Some surveys and studies have estimated that the average professional can expect 7-12 different jobs and employers over their lifetime. This makes sense, as employees seek to improve their opportunities for advancement and grow their experience, through a variety of work environments and roles.
When it comes to changing careers however, the average professional can anticipate at least two, per some experts. Other circumstances may impact career trajectory and choices, including family needs, health and wellness, and changes to the local labor market. Some jobs may be replaced by AI or technology, while other new careers open in response to global business needs.
Read: “How Many Careers Do You Get In A Lifetime” by Steve Denning, for Forbes Magazine.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Career Change
- Employees have pride in the level of experience and expertise they have acquired in a certain role, or industry. So much of our personal identity stems from what we do in our career; it becomes part of who we are as individuals. Changing and transitioning into a new career can be a difficult process, and one that can contribute to feelings of insecurity, uncertainty and stress.
- The most successful examples of career changes (at any age) are not abrupt, but rather a smooth and slow segue into a new industry or function. How many professionals manage the transition is to consult part-time, or on the side, or volunteer as an intern to learn the industry from the inside out.
- Formal retraining is another aspect of career transition that needs to be planned accordingly. If your new career path requires certifications, