|Careers & Employment Information|
Career Change: A Glittering Invitation To The Emotional Stalkers
As much as you are yearning for career-change, and as much as the trends actually favor it, just contemplating a shift is a glittering invitation to four emotional stalkers who love nothing better than to play a nasty game of team-tag at your personal expense. When you unmask these bandits -- even a little -- they begin to lose their emotional charge ? leaving you free to more fully explore the opportunities to re-invent yourself.
Stalker # 1: The Devil You Know. Just imagine that you're headed for work. You're at the station, briefcase and newspaper in hand, waiting in a narrow sea of gray look-alikes to catch the 6:10 train. Or, jailed in your car, radio droning, you crawl along the highway, hypnotized by the swaying bumpers ahead.
You arrive in town, grab your daily coffee, rise silently in a packed elevator and pad to your office, numb before you even start your day. Work done, you reverse direction, back and forth, each day more effort than the one before.
After ten or twenty years, once colorful work has faded. Yet how good it feels to know the ropes! How seductively easy it is to stay stuck in what you know!
To break out of your comfort zone, tap into the most inspiring, personal benefit that your career change can bring you: More intriguing and challenging work? Being your own boss? or, perhaps it's the luxury of more personal time to pursue additional interests.
Mentally scan your list of friends and acquaintances who are fulfilled in their work. Who has a working life that you would like to have? Who is demonstrating that hard work and life in full bloom are not mutually exclusive realities?
Stalker #2: Clueless in Seattle. If you have a passion for particular work, or specialized expertise that you intend to lever, Fortune is smiling and waving you forward. Count yourself lucky, indeed! The rest of us face the thorny battle of believing that there is work out there for us that is we can embrace with our logic brain and our heart brain. Two different animals, worlds apart! Intellectually, lots of options exist, but how do you make the visceral leap that one of these options is right for you?
This was my #1 dilemma in 1999. Objectively, I knew that I had good skills that I could leverage. But emotionally I was not a believer. Since I didn't know what THE work was, how could I believe it was possible? I would have given up then and there, if it wasn't for a friend who suggested that I was trying to accomplish too much, too early. He saw me desperate to "swing from tree to tree" and challenged my need to nail down exactly what I was going to do for work before I even started the change process.
"Figuring out what to do for a living IS the process," he explained. "The answers unfold slowly, with diligent work." He encouraged me to explore my talents and work preferences fully and methodically. And to think with my heart. "It's your heart," he advised, "that allows you to leap."
Stalker #3: The Slippery Slope: Money. Our desire for financial security screams at a deafening crescendo and sabotages our willingness to step forward even one inch. Fat paychecks, bonuses, expense accounts, paid vacations and health benefits -- perks to flutter our hearts and, on occasion, puff our egos with a sense of status and independence. The green stuff pays our bills, educates our kids, entertains us and gives us a sense that all is well with the world.
Car? Mortgage? Health insurance? All of these are completely valid issues. But as long as you are still drawing a paycheck, worrying about financial ruin is completely self-defeating. Spend your energy constructively, working the math in a deliberate way and letting the results dictate your path ? not your fear.
Once I "got" this wisdom, I scratched out budgets like a miser obsessed. The results weren't ideal, but they weren't devastating either. After chopping expenses and eliminating debt, my savings would support me for 11 months. I wanted a minimum of 24 months of cushion to cover a ramp up period to get my coaching business off the ground. Closing the gap meant staying put until next year's bonus was paid -? 10 months away! This placed my escape squarely at 20 months from start to finish, longer than I had anticipated, but at least I had a solid target in my gun site. My exit had become a question of "when" not "if".
Stalker #4: The Mush Factor. Lack of confidence is the subtlest form of exit sabotage, but just as lethal as its three stalker-friends. It creeps up, scores, and then evaporates like soft mist. Just when you're ready to take on the world, it attacks again, melting you into a puddle of doubts about your ability to even come close to career change.
When you feel vulnerable, think about the bounty you've gained from your corporate run -? sharp-as-a-tack analytical skills, business acumen, process know-how, leadership, and the solid technical expertise -? law, accounting, finance, organizational and human development, marketing, sales ? the list is as long and as rich as Rapunzel's hair. These attributes fueled your corporate career; they will do no less for you now.
That said, perfect confidence all the time is not realistic either. Emotional wobbles go with the territory. To steady yourself, remember that your journey is one of choice, not force. You control it from beginning to end ?- the pace, how it unfolds and when. When the level of uncertainty feels too great, accept it. It will pass. When it does, pick up the reins again. Work with your flow of energy, not against it. Before you know it, you will have conceived a plan and a financial strategy that will feed your confidence -- not suck it dry.
