You Are Not Alone in Your Desire to Change Careers

A recent article in USA Today (link below) discussed the fact that many people in their 40s and 50s were planning major career moves. The article noted that only 41% were working in their dream job; what about the other 60% of us? It surveyed folks over 40 to get their views on what ranked the most important for their ‘dream job’, the biggest obstacles to obtaining that dream job, and changes they wanted to make within the next five years.

Among the most important considerations for a ‘dream job’ were: Higher Pay (23%), Better Work/Life Balance (22%), Lower Stress (15%), Flexible Work Schedule (12%), Desire to Give Back to the Community (10%), Fun Environment (9%), and an Opportunity to Learn or Advance (8%). Of those surveyed, 27% viewed financial obligations as the biggest obstacle to having their dream job, followed by lack of opportunity where they live (19%), lack of adequate training (15%), difficulty in starting a business (14%), lack of time to look for a better job (5%), and not knowing where to start on the job search (3%). I am sure that most, if not all of us, fall into one of these categories. It’s very interesting to note that 46% of those surveyed wanted to make a change in their professional life within the next five years. I told you, ‘You are not alone!” on the career changing journey. Along my personal ‘career changing journey’, I encountered similar obstacles, and I’ll focus on the top four in this blog.

Lack of Self-Confidence….Seriously?

The four largest obstacles I encountered in my ‘technical transition’ were: lack of self-confidence, money, time, and motivation. I can show you sites and provide you information for free or low cost training, but I can’t improve your self-esteem. Knowing this is a huge problem for many of us, I want to address this obstacle first. Think about it, the biggest obstacle to becoming technically proficient might be YOU; at least this was the case for me.

When I left the job market to raise our children, the task of re-entering the job arena loomed large. My thoughts plagued me. What do I have to ‘bring to the table’ in a job setting? Do I have any marketable skills for the current job environment? Can I really ‘self-learn’ and change careers at my age? Can I ‘catch up’? It was a process for me to gain the self-confidence I needed for the journey; step by step. Trust me, it didn’t come overnight! However, with each new skill I learned, each new terminology grasped, each technical book I finished; the pieces (and self-confidence) started falling into place. I want you to address the self-confidence obstacle head on; embrace the self-confidence battle and don’t defeat yourself.

Money, Money, Money

So you might be thinking, “If I had lots of money, I wouldn’t be looking for a job!” How much is this technical training going to cost me? You can spend a lot of cash and take courses at a local college specializing in computer studies, but I’m all about getting the ‘biggest bang for my computer training buck’. Stick with me and I’ll show you how to get lots of free (and low cost training) that will reap huge dividends. Sure, you’re going to need some cash along the way to buy a few training books, to purchase some software, or maybe take a focused, short-term course; but it’s a small amount when compared to the alternatives. I’m all about free training when I can get, and there’s LOTS of excellent free training out there. Oddly enough, it’s not a lack of free training but carving out the time for the training; this leads to our next obstacle.

Time, Love, and Tenderness

Some of you might be in a full-time job somewhere; so carving out time to study is not easy. Start thinking now about when you can set aside a regular block of time for study, each day if possible. If you’re working full-time and in a relationship, that doesn’t leave lots of time to study; so it is always a good idea to have a conversation with your ‘significant other’. Life, and your study time, will be more productive if you have the support of your loved ones in your career change adventure.

Motivate Me

This is much like the ‘Self-confidence’ issue, in that you are the only one who can make yourself study and be committed to push through difficult training concepts. Only you can make yourself go to the monthly SQL Server meetings or other technical groups. Only you can commit and follow through with completing a 500+ page technical book. You get the picture.

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato

I would be remiss if I did not address the importance of learning the correct technical terminology along the way. As you study, whatever the technical subject, pay close attention to the terminology used and HOW it is used. Nothing will give you away faster in a technically savvy crowd than to mix up your terminology.

Complete Your Homework?

So how did you do with the last blog assignment? You know, the one about locating a local computer group and visiting? If you have not completed that task, it’s time to get moving on it. Click here if you need to re-read that blog post. Getting involved in a local server group is a great (and free) way to learn new topics AND network at the same time.

Let’s Get Your Feet Wet with Some Free Training this Month!

Pragmatic Works is an excellent training resource; I’ll be blogging soon about all the wonderful things those guys and gals do for the technical community. They also offer free weekly webinars along with virtual training classes for a fraction of what you would pay at a community college. So let’s take advantage of one or two of their free ‘Training on the T’s’ webinars.

I selected two free webinars to get you started: ‘Power BI tips for the Data Analyst’ on July 15th at 11:00 AM by Angel Abundez and ‘Networking to Build Your Business Contacts and Boost Your Revenue’ on July 23rd at 11:00 AM by Don Gabor. If you cannot watch them live, you can view them later by going to the ‘Past Webinars’ section. I’ve provided a link to take you directly to the Learning Center at the Pragmatic Works website. Click ‘Future Webinars’ and scroll until you locate the webinars. You’ll need to register for them, and it’s free.

Be sure to subscribe for new blog notifications.  Subscribers of this blog will get extra ‘technical tidbits’ between regular blog posts; make sure you don’t miss out on anything!   See you next time when we talk about “How to Decide the Right Computer Training Path”.

Link for USA Today article 

Link for Pragmatic Works Learning Center

Susan Schneider lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her wonderful husband Steve. She enjoys sailing and is a ‘wanna be fisherman’, and loves all things BI.  See more information under the ‘About Me’ section.  Remember to sign up for new blog notifications:  Go to  Subscribe2 on the sidebar and sign up!