Friday, 5 October 2007

A career of change?

They say that students we teach now will have several careers throughout their lifetime (and some that don’t yet exist) so there is a definite challenge there in how we prepare them for their working life. But even middle aged adults in the workforce now are changing careers on average about 3 times. And there are some inherent challenges to changing jobs that we might not always consider. Penelope Trunk at Brazen Careerist talks about planning for career changes in advance, specifically by putting money aside so you can afford to face the pay cut that is often part and parcel of changing careers. I think for a lot of people, this is much easier said than done. It’s human nature to live to your means. I have worked in several different fields in my life, and I think the life experiences you gain are incredibly valuable and there is a lot of opportunity for previous experiences to be immensely valuable in a new role. Those experiences, however, don’t necessarily have concrete value to a new employer. I guess I was relatively lucky. When I made a major career change approximately 7 years ago, from photography to teaching, I did not have to take a cut in pay. What I did ‘lose’ however, was the 8 years of teaching experience I could not gain while I was working as a photographer. Those years that would have equated to salary and position in my new career. Whilst I value all of the employment experiences I have had, I do sometimes now regret that lost time, and how it may be affecting my career. (Not that I had a lot of choice with over 300 teachers made redundant the year I graduated…but that’s another story for another day.) People will hesitate to make career changes due to financial concerns. As Trunk states, “I could live on a lot less money and be fine” is a lot easier said than done. Actually, I guess I have been lucky once again on that count. If you had told me 5 years ago that we could more than halve our income and continue with minimal changes to our lifestyle, I would have said you were crazy. But when my husband left corporate banking after 18 years and started his own business, that is just what we did. And the positive changes far outweigh any monetary issues. Sometimes a new direction is the way to go, and you just have to bite the bullet and be very Nike about the whole thing.(Just Do It). And sometimes change is forced upon you, and you have to roll with the punches. So sometimes I wonder about this prophesied future where everyone will change careers as much as 7 times in their working life. That’s a lot of new beginnings to face. Maybe we all need to consider some of Trunk’s advice about being prepared….


Cryton said...

Hey Suanne! I like your blog. Your writing skills are superb. By the way thanks for living a comment on my blog. I am just wondering what made you interested in that story many don't just bother. Thanks again.

Suzanne said...

Thanks Cryton - I have answered your question on your blog.