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Switching Gears: Tuning Up Your Career

Prepare for Career Change

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I am neither a risk taker nor am I very brave. Most of my career changes have been forced - either by layoff, or in the last case, by company bankruptcy. I was in Human Resources at the time, so I had to layoff most of the other employees. When my work was finished I had to start looking for a new job. Although it was a traumatic time in my life I found a better and more satisfying position that I would never have sought if I was not forced to job search.

Keep Up With Change

So, as I said, you can see I am not very brave... On the other hand, maybe I don't need to be. I'm not doing even remotely the same job I was doing when I was hired for my current position. I've been promoted several times and, with advances in technology and the internet revolution, my role in the office has changed significantly. If I hadn't kept up with changes in our computer systems or been flexible and willing enough to look at new systems, new ventures and new ways of doing things, it would have been a very tough transition.

Never Stop Learning

How do you keep up in today's workplace which continues to change dramatically? First of all, keep up with what's happening in the employment world. Be cognizant of the top industries and career fields for job seekers. Be aware of the options that are available for you given your skills and experience.

Harvey Mackay, noted author and business writer, gives what I consider the most important advice -"Never stop learning! Don't limit yourself to only work-related classes, either. Learn everything about every subject that you can." Remember that old maxim - knowledge is power. Knowledge can only help you achieve success in your current job and position you for successful change.

Upgrade Your Skills

In their book, The Mid-Career Tune-Up, Bill and Rosemary Salmon, provide tools to improve job performance and action steps to manage your career:

  • Stay up-to-date on technology, industry trends, customer needs and any other factors that are important to your personal and professional self-development
  • Upgrade your knowledge and skills in ways that are consistent with your own future interests and career development.

Again, the focus is on knowledge. Even if you are stuck, for now, in a dead-end job with not much future, you can still learn. It's hard to work and go to school (I've done that too), but, distance learning options are numerous. And education really is the key to a successful future. Given today's job market, this is an excellent time to focus on options for successful changing jobs and careers.

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