Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

"Stuck in a rut? How to navigate a career change"

Aug. 29, 2016 "Stuck in a rut?  How to navigate a career change": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail.  It had some good tips and an interesting comment on it:


In 2002, Steve Preston hit a career crossroads when the British travel company for which he was a senior manager said it was planning to move him from London to Manchester in the country’s north.

He didn’t like the fact his employer was uprooting his family and telling him where to live. So he decided to seek a buyout package, even though he had no idea what he would do next.

These days, calling himself the Career Catalyst, he has built a successful coaching practice based on helping people in a similar situation – individuals who have hit a career crossroads and don’t know what to do next.

“So many people are at a career crossroads and don’t realize it,” he said in an interview.
People get frustrated. Their negative feelings toward their careers spill over into other areas of their lives. 

Or they feel stuck in a rut, unfulfilled, not reaching their full potential. They feel lost, not sure where their career is heading. Or they are returning to work after a career break or being declared redundant and searching for a new path. Perhaps they want to work for themselves.

“Those are classic career crossroads but only a small percentage of people do anything about it. It’s easier to stay in your comfort zone, have a good moan about it and hope everything will get better. But it’s like a pressure cooker or volcano and will blow up,” he said.

He says research suggests one in two people are in the wrong job – square pegs in round holes.

Two-thirds of people feel unfulfilled. They cling to the present rather than letting go to find a new future.

Letting go is crucial. His recent book Winning Through Career Change sets out a six-stage career navigation cycle that is a fairly typical planning and implementation scheme, but a lot of critical time is spent on the first step – let go and look forward.

You can be clinging to the job even if it’s bad – it is a job, after all, and the money feels crucial to your existence, not easily replaced.

Some people may not like many aspects of the job but feel tied to their colleagues and are not willing to let go of those fond relationships.

He responds by telling them those colleagues can be kept as friends without the trappings of the job.

Similarly, you have to consider what is restraining you from dealing with the unsatisfactory aspects of your job.

“People see changing jobs as a threat, not an opportunity,” he noted in the interview.

And while in this digital age, many people are constructing alternatives for themselves as freelancers and consultants, he stresses that you can also change your job within your own company, opening up new vistas, if your bosses are willing.

Any of those possibilities can be scary.

“It takes courage. For some people, it takes monumental courage,” he said.

It depends on your financial situation and, more broadly, your family and life situation. It used to be older people, as they became empty nesters, were willing to take this risk.

These days he sees younger folk willing to adopt career change and “portfolio careers,” patching bits of different jobs together.

Spend time understanding your values. 

Do you prefer to work in a large company or small – or be your own boss? 

Career before family, or vice versa?

 How much money do you need to be happy?

One of his favourite catchphrases is: “In order to change, you must change.”

Just thinking about your situation or hoping for a better situation won’t cut it. You must act. That may be easier if you hew to another catchphrase: Taking a “voyage of self-discovery.”

You have many strengths that will help you in that voyage. “Take the leap of faith and do what you love. Why, day in and day out, do what you don’t love?” he asks.

But he admits it’s not an easy voyage. It’s not as if the wind will always be behind you and all you must do is raise your sails and you will be blown to a beautiful, promised land.

Indeed, the metaphor he uses is of a roller coaster ride, with its ups and downs, twists and turns, tummy upsets and moments of terror.

But don’t let that hold you back if you’re at a career crossroads.

“People often worry, ‘What happens if the change doesn’t work?’ Often they can’t imagine how good it will be,” he says.


duali 1 day ago
Above all, don't make changes because other people are very keen for you to make them. Anyone who is overinvested in what someone else does is either involved in sabotage of taking advantage of someone. I have seen this a number of times.
duali 1 day ago
Above all, don't make changes because other people are very keen for you to make them. Anyone who is overinvested in what someone else does is either involved in sabotage of taking advantage of someone. I have seen this a number of times.
duali 1 day ago
Above all, don't make changes because other people are very keen for you to make them. Anyone who is overinvested in what someone else does is either involved in sabotage of taking advantage of someone. I have seen this a number of times.
duali 1 day ago
Above all, don't make changes because other people are very keen for you to make them. Anyone who is overinvested in what someone else does is either involved in sabotage of taking advantage of someone. I have seen this a number of times.

duali 1 day ago

Above all, don't make changes because other people are very keen for you to make them. Anyone who is overinvested in what someone else does is either involved in sabotage of taking advantage of someone. I have seen this a number of times.

