Career Advice

Jeff Saperstein is a career transition coach specializing in mid- to late-career business professionals who may feel stuck and who aspire to align their values with their work-life activities.

Are you in the right place and where you want to be in your career?

Maybe the path forward does not seem clear or appealing. Maybe you are not utilizing skills you have developed or learning new skills and systems to keep you current with changing market realities. Perhaps you feel you have been climbing a ladder attached to the wrong wall.

A new year can be the time to take stock of where you are and where you might like to be in the coming years. Here are some ways to think about mid-career transitions.

What mid-to late-career professionals wish from a career transition is often different than what they sought when they began their careers. Usually, there is a higher value placed on work/life integration and satisfying a sense of purpose.

That can mean more time for family, personal interests, leisure travel, or other activities that round out one’s life. It also can mean seeking inner satisfaction with what you are doing, better interaction with colleagues and a collaborative team, or work on an inspiring societal issue.

If any of these criteria resonates with you, you could be drawn to one of several emergent career paths:

• Online teaching through academic institutions, training organizations, and new models of ongoing professional learning such as Udacity. The California University System is committing considerable resources to expanding online education through the UC’s, state, and community college system. Check out Quality Online Learning and Teaching (QOLT) to see the new opportunities in creating courses that can scale.

• Foundations and nonprofit agencies. Foundations are catalysts to bring public, private, and nonprofit entities together to address major local, state, national, and global problems. Finding the community foundation in your area can be a start.

If you want to check out nonprofit agencies further look at Guidestar, the most comprehensive database for all nonprofits ranked by IRS 990’s. All nonprofits are required to complete a tax form detailing revenues, expenses, board of directors composition, and program service impact. You may assume that you can learn what is really going on through ratings of organization fiscal health.

• Coaching, mentoring, and tutoring services are becoming more common and in demand. Career, life, health, and personal relationship coaching may be a good opportunity for those who wish to work one on one to help others. The two major organizations training coaches for certification are Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and iPEC.

What to do now if you think they may be in the wrong job.

No hurry to quit a job or leave a field if you are unsatisfied. Begin to go to trade shows, attend conferences, and listen to podcasts of thought leaders in your potential new field . You should take some time to explore how you can take your skills and experience to position yourself for value in another field.

For example, let’s take someone who has trained and worked in the Federal Homeland Security Agency. His training and experience may be interviewing refugees for entrance to the U.S. He has conducted hundreds of interviews using sophisticated techniques and protocols.

He may decide to take his interviewing skills and transition to a job where interviewing is a primary experience requirement such as corporate human resources, private security firms, or college admissions office.

Career Advice

Jeff Saperstein is a career transition coach specializing in mid- to late-career business professionals who may feel stuck and who aspire to align their values with their work-life activities.

While he has his job, he is acquiring valuable experience to apply to his next career move. He may wish to take some training or certification courses to help him better qualify for his move to a different field.

He can enter online chat rooms, Special Interest Groups (SIG), or listen to podcasts from industry leaders. LinkedIn has SIG’s for just about every field.

If our hypothetical Homeland Security professional was seeking to shift into HR, he could start with Linkedin. If HR interests you, check out this blogpost by Christina Lattimmer, leadership coach and consultant, “30 Top Groups To Join On Linkedin For Leadership and HR.”

So, do not be defined by your field, but rather distinguish yourself through the skills and experience you gained in that field to get ready for your next move.

Most of all: be fearless to take calculated risks for your own happiness.