do what you love doing, and connects to professionals in your industry and potential recruiters on topics of current concern.  See an earlier reply for some ideas on how to deal with the LI profile.

 

Best wishes for a successful second act!

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Message 42 of 62

Hi, John -- I'm 62 years old and lost my job in PR/Communications in December because I asked my boss for a meeting to discuss a title change and reclassification of my job. I apply for job after job -- I have more than 30 years of progressive Public Relations experience, but don't get inteviews. I had my resume and cover letter reviewed and paid to have it revamped through the AARP recommended vendor. It came back with numerous errors and typos, so I corrected everything and I am using their version for applications. Still no nibbles. 

I'm into my 9th month of unemployment and need a job quickly. Any suggestions for me? I have worked in both the for- and non-profit sectors, including health care and cultural institutions.

Thanks, Rebecca.

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Message 43 of 62

Thank you, John. Much to think about.

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Message 44 of 62

Hi John, I feel like I am at somewhat of a career crossroads. I have been with my current company for approaching 25 years and it has been filled with ups and downs, but generally a mainly safe job which allowed an opportunity and flexibility to raise my kids stress free while earning what I thought was a good salary.

 

My youngest child will be headed to college this fall. There are changes in my workplace and my role and I'll admit, I return home from work pretty sad every day. I have tons of soft skills and high EQ, and lots of ideas for ways I would like to pivot my next career path.  I feel like I must prepare now for what is likely my last decade in the hustle/bustle of work heading into retirement. Actually, career coaching or counseling is among those areas.

 

My challenge - I can't seem to really put it all together.  I have an opportunity to take individual courses and even obtain a degree at a discounted price via my part-time adjunct work. I just don't know if there's ROI in spending money to take classes on something that I can monetize in the short term or invest in another degree long term if neither will lead to a career transition heading into retirement. I just don't know how long I can feel stuck in my current situation. I just feel like I'm all over the place with things I would like and possibly can do, but when I look at my paycheck and responsibilities, I realize, I can't start at the bottom in terms of salary.

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Message 45 of 62

@js97637592 wrote:

After 30 years in various customer experience management roles I would love to become a consultant in the same field for either distribution or consumer products manufacturing where I spent most of my career. Any advice on how to start?  Contacts?  Website?  Networking?  Jodi 


 

Thanks, Jodi!

 

Yes, all of the above (contacts, website, networking).

 

You're actually going about this exactly the right way.  But: in my view you have to be painfully specific and niched in the consulting service/solution you're selling. If you're not crystal clear on this, take the time to research your market.  Talk to former colleagues about what their biggest pain points are. Look at where the industry is headed. Don't think about this exclusively in terms of what you did or what you think you'd like to do, or what you think the market is.  Formulate your value proposition based on your research and your interactions. Be data driven: your clients certainly will be. You might find also that your former employer(s) are your most accessible clients.

 

Use your LinkedIn profile - especially the About section - to create a narrative for your new business.  Identify yourself as someone inspired and driven to create the value you're pitching - and explain the "why" of it (borne most likely out of your decades of experience). Highlight some specific past successes that demonstrate your expertise, and then conclude with your vision for the industry going forward and how you're going to make an impact.

 

Each job in your Experience section should be bulleted to support that narrative and paint a convincing picture for prospective readers/clients. 

 

Then start prospecting and using your existing connections to reach new ones.  Target companies and managers who have the issue you solve for.

 

Go for it!

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Message 46 of 62

Hi @CathyP369159

 

Yes, this is a public forum.

 

 

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Message 47 of 62

@SethG683703 wrote:

I've been a successful studio musician for many years. My industry has changed and people who do what I've done have largely been eliminated. I have related skill sets that I've tried to follow up on but the entire industry is in a deep slump and funding for new projects has dried up. So I'm looking around at what else I might do, and I've applied for a couple of jobs at colleges in music-related technology roles. Beyond that I really haven't got a clue how to move on, and where or how to look for a new career. I've never done anything other than music performance and music recording since graduating from college.

 

Thank you.


Thanks for your question @SethG683703.  As someone who comes out of the entertainment industry, I completely get your situation.

 

I have no easy answer for you in terms of what you're going to wind up doing (or should be doing).

