Mid Career Change

A mid career change my be necessary when your career no long fits your needs. These stories describe how several people made a mid career change when their old job was no longer a good fit for their current needs.

My Career Change from Bartending to Management
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

I spent many years skipping from job to job, content with taking whatever bartending or serving job gave me the most money and best schedule. But I, along with my life, was bound to eventually change.

When I met my husband, I realized how much of life I was missing out on by working so many long, late nights in the bar. The money was great, and it suited my personality wonderfully, but suddenly I wanted to be available on the weekends. I had a reason to have spare time.

About five months after our wedding, the stress of opposite schedules and a lack of time together was getting to be too stressful for both of us. Add to that that I was getting burnt out. I knew I couldn't work in the bar scene for much longer without hating what I did. It was time for a change.

A long successful and wonderful nonprofit company was expanding into my area. While I have had experience in both retail and nonprofit before, my strengths lie in the service industry. I decided to take a chance anyways. The company worked for a mission I believe in wholeheartedly, and I knew that I could sell myself if I got the face to face interview.

It has been just over a year now, and I am going nowhere but UP in this company. I am in management, I do something good and rewarding with my day. It took a lot of changes in my lifestyle and, more importantly, in myself. I developed the attitude of I want to succeed. And keeping that in mind, and remembering that I never have to settle for a job that pays has enabled me to have a rewarding career that has a shining future. Barring any disasters, I will work my way up in this company for a long time, while knowing that what I do every day makes a difference in other people's lives.

And I get to see my husband a lot more often, which makes everything that much better.

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A daunting career change - but it worked!

by Sharon

I made a career change in late 2007. I worked in museums as a result of my degree, and although I liked the work it was very poorly paid, there was no prospect for promotion, and the work was insecure; every time my contract was renewed, it got shorter until I was only offered my job on a month by month basis depending on whether they could pay me for the month ahead.

It was very unsettling to work in these circumstances and it took most of the pleasure out of my job. Other museum work was hard to get and similarly insecure and poorly paid, so I thought I would look for something else instead.

A career in higher education seemed the obvious answer to using my skills, given I had loads of experience as a student and doing part-time work for my university in admin and library roles. I started hunting for higher education jobs online on specialist websites, and fortunately it wasn't long before I started getting interviews.

The job I was eventually offered meant relocating, but paid 40% more than my museum job and was permanent! I am much more settled in my new job, and I have been given all sorts of opportunities I would never otherwise have had.

Making a career change was worth the effort of moving.

I would suggest that anyone thinking of changing career should first start thinking about other roles where they could use some or all of their current skills and knowledge - it will help you to apply and be less intimidating than trying to work in a completely new area.

Adapt your new CV to reflect this new approach, as you may need to flag up different things to the CV you used when applying for your current career. Good luck!

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Career Change from Engineering to Technical Writing

by Tamara Wilhite
(Fort Worth, TX)

I had worked as a process engineer for about five years. It paid well, but that was partially due to the hours beyond 9-5, the evening calls for advice when something went wrong, and stress to keep the production areas going. After all, supporting the process was my job. Ordering parts, verifying chemical inventory, that was the mundane part. Figuring out how to fix complex assemblies for minimum cost - and doing so while having the backlog of work grow while we waited, only added to the challenge. I also wrote our reports, assembly manuals, and software how to guides.

I had a bouncing baby girl. Beautiful, but with a moderate health problem. I went back to work after maternity leave since the medical benefits were through me. However, the increasing number of doctor visits for my daughter used up all my vacation time.

After leading a software implementation project that automated many of the tasks I did, I found that I wasn't needed as much. There had been three process engineers, and the labor savings was now such that they only needed 2.

I was allowed to stay until the end of our current contract, buying some time. I filled in where needed, and that was increasingly answering questions on our new software. One day, I ended up on the phone with our technical support staff. "Are you are following our how to fix your password?"

I ended up arguing why their "how to fix your password" troubleshooting guide was wrong, and detailed out what it should have said. "If you think you can do better, go for it."

A few hours later, I e-mailed back a rewritten user solution, that was also written in layperson, not programmer, terms.

My supervisor asked me why I did that. "The software is inhibiting productivity. I get these questions all the time. And the production people ask me questions because they can't understand the instructions or talk to the help desk."

My boss said, "I think that is that department's job."

"Then maybe I'm in the wrong department."

A couple of days later, I interviewed in the software support department. I was transferred to the software support department, to rewrite all of their software solutions, user guides, and training documents.

It also happened to be a flexible schedule position and available to be part time.

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