So you want to change careers. Awesome. Why now?
Ellis Chase, one of Manhattan’s top career consultants and executive coaches, has a few insights when it comes to timing and career-change. After all, he has been a consultant to Columbia Business School for the past 11-plus years where he develops curricula and delivers workshops for the Business School’s Executive MBA Career Management and Alumni Relations Career Services. His workshops and presentations have taken place throughout the United States and in major European cities.
Here’s what to know regarding timing and your career, according to Chase:
What’s normal? How frequently do people change careers?
“The majority of individuals make three major career changes in their lives, and they change jobs about 12 times. The womb-to-tomb paradigm about staying in one job is gone.”
What this means: Now’s the time to jump from office drone to yoga master, or, you know, your money-making passion of choice. You’re not alone in the impulse to dramatically evolve or change your path.
Is it best to keep a job while pursuing a new career?
“Ideally, yes. Of course, there’s less time to explore a new career. You’ll find yourself sneaking out of work, or making up excuses like having a dentist appointment. The upside is that people invariably feel better when they’re starting from a position of having a job. Call it a softer impact. They feel they have something stable in their life and that they’re perceived in a stronger light.”
What this means: Money means flexibility. Keep it flowing as long as you possibly can while pursuing your dreams. Just don’t pull a Chris Ziegler on anyone.
How do I know it’s time to leave my job?
“I don’t believe you should hold onto a job just because of the perception of the market. If the work environment feels toxic — if you’re not sleeping and you wake up every morning feeling almost nauseous — then you might have to get out before you pursue a fresh start. If that’s the case, you still want to leave your job smiling in the most professional manner. You don’t want to burn bridges.”
What this means: If you’re unhappy, do everything within your rational means to get out of your current job situation.
Do people over 40 have a special career mindset?
“Personal values — what’s truly important in one’s life — become the key priorities. You can no longer think, ‘I have to do everything I can to fit the career.’ It’s totally the other way around. You have to consider: ‘How does the career fit me?’ More and more, personal values have to drive the decision the older you get.”
What this means: The rat race can be fun, but it can also be exhausting. Figure out a career change path that makes sense with your life and skills set, rather than joining the masses heading for a certain lifestyle.