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  #1  
Old 10-06-03, 01:08 PM
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The 10 Worst Mistakes Career Changers Make - ADHD

The 10 Worst Mistakes Career Changers Make
by Barbara Reinhold

Changing careers is never easy. Half the world thinks you've lost your mind, headhunters say you'll never work again and your mother-in-law steps up the old "I told you so" routine. But for many burned-out, bored or multitalented folks who are sitting on skills they're not getting a chance to use, changing fields is the only way to keep from losing their marbles.

Regardless of your career change strategy, never make these 10 mistakes:

1. Don't look for a job in another field without some intense introspection. Nothing is worse than leaping before you look. Make sure you're not escaping to a field that fits you just as poorly as your last.

2. Don't look for "hot" fields unless they're a good fit for you. You wouldn't try to squeeze into your skinny cousin's suit, so why try a field because it works for him? People who are trying to help you will come along and do the equivalent of whispering "plastics" in your ear. Instead of jumping at their suggestions, take time to consider your options. Decide what you really want to do. When you enter a field just because it's hot, burnout isn't far behind.


3. Don't go into a field because your friend is doing well in it. Get thorough information about the fields you're considering by networking, reading and doing online research. Having informational interviews with alumni from your college, colleagues, friends or family is a fun way to get the scoop on different fields.


4. Don't stick to possibilities you already know about. Stretch your perception of what might work for you. Explore career fields you learn about from self-assessment exercises.


5. Don't let money be the deciding factor. There's not enough money in the world to make you happy if your job doesn't suit you. Workplace dissatisfaction and stress is the number-one health problem for working adults. This is particularly true for career changers, who often earn less until they get their sea legs in a different field.


6. Don't keep your dissatisfaction to yourself or try to make the switch alone. This is the time to talk to people (probably not your boss just yet, nor some coworker who likes to tell tales). Friends, family and colleagues need to know what's going on so they can help you tap into those 90-plus percent of jobs that aren't advertised until somebody has them all sewn up.


7. Don't go back to school to get retreaded unless you've done some test drives in the new field. You're never too old for an internship, a volunteer experience or trying your hand at a contract assignment in a new field. There are lots of ways to get experience that won't cost you anything except your time. A new degree may or may not make the world sit up and take notice. Be very sure where you want to go before you put yourself through the pain and debt of another degree program.


8. Be careful when using placement agencies or search firms. Do some research to be sure to find a good match. Ask those who work in the field you’re trying to get into or other successful career changers for suggestions. Try to find a firm that knows how to be creative when placing career changers -- not one that solely focuses on moving people up the ladder in the same field.


9. Don't go to a career counselor or a career transitions agency expecting they can tell you which field to enter. Career advisors are facilitators, and they'll follow your lead. They can help ferret out your long-buried dreams and talents, but you'll have to do the research and the decision making by yourself. Anyone who promises to tell you what to do is dangerous.


10. Don't expect to switch overnight. A thorough career change usually will take a minimum of six months to pull off, and the time frequently stretches to a year or more.

Changing fields is one of the most invigorating things you can do. It's like experiencing youth all over again, except with the wisdom of whatever age you are now.
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  #2  
Old 10-06-03, 09:36 PM
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Excellent post...and can't stress enough how important volunteering in that field for a little while helps to see if it is a right fit....talk to people doing it....and see what they say....It might seem glamorous and wonderful...until you talk to someone that does it.....

Check out the job market in the field, as it is now.....

Make sure it's something you feel "passion" about....and the way to tell is -- if you'd do it for free.....

And don't just quit the "old" career....Best to transition.....
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Old 10-07-03, 12:35 PM
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I am trying to come up with a better career right now... and that list is more discouraging than encouraging... *sigh*
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Old 10-07-03, 01:10 PM
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Paul: Have I Got a Career For You......

Jerry Seinfeld is touring right now....the reason I know that is because he's coming to my area of Florida on November 15.....

GO SEE HIM!! Go see his comedy act....Go find out where and when he's coming to your area.....

And then sneak behind stage afterwards and see if you can get an interview with him....Ask him how he did what he did and got where he got......

OR join his fan club......and send him a letter, telling him about yourself....maybe he will write back and share how you TOO can become a famous comedian.....

I hope I haven't gone off topic here.....
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Old 10-07-03, 03:07 PM
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Been there, thought of that. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Old 10-07-03, 05:46 PM
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Hmmm.....you don't sound very excited about having seen Jerry Seinfeld...or even the thought of it.....