Mastering your fate means rolling up your oxford sleeves and plowing through lots of rocky terrain. It means caging the four stalkers into submission -- once, twice ?- as often as it takes to open the space for thoughtful career-change work. In fact, get to know these stalkers well. Even thank them for their guidance -- and remind them that you're the boss now -- and you're getting ready to take on the decisions around your future.
Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1999. Now, as a career fulfillment specialist, she guides unhappy corporate professionals into meaningful work -- both inside and outside the corporate walls.
For more about her background and approach or to receive 5 Complimentary Career Change Lessons, visit http://www.purposefulwork.com
Career Discovery - Pinpoint Your Ideal Career
Determine your ideal career--one that's in alignment with your values, passions, and talents--and discover the work you were born to do
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Hot Business Trends for 2006? And Beyond: Maybe One Will Turn Into a Creative Business Idea for You
I always look forward to the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine. That's the issue that features the publisher's annual pick of hot businesses, markets, and trends for smart entrepreneurs ? or those who aspire to be. Some of the high tech businesses cited like mobile gaming or online learning tend to require six and seven figure start up costs. This can seem daunting (although not impossible) for the person just venturing into self-employment. So I've decided to focus on the markets, trends, and businesses that speak to someone operating on a somewhat more limited budget. Let's start with hot markets: HOT MARKET: Middle-Aged Women Since I've recently entered my last year in my 40s, I thought it only appropriate to start with this group (although like most boomers, I still have a hard time thinking of myself as anything close to "middle aged"). Not surprisingly, products and services for women in their 40s and 50s that center around anti-aging and menopause are hot. The magazine cites such promising areas as counseling, exercise spas, yoga, smoking cessation programs? any product or service that helps women stay healthy and feel good about themselves ? both inside and out. The reference to smoking cessation got me thinking? Residential treatment facilities for other forms of substance abuse are common- place, but I've personally never seen a retreat, spa, or other residential-type place specifically aimed at people who need help quitting smoking, and who would benefit from doing so outside their home environment. I'm picturing morning walks, meditation, massage, support groups, good food, and of course, lots and lots of punching bags! HOT MARKET: Toddlers/Tweens/Teens According to market research firm Packaged Facts, last year 5 to 14 year olds spent $10 billion on food and beverages. Other favorite product areas for kids are sports, fashion, music, and technology. And apparently home décor and remodeling isn't just for adults anymore (who knew?). Stores like IKEA and Pottery Barn are starting to selling home furnishing products aimed at teens. With baby boomers having more discretionary income with which to spoil their grandchildren, babies and toddlers have also become hot markets. Online start-up ELittle Luxuries offers designer baby furniture and more than 600 other upscale baby items. (http://www.eLittleLuxuries.com) HOT MARKET: Overweight People After reading how much kids spend on food and beverages, it's no surprise that 15% of children and teens are overweight. But we adults have them beat. A whopping 64% of Americans are considered obese or overweight. Businesses that offer products and services to help people slim down and develop more healthy habits are the most obvious. But entrepreneurs willing to think outside the "solve the problem" box by looking for ways to make overweight people's lives easier verses trying to fix them, will also do well. HOT MARKET: Metrosexuals With the enormous appeal of stylish soccer super star David Beckham and shows like Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where gay men help straight men with fashion, grooming, home décor, and social skills, a growing number of heterosexual men are allowing themselves to tap into their fashionable side. One enterprising guy who jumped into the metrosexual market early has seen phenomenal growth. With $20,000 and a dream, Tom Granese launched Regiments, an online store that sells high-end grooming products for men. Less than two years later, Tom opened his first storefront in Dallas with a projected $210,000 in first year in-store sales. HOT MARKET: Hispanics The Hispanic market is certainly nothing new ? in fact it's made Entrepreneur's list for many years now. The magazine cites opportunities in anything from food and entertainment, to financial services and Web services. Now let's look at two of Entrepreneur's picks for hot trends in 2004? HOT TREND: Outdoor Living Spaces Into gardening or design? According to Joanne Kostecky of the American Nursery & Landscape Association, and president of her own garden design company, the concept of outdoor living rooms that is so popular in the south and some urban areas is beginning to reach the rest of the country. The fact that more consumers are investing in courtyards and elaborate gardens means the gardening and outdoor design businesses are bound to grow! HOT TREND: Fast-Casual Food Health and taste conscious consumers on the go are turning to fast- casual restaurants and chains. In my own small town of Northampton, two of the more popular joints are benefiting from the fast-casual boom. One serves upscale burritos (my favorite is the Thai