"I want a new career, but I dread going
back to school."
Q. I hate my job as a computer consultant.
I am ready for a career change. The aptitude tests say I should
be a recreation specialist. I like the idea but I dread returning
to school for a new degree.
A. Before you invest in a degree, try out the career change.
Take a test drive. Find two or three people who are doing
what you want to do and ask to spend a day or a week with
If you're still interested, visit a few schools or universities
that offer degrees in your area of interest. Ask for names
of people who have graduated one, three and five years ago.
Ask the alumni, "Did this degree help you get your job?
Advance in your job?
"Would you have done better with a degree from another
school? Or would you have done as well with a degree from
a lower-ranked school?"
Ask students, not faculty. Professors must support their
own programs, even when they want to say, "You can do
better elsewhere," or, "This program is a waste
of your time and money."
And these days, anyone with a title like "Admissions
Director" or "Enrollment Management" may be
trying to make a sale, not offer objective guidance.
If you believe your new career requires you to quit your
job and begin a full-time degree program, investigate alternatives.
You may find an equally satisfying career that offers on-the-job
No degree program offers a magic bullet. Ultimately you may
win the job and career success by your power networking as
well as you social, interpersonal and technical skills.
Don't like one option? Try another. There are many paths
to career fulfillment, not just one. There is no way for a
single career coach, consultant or counselor to know the ins
and outs of every career. You should be guided through an
exploratory phase, not steered in one direction.
|Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and
speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast
move to career freedom. Visit her site http://www.movinglady.com
or call 505-534-4294.