Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest Post: Hop Aboard the Slow Career Movement

I'm thrilled to have Noël Rozny from myFootpath.comdoing a guest post today. She touches on very relevant points and provides good guidance. Enjoy!

There was a lot of unpleasant fallout from the recession: people lost their jobs, their retirement savings, their businesses, and their homes. But even as the economy and the work force are still struggling to their feet, workers across the country are benefiting from an unexpected by-product.

In her article, Some Workers Moving Off the Career Fast-Track, Eve Tahmincioglu describes what she calls the “Slow Career Movement” that has sprung up as a result of the recession. Similar to the Slow Food movement—which prompts individuals to think more carefully about what they eat, where it comes from, and what impact it has on the environment—the Slow Career movement is a trend that Tahmincioglu says gives workers a chance to re-examine their work/life balance.

The result, she says, is that many who were laid off during the past two years are using the opportunity to chase long-forgotten dreams, open their own businesses, and redefine what career success means to them.

Did your ears perk up when I said “long-forgotten dreams?” Is there a passion or drive you’ve hidden away somewhere that is screaming for attention? Now may just be the time to explore it. If you’re not sure how to get started on the road to a “slow career,” here’s how.

Step #1: Identify Your Passion
The first step to a slow job is figuring out what truly makes you happy. Forget what you went to college for, what your parents told you is a respectable profession, and your 20+ years experience as an accountant manager. What do you really want to do? If you could go back and start over again, what dream or career would you pursue?

Step #2: Set Expectations
As Tahmincioglu described in her article, many slow job-seekers are leaving corporate America because they’re tired of long hours, unbearable stress loads, and a complete lack of free time. So as you consider making a switch, write down a concrete list of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Are you looking for flexible hours, a more creative career, the opportunity to work from home, a chance to be with your family? What are you willing to give up to get these things: a guaranteed salary, paid vacations, and other corporate perks?

Step #3: Perform a Self-Evaluation
Ok, so now you know that you really want to open your own art gallery or start a gourmet pie company. What are your skills in this area? Have you been working on your knowledge and expertise through side projects or freelancing? Do you need to take some classes to get yourself where you need to be?

Step #4: Start Researching Your New Industry
If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in an entirely new industry, you need to do some research first. What are the industry trends? What’s the average salary for the position you’re seeking? What’s the business climate like for your new profession?

You can find out by embracing social media: look up your industry leaders, find their websites, read their blogs, and follow them on Twitter. See who’s on their blogroll, who’s commenting on their posts, and who’s following them on Twitter (and who they follow). Before you know it, you’ll have all the information you need to get started right at your fingertips.

Step #5: Establish Your Identity
Ever heard the phrase “fake it ‘till you make it?” If you’re going into a brand new industry, you need to start building a brand for yourself within this field. Even if your work experience is in something completely different, you can start making a new name for yourself by building a blog, setting up a LinkedIn profile, and getting some business cards made. Use these tools to showcase your expertise and passion for your new field. Trust me, they’ll come in handy as you start looking for jobs or to build your client base.

Step #6: Go!
Once you’ve got the right job skills, industry knowledge, and personal brand, it’s time to jump into your new career with both feet. Start knocking on doors: network, make connections, and job search. Yes, it’s scary, but so was the recession, and you survived that, didn’t you? What do you have to lose besides your own happiness and personal fulfillment?

Noël Rozny is the web editor and content manager for myFootpath.com. She’s thrilled to be in a position where she can help students of all ages find the degree program, career or “slow job” that’s right for them. To read more, visit the myPathfinder career and education blog.

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