 

However, I believe that there is a process you can engage in that will get you there.

 

I work with a five-step model.

 

First step is to reframe any ideas around who you, what you're capable of, and what limitations exist.  You may have been a music professional, but if you look back at your years in the biz, I'll bet there are strategic and managerial skills that you've learned.  Managing a creative enterprise, including your own career, booking gigs, touring, recording, managing studio time etc. is a very entrepreneurial background.    I suggest you start a brief daily journal to capture your thoughts, ideas, anxieties, fears, brainstorms and anything that comes up that might trigger some inspiration

 

Second step is to reach out to your trusted friends and advisors and do deep dive on their perception of you and what you could/should be doing.  Go for the tough love from people who care about you and aren't afraid to ruffle your feathers.  But don't take bad advice either.  The more people you talk to, you'll see themes emerge that might be helpful in giving you direction.

 

Third step is to look back on all of the mistakes you've made, bridges you've burned, injustices that were done to you etc. etc. and forgive them all.  You've got to be emotionally willing to start from square-one and not let any old baggage stand in your way of going for something new.

 

Fourth is to actually plan out one or more scenarios of what this next step could be.  Want to start a small business?  Should it be standalone or a maybe a franchise?  Consult for music industry companies?  What kind of service could you provide to manufacturers (e.g.)?  Play it out on paper.  Ask around.  What resources do you need?  How much time and money will it take to launch? 

 

Fifth is to connect with and build your network.  Ideally, you've got something specific to pitch, but you can also use your network (as in the second step above) to connect with people to clarify your direction.  The more people you meet and talk with, the more you'll be able to refine your pitch, determine whether there really is a need for the product or service you're providing, who your actual customer is, and how you're going to start closing deals or get hired.

 

Obviously, this is a really quick rundown of a much longer process (3 -6 mos).  It's all laid out in much more detail in my book, Boomer Reinvention.  Let me know if you have more questions!

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Message 48 of 62

After 30 years in various customer experience management roles I would love to become a consultant in the same field for either distribution or consumer products manufacturing where I spent most of my career. Any advice on how to start?  Contacts?  Website?  Networking?  Jodi 

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Message 49 of 62

@aramorra wrote:

Hello,

 

I will be 56 this November and have made my career as an executive assistant to C level executives.

 

I am considering moving to be near my son and his family and would like to understand how I can go for a management position.

 

After 30 some years, I think I bring alot of management level skill sets


Thanks for your question @aramorra-

 

You indeed have lots to offer and it sounds like you're making a smart lifestyle decision to be making the move.

 

I would approach this from a couple of angles.

 

First, think of yourself as an entrepreneur, not an employee.  Yes, you could find a job in an admin capacity, but you'll also find a lot of bias against older workers, and you'll hear a lot of "shouldn't you be retiring by now?" questions.

 

If you see yourself as an entrepreneur, you'll need to figure out the actual "product" that you're selling.  With all of your experience, it could be that you drill down on the industry you were involved with, look at the kind of organizational, infrastructure, or business process expertise you have, and come up with a service that addresses key problems that companies have.

 

You could find yourself attracting multiple clients who want you to help them organize, re-organize, or otherwise sort out problems on a sort-term basis (e.g. 1 - 6 months).  Or you could find a company that needs you to do the same thing in-house and you get hired on as an employee.

 

Be open to working either way (1099 or W2).  The important thing to do is to always think of yourself as a consultant providing value to a client, not an employee working under the direction of a manager.

 

Yes, you can work across a wide range of disciplines and industries, for any number of managers (after all, you've worked for C-suite execs).  But the more specific and niched you make your "pitch," the easier it will be for people with that need to hire you - and hire you quickly.

 

Why compete with (younger, less-experienced) people across a broad, undefined jobs market when you can market yourself as a valuable and unique expert?

 

One other angle is to look at the Virtual Assistant market, and research the online services that  provide VAs to small business owners (mostly online, but also brick/mortar).  With your background, and if you're tech-friendly, you might find opportunity in that role that can give you a lot of time flexibility.

 

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Message 50 of 62
Hello

Is this a private or public forum? Will my questions and your answers printed here?

Thank you!
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