P.S. Comment about Number 8 above: Placement agencies and search firms are out to make money.....They may not have your best interests at heart.....I would get referrals to these places from friends, people one knows, etc.
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Old 10-07-03, 10:01 PM
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No, haven't seen him, I can't stand Jerry Seinfeld. Sorry...
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Old 10-07-03, 10:21 PM
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Paul: Well you must have someone who is like a professional role model....Is there someone out there in the world who is doing what you would like to be doing and doing it the way you would like to be doing it? If so, perhaps find a way to meet him....

Which reminds me....I don't have a professional mentor in my life and in my field...and it would really help me if I did....

So I would like to add another career changing strategy: Find someone who is doing what you would like to be doing and talk to them a lot....and see if they will be your mentor.....This is different from a career advisor.....The career advisor is just a career advisor...The mentor is doing what you want to be doing.....and gives lots of guidance, ideas and suggestions.....
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Old 10-21-03, 06:28 PM
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I need a change I have been feeling stuck in a rut for to long but hopefully something will come along soon.
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Old 10-21-03, 08:45 PM
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RE; number 7, I've heard you can buy degrees from "officially accredited schools" if all you're after is having a B.A. or M.B.A. on your resume... saves a lot of time and $... just please don't be my brain surgeon, kay?
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Old 01-13-04, 07:41 PM
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Dear Joan,
what you are writing about in the quoted passages below, is what career counsilors say you should be doing. It as common knowledge not to change careers until you have had several Informational Interviews. Those are interviews where you go to find out something about that persons job and career, just to evaluate if this career is right for you. A possible problem with this is that some careers are so individually personal that not much is transferable from person to person. However, most careers have plenty of co-workers or people who are following the same career path that you should be able to find someone who can be a representative of that career.
Just my 2 cents' worth,
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Originally posted by joanrdtobe
Paul: Well you must have someone who is like a professional role model....

So I would like to add another career changing strategy: Find someone who is doing what you would like to be doing and talk to them a lot....and see if they will be your mentor.....This is different from a career advisor.....The career advisor is just a career advisor...The mentor is doing what you want to be doing.....and gives lots of guidance, ideas and suggestions.....
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Old 02-25-04, 12:52 PM
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Sadly, the "don't look before you leap" advice isn't always followable.

My previous career (computer programming) is, I believe, about as un-AD/HD friendly as possible. But I didn't even KNOW I had AD/HD until early last year, when the momentum to fire me (from poor performance reviews) was almost unstoppable. Fortunately I got that changed to a "medical disqualification" through heroic efforts of my doctor and I, pretty much at the last second. So, I'm unemployed, but at least I have a little bit of severence money to live on and the possibility of filing for disability.

The problem is, for me, none of the "traditional" jobs hold any interest. I have no interest in being rich. Aside from basic food, clothing and shelter -- plus (this is critical) my fairly expensive medical needs have to be covered -- I'm happy, as long as I enjoy my job. My ideal job would involve a lot of variety -- preferably travel -- and writing.

Hmm. *ponders journalism*
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Old 02-25-04, 01:17 PM
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Hey atomx,
I do not know how long you were into programming, but I guess not as long as I was - 32 years. Only my very first programming job lasted more than 3 years. All others lasted less than 2. I found out close to 10 years ago that I am ADD and Bipolar 2, but it did not keep me from trying again and again. That is, until I worked for my last employer that is a subsidiary of a Japanese company. Apparently Japanese companies set up their offices in very large rooms without any dividers like cubicles, just desk after desk after desk. That is about the worst you can do to an ADDer - nothing BUT distractions!! Anyway, I lasted a year and a week.
After filing for unemployment benefits I started taking aptitude/interest tests. One through Employment Security, one through Vocational Rehabilitation, one on the internet that I paid for, and one as part of a training program through the Software Association of New Hampshire. Guess what - all of them came up with the same result: I am in the wrong profession. They all recommended to go into an arts field like painting or music or writing. I scored the highest in music where my score compared favorably with professional musicians. I suggest you do the same. Get tested. It may change your life. If you score high for the arts I have some additional suggestions.
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Old 02-26-04, 01:33 PM
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A word of warning: I have taken tests like that--vocational interest/aptitude tests--and guess what? I can be or do anything I want to!! My next comment (to myself, of course) was, Thanks a lot, buddy--now what SHOULD I do??

If the tests steer you in a particular direction, then by all means go for it. But don't necessarily get your hopes up. YMMV.
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Old 02-26-04, 01:39 PM
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(edited by waywardclam - duplicate post)
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