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Ask the Career Counseling Expert: How Do I Change Careers?

I’m 36 and have been running my own sales consultancy for 12 years. I HATE IT!!!! I want a new career but have no clue what to do: I have no real interests or passions, but desperately want a steady paycheck again. I’m at my wits’ end. Help!

It probably won’t make you feel any better, but you are not alone. Many people, in business for over a decade, become frustrated. But the frustration is not necessarily with the work but with the business. You probably still love sales, you just hate what it takes to run a business.

The key to career change is networking. You have to find people who, after they get to know you, will be willing to recommend you to persons they know who are looking to hire.

I suggest that you seek “shadowing” opportunities. When you decide on what you want, meet with people who currently are in that profession. When you have established a relationship with them, ask them if you can follow them around for a day, shadow them, to see what it is they actually do. Explain that you want to have a realistic appreciation for the job before you pursue it.

And volunteer. Don’t ignore non-profits. Find one with a mission about which you care and do what you can to help them. Serve on at least one committee where your talents will be exploited. It’s almost a certainty that the other members of that committee will be in a position to help you with your career change. And that may lead to the rekindling of your love of sales.

As with everything else, it comes down to networking. Put differently, it’s still true today — it’s not what you know that counts, but who you know!

If you have any questions you would like answered, send them to Bruce Hurwitz at Anonymity is guaranteed.

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