Is a Career Change in Your Future?

This time of year can be a bit bittersweet. Letting go of the freedom that summer brings is tough. On the bright side, any new season opens a window - a chance to think about you and the next chapter of your career. Does this raise a feeling of uncertainty, perhaps a pinch of excitement? Totally understandable. We encourage you to acknowledge this feeling fully. This is where you are now, but it is not where you will be a year from now.

Many women we work with know that they want to go straight back to their previous careers. Others are ready to make a career change. Making this shift is our focus this month. This month we explore not only career re-entry, but also career change. 

Case in point, Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, is famous for her delectable food (her croissant bread pudding being a favorite) and easy entertaining style. We had a chance to hear Ina’s story at an event this summer promoting her new book, Cooking for Jeffrey.  She spent many years as a nuclear policy analyst working for the White House. In her heart, she felt unhappy and unsettled. Throughout her adult life, she had a strong connection to food and entertaining, but didn’t know what to do next. Next thing you know, she bought a tiny gourmet shop in the Hamptons, the Barefoot Contessa. She allowed herself to feel this dissatisfaction which created an openness to become an entrepreneur and eventually a food industry icon/bestselling cookbook author.

Ina Garten with Rob Marshal at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton, NY

A bit closer to home is Vermilion member Rachel Grandwetter who returned to work last September. Not only did she return to work after a 8 year hiatus, she also made a career change going from being an employment attorney to an HR Director. As she started exploring her options, she remembered what she enjoyed most in her previous role as an attorney – the direct interaction counseling employees about employment issues. She knew this was the path forward for the next phase of her career.

Are you a candidate for a career change? Consider these questions as you decide whether a career change is in order.

  1. Trust your gut: Do you have a nudging voice in your head that says “I want to go back to work, but I’d like to do something different?” More telling, does the thought of returning to your previous career leave you feeling flat? A general sense of nervousness is normal, but a sick to your stomach feeling is a warning.
  2. Notice how you frame your story: When you discuss your previous career, how do you retell the story? Is it positive or do you focus on the negative elements of your story?
  3. Inventory your skills: Have you developed a skill/interest during your career break that you can see yourself pursuing?  For many in the Vermilion Talent Community, volunteering allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and develop new skills and abilities. What are those?
  4. Evaluate the market: Has your industry changed and the role you played is no longer relevant?
    Be objective and study industry trends. Do a quick search on a job board to see the number of jobs that pop up in your previous role.  
  5. The financial factor:  Have your financial needs changed requiring you to earn more money or have any financial constraints been lifted allowing you to explore other careers that were not an option before? For many, divorce changes the financial landscape. Or in other cases, having financially independent children can you the freedom to explore.
  6. The personal factor:  Has your family or personal situation changed making your previous career less desirable or a new career more accessible? Again, a spouse’s travel schedule may require you to be local and closer to home. Or, perhaps an empty nest now allows you to consider jobs that require significant travel.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it looks like exploring a career change is your next step. How do you go from this unspoken desire to a tangible action plan that can be realized? Only one way – to explore your options, time box the process, evaluate any skill gaps and fill them. When we give ourselves permission to explore, clarity surfaces, an idea becomes concrete and actionable.

Interested in learning more on career change? Join us on Wednesday, September 27 at our Success Stories Panel where we talk to an amazing group of women that have redefined their careers dramatically.

To your success,
Anju & Anne-Barbara