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Too late to change of career project?

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Jean Van Hamme, a former manager who became scenarist and writer.


Some of us, we are thinking time to time to change of job, to do something else more fitting with our expectation, with our ambition. But is it so easy to switch from a job to another, a new job where you will have to build a new reputation and expertise? Here are some important points to be considered in order to succeed in such transition.

  • Be convinced by you want to do in order to convince your future customers, your future employers. As already mentioned in a previous article, the only reason to do a job is because you like it and you will show the best you can do.

  • Make sure that you have enough talent and skills in the new activity you want to do. You decide to change of job, of activity because you discovered something you liked to do as a hobby, and you would like to improve your work satisfaction by doing something fitting more with your expectations. But the question to be asked is to know if you have enough talent to do this activity with a professional level. Try to interact with partners or other people acting in the same area than you, in order to evaluate your level of competences.There is a difference between somebody who can play piano and to play piano like Mozart.
  • Take the time to prepare your new activity and start only when you are feeling having enough control on things you can control. Be aware that you are starting a new activity where you have less experience than your competitors. You are starting as a junior and you will have to deal in an environment with senior competitors. You will have to invest time and energy in order to reach and provide a competitive quality level of competences. As often mentioned, most of the time, to succeed in such conversion needs 10% of talent and 90% of work.

  • Be innovative and creative. In the range of services you want to provide, try to innovate and to give a good reason to your customers to work with you and not with somebody else. Think out of the box is something important to make the difference between you and your competitors. The combination of different competences and skills can provide more added value than the addition of each competence (one and one make three). As said the Italian photographer Oliviero Tuscani, you have not only to be the best, you have to be “unique”.

  • Listen to the experiences of your partners and competitors. You can learn a lot of then and anticipate actions or difficult times. Feedback is an important source of information, in order to perceive the fast moving environment you are working in.

  • Measure the impact your new career can have on your private life and on your family. As already mentioned, a change of job or activity implies more work and efforts, more time dedicated to your project and as consequences, a change in your work life balance. Do not hesitate to speak about your project with your family, about the impact it can have. It is important to have the support of your family, but it is important too to minimize the negative impacts on your family life.

  • Measure the financial impact of your project. In the case of a new activity as self-employed, it will take time to generate revenues. You need to have a clear overview about the risk you want to take. Set up a limit you do not want to go over. Try to develop a plan of alternative revenues. I was reading recently the experience of an accountant who changed of professional direction. He invested his capital in real estate and had rent revenues, ensuring regular revenue to be able to live. In other words, try to minimize your risk or to have an alternative plan in case of failure.

  • Do not forget that to start a new activity, a new enterprise, is always a risk. Be aware that there is always a risk to fail. But this failure has not to be seen as a negative thing. From this failure, you will probably learn much more than from a success. But it is important to limit the damage and to take the decision to stop. Define first the risk limit you would not cross over.

    As conclusion, I would say that to move to a new career plan is not an easy exercise, but not an impossible exercise too. It implies to have a good knowledge about yourself.But you can have probably hide talents you will discover by doing such exercise. And even if your new project fails, think first that your attempt to change of career project is not useless. You discovered and learned many things which will probably help you to think about another project and succeed it.

    To change of career or launch a new activity is always an important decision. As said Peter Drucker, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

    Picture : Jean Van Hamme



Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 11, 2010 at 21:44

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