Second-Act Careers: Welcome to Plan B
A second-act career is a natural life progression since statistics say that the average person will switch careers five to nine times during a lifetime. However, in a changing world where industries are consolidating and even disappearing, there are times when implementing Plan B is accelerated because of lack of opportunities in the local area. In 2011, Harris Interactive and Cornerstone OnDemand released a study finding that more than 21 million Americans will change jobs in the next 12 months, costing employers a total of more than $2 trillion.
A career change requires planning, as well as focus and commitment, to make the transition smoothly, even if you know what your Plan B is. Before you begin the process of transitioning to your second-act career, invest the time to assess the negative and positive forces that you are likely to face. Develop strategies to deal with the elements that appear to be roadblocks. Regularly revisit what is important to you, and stay informed about the marketplace realities of your new career. This will allow you to build toward a meaningful and satisfying future.
Transitioning to Your Second-Act Career
Search the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook to gather as much information as possible about your new career to understand marketplace realities. Conduct a few informational interviews with people who are already working in your new career to further assess potential, seek advice on how to position yourself for the new role or industry, and build relationships with individuals in the areas you are targeting. Informational interviews also enable you to identify which skills and abilities need updating, as well as determine if you are required to get a degree or special certfication.
Ask to job shadow someone during their work day, participate in formal training, and volunteer to try on the new career to better assess its fit for you. Although you are embarking on a new career, you have already acquired skills that will prove useful. So in the job interview, instead of trying to hide the fact that you have little or no experience, you can enhance your self-presentation by demonstrating how your unique background and skills can contribute, add value, and assist the organization in meeting its objectives.
To successfully transition into your second-act career also requires that you develop a sound financial plan. Save enough money to support yourself for three to 12 months, or however long you think it’ll take to find a job in your new line of work.