burritos) and the other is a hip soup, salad, and sandwich joint that opened in a greatly remodeled former Taco Bell restaurant. Idea: Back in my old softball days I always wished someone would cater to all those hungry players and fans by starting a high quality food wagon. Other Hot Trends? Boating and water sports, the hunger for low- carb foods (a trend being taken seriously by restaurants, grocery stores, and food manufacturers), oils and sauces, and multiculturalism which includes the gay and lesbian markets. Hot markets and hot trends lead to hot businesses. Here are some of Entrepreneur's picks? HOT BUSINESS: Children's Enrichment Programs With so many parents in the workforce, more kids than ever before are engaged in extracurricular and after school activities. If you like the idea of working with kids, you can opt to open a physical location like a gym, dance or art studio, or camp, take your program into the schools, or provide private lessons. If you think opening your own place is financially out of reach, think again. While $12,000 is no small sum of money, it's a lot less than a lot of people might expect they'd need to shell out to start their own dance studio. But that's how much former dance student turned instructor Archer Alstaettter dug up in cash and credit cards to found Dance Emotion in Irvine, California. That was five years ago. Today Archer's studio has 500 clients and expects 600-plus to be enrolled by spring. You go Archer! HOT BUSINESS: Home Improvement Remodeling, refurbishing, and redecorating are all the rage. There are some 30 cable shows on home improvement alone. And home improvement isn't all about décor. Worth noting are businesses that help home owners maximize the space they have as well as those making homes more accessible to an aging population. (To read about a unique, highly successful, and legitimate home business opportunity that matches home owners with reputable home repair contractors go to http://www.ChangingCourse.com/hrnsuccess.htm) HOT BUSINESS: Yoga & Pilates According to Entrepreneur, companies are bending over backwards to cater to the growing market of people practicing yoga. Clothes, mats, DVDs, music, and classes aimed at seniors, pregnant women and children as young as three are just a few products and services aimed at this growing market. And with a reported 47 million Americans taking Pilates, a work out that builds abdominal muscles, opportunities abound for gym owners and instructors alike. If you like the idea of teaching Pilates, studio owner Maria Leone recommends starting out by keeping overhead low. She suggests renting space for one-on-one sessions from a small gym or chiropractic office. Fees for a typical Pilates session range from $50 to $70 an hour. Meditate on that! HOT BUSINESS: Upscale Pet Services According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, Americans spent an estimated $31 billion on pets in 2003. A few of the luxury services cited include pet hotels complete with heated floors, limousine rides, day cruises, and personal shoppers. And apparently the spa trend has extended to the pet world with exfoliating treatments, aromatherapy, liposuction (I kid you not), and chiropractic services. HOT BUSINESS: Outsourcing Outsourcing is one of those good new-bad news things. If your job is being eliminated because it's cheaper for your company to outsource functions like HR, accounting, and network security, then outsourcing is a bad thing. Outsourcing is particularly hot in IT ? and when it comes to outsourcing jobs overseas, it's also controversial. The good news for freelancers is the federal government plans to open 850,000 jobs to outsourcing, with $85 billion in federal IT contracts to be awarded over the next three years Other Hot Businesses: Spas, organic foods, online matchmaking, senior care, wireless, tech security, and voiceover IP (VoIP). If you believe as I do that it's better to be the boss, than to have one, why not make 2004 the year you start putting your entrepreneurial plans into action? You don't have to quit your job or mortgage your home to get the ball rolling. You might resolve to do some research, start putting together a business plan, take a course on marketing, glass blowing, woodworking, web design, or whatever sparks your fancy, get certified to teach yoga, buy a book on how to launch a successful on-line business, start a Barbara Sher style Success Team? or just order a subscription to Entrepreneur. If you don't already subscribe to Entrepreneur you can do so at http://www.Entrepreneur.com. The site also features a ton of free resources for anyone who already is ? or dreams of ? working for themselves. For other free resources for people who want to start their own businesses visit http://www.ChangingCourse.com/newbiz.htm Okay, but what if you don't see a trend, market, or business here that speaks to you? Then find the one that does! I had a client who is crazy for horses and photography. It took me all of 30 seconds on Google.com to find a group called the Equine Photographers Network. In addition to their conference this February in Florida, the group offers a free public online discussion group with over 700 members who range from top-of-their-field working pros to amateur photographers to magazine editors and writers to horse owners, all interested in improving their equine photography skill and knowledge. Learn all about the Equine Photographers Network at http://www.EquinePhotographers.net. The way to find the "hottest" business idea for you is to get in touch with the passion that burns the brightest in your heart. Then make 2004 the year resolve to you take those first bold steps on behalf of your dream!
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