My opinion: That's a good tip from duali.  However, that kind of reminds me of the time I used to work at Call Centre #2 in 2006.  I disliked working there after a few months.

 I still had to work 2 more months before I can quit to go to school full-time.  I was telling my co-workers about Call Centre #3 and that they paid like $10/hr?  At Call Centre #2, they paid $9.50/hr.

I don't think anyone quit to work at Call Centre #3.  It wasn't until 2008, I found out Call Centre #2 closed down. 

Oct. 14, 2016: I was trying to get people to quit Call Centre #2 so it would close down, and then I don't have to quit.  I can then get laid off.  It was a stupid and ineffective way to close down a business.

 I ended up working for 2 more months and then I quit so I could go to school.  I worked at Call Centre #2 for 5 months.


Nov. 18, 2016 "How to design a midlife career change": Today I found this article by Dave McGinn in the Globe and Mail.  It's for anyone who is looking for a career change:

By middle age, you’ve been punching a clock long enough to know what work you love – and what jobs you’d do anything to avoid. Maybe one has morphed into the other, and the work you once enjoyed just doesn’t do it for you any more.

That’s not the bind it used to be: While earlier generations may have held only a few jobs over their lives, a Workopolis report from 2014 found that Canadians can expect to hold 15 jobs in their lifetimes. Change is the new normal.

Some people embrace it – 59 per cent of adults and 73 per cent of professionals in their 30s in the United States are interested in a career change, according to a 2015 survey out of the University of Phoenix School of Business.

The prospect of beginning anew can be daunting, but two former Apple employees want to help. Since 2010, Dave Evans, who led the design of Apple’s first mouse, and Bill Burnett, a former program manager at the tech giant, have taught a Stanford University class called Designing Your Life. 

Their main argument is that the path to happiness isn’t the old hippie adage to “follow your bliss,” but instead to “think like a designer” – learning to see problems from new angles, then testing out solutions collaboratively.

It has become one of the most popular classes at the school, so popular that droves of middle-aged men and women have sought out Burnett and Evans for career advice.

There are still many doubters. “A lot of people have this dysfunctional belief that ‘Oh, wait a minute. I’m 40, it’s too late. I can’t change. I’ve got the house, I’ve got the kids, I’ve got the mortgage. Even if I want to change, I can’t,’ ” Burnett says.

Evans says it’s wrong to think their design-based solutions apply only to new graduates.

“It’s really for anybody who thinks the rest of their life is important to them and they haven’t got it all figured out yet,” Evans says. “That turns out to be just about everybody.”

The two put have put their philosophy into a new book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. Much of it concerns career satisfaction – for all ages. The key is following three core principles.

Reframe

Some people may begin by daydreaming about their ideal job, singular. Instead, Burnett and Evans say, try coming up with three different “Odyssey plans” of what your life could look like over the next five years – a time frame that’s long enough to make significant accomplishments but not so long that the commitment becomes too daunting. 

“Designers never come up with one right answer,” Evans says. “They come up with lots of ideas.”

Each plan should reflect a different journey for your life. The first should be centred on something already in mind, whether it’s advancing in your current job or pursuing the dream you’ve always had. 

The second plan is whatever you would do if the first plan was gone – if you had to make a living without that first option, what would you do?

Melanie Jantzie of Calgary found her career in technology sales was too stressful and not giving her enough time at home with her two children.

“I thought, let’s figure something out that I can do that is fulfilling to me and that I enjoy and that I’ll be challenged by but also allows me to be on point for the home,” she says.

Jantzie didn’t know exactly what else she might enjoy, so she enrolled in a financial planning course, largely because she found the subject interesting.

“It was something that I had always done in the house anyways, and I had a business degree,” she says. “If I hated it, it was still going to be good knowledge for me to have personally.” That was six years ago. She has been a financial planner ever since.

For your third “Odyssey plan,” go for it – whatever it is you would do if money or your personal image were no object.

Evans offers one caveat: Once you make a final decision on a new career, commitment is essential. “When you make a choice, if you want that choice to work, you actually have to let go of the options you didn’t choose,” he says.

Prototype

In the design world, “prototyping” means building models to help understand a problem. 

When Burnett and Evans recommend a “prototype conversation,” what they really mean is network.

