Got an e-mail from one of my blog readers, let's call her M. She was one of the folks I had an e-mail conversation with about changing your career focus. Nice words from M...she appreciates the honestly, I appreciate the frustration of being on the other side of the situation. I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her e-mail since I'm not sharing her name:
Your point on taking risks on someone who doesn't have the track record is well taken, but I can also see from a different perspective how this also can potentially be a lost opportunity in finding someone who has the maturity and passion to really excel. I find it ironic that the industry as a whole is willing to take these risks on students graduating from college who are looking to explore, and yet unwilling to take those same risks on people who may have a few more years of experience but have the maturity to know where they want to go, or how to take advantage of such opportunities.
She's right. I also think there's a comfort level taking risks on new grads because they are less opinionated about what *works* in the business world (oh come on, I know I have an opinion on "how things work"...otherwise this blog would be b-o-r-i-n-g). But on the flip side, career changers bring so much maturity and different perspective to the table. Are hiring authorities worried that their next desired role is just an experiment? That they are trying something new because they failed at what they did before? Or do we embrace the risk taker?
I know that I have coached people that realize that the position they recently accepted isn't for them...or sometimes their new company isn't for them. I tell them, don't suffer...if you are sure you made a mistake, make a change. But what if the change is the type of role. F Scott Fitzgerald said; "There are no second acts in American lives". But the man died in 1940...way before Al Gore invented the internet. I think that it's often in the second act when things get really good.
M joked about starting a support network for people in the same situation. I actually think that is a great idea. I don't want to close the book on this topic. Because my advice about career changing isn't about whether you should do it but how you should do it (small steps...and there are always exceptions). So I am committed to keeping the dialog going on this topic going if you want to. Since I have already said quite a bit on the topic, what about a little community participation? Think of me as a facilitator...how can people out there support each other? Should we have an open thread? Guest blog by someone whose navigated this issue in their own career? I mean, this isn't really community building unless we are all talking to each other. Let's share (oh no...flashback to camp...campfire..John Denver songs...). There are enough of you out there thinking about making a change. How can we help? Don't be shy.