“Find somebody who is doing the thing you think might be interesting and before you commit yourself to doing it, talk to them,” Burnett says, adding that you should aim to have at least half a dozen of these kinds of talks.

That resonates for Susan Hess, who found herself trying to re-enter the work force at the age of 47 in 2014, after 14 years spent raising her family full-time. Her dusty résumé as a call centre manager hardly had phones ringing off the hook. Even worse were the words of a recruiter.

“They basically said I would have to start from the bottom again,” recalls Hess, who lives in Toronto.

Yet in a way, the news was liberating: Since she had to start from scratch, Hess decided to choose something she would love. She had imagined being a nurse since she was a child, and she had nurses in her ex-husband’s family, so she was familiar with the profession.

But that wasn’t the end of her research. One day, she overheard a woman at Starbucks talking about finding jobs for nurses. “I kind of nosed my way into it,” Hess recalls. A long conversation about going back to school to become a nurse ensued and this year, she will complete a diploma in nursing.

Her advice to those making a midlife career choice? “You need to have some tenacity and some courage,” she says.

Get moving

“A great way to get stuck is to think about it,” Evans says. He and Burnett advocate adopting a “bias to action,” designer-speak for prioritizing acting on a problem rather than simply pondering it.

Like most design processes, it needs to be incremental. Small steps could include volunteering for an organization in an interesting field, attending relevant conferences or shadowing someone in your desired profession, the authors say.

Often, those small steps can completely change a person’s mind. “We have students who want to be doctors and they go and shadow a doctor and they come back and go, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor. That’s nothing like what I thought it was,’ ” Evans says.

Bias to action helps to solve the problem most common to people who are considering changing careers: fear.

“There’s a real fear of failure, a fear of the unknown,” says Dianne Hunnam-Jones, a district president at recruitment firm Robert Half.

“They’re worried that they are going to be the partner who is dragging their feet. And [they worry], ‘Is it going to be that much different than what I’m in now? Am I just an unhappy person or is it anything to do with my job?’ ”

Many of the people Burnett and Evans see fret so much about change that they never actually begin to take whatever small steps might lead to not only a better job but a better life. “It’s just the fear of getting started,” Evans says.


My opinion: I like both articles.  I already know and do some of them already.

1. Volunteer.
2. Do a job shadow.
3. Do an information interview.
4. Research college programs and jobs in the internet- I do that a lot.


ForsterBarry 4 days ago
I made a career change at 40 years of age.

I ain't wearing his usual grey business suit
I got jeans and high boots
With an embroidered star
And today I'm forty years old going on twenty
Don't look for the grey in my hair
'Cause I ain't got any
I got a young thing beside me
That just melts in my hand
I am middle aged crazy
Trying to prove I still can


My week: 

Fri. Jul. 20, 2018: Today at work was busy.
Sat. Jul. 21, 2018: Busy.
Sun. Jul. 22, 2018: Busy.

Mon. Jul. 23, 2018: I actually worked at night at the restaurant.  I worked at 4pm-9pm.  It was actually steady.

Tues. Jul. 24, 2018: I did an interview in the morning.  I got off at this stop and walked 10min.   Then I see the building across the way.  I then walked another 10 min. back.  The interview was working with phones.  It was a good interview.

I then took the bus and did an interview in the afternoon.  The interview was for a phone sales rep.  It turns out it's like 3 hrs a day for 3 days of training.  It's 100% commission on the training.  You can get on the phones if you feel confident and try to make a sale.

After the 3rd day, then you get paid $15/hr base pay.

Humans: Today is my only day off so I watched the 2 episode season 3 finale.  It's a very good show with good acting and writing.

Wed. Jul. 25, 2018: Today I worked at my 2nd restaurant job.  The other day my boss M had called me.  (This is the place I worked from 2015 to early 2017).  She calls me occasionally for help.

I will be working for her tomorrow too.  After that, I will be working at my 1st restaurant job for the next 2 nights.

K-days: It looks like I won't be going to it this year since I'm working so much.  That's fine.  I'm kind of ambivalent about going there.  It's fun, but it's $20 for an adult to go in.  If you pay this much to go in, you have to be there for hours so you can see everything.

Jul. 26, 2018 Rockport: This store closed down at WEM this week.  I don't usually walk by that shoe store.  They said you can buy their shoes on their website and Hudson's Bay.  I did post this on Facebook the day before it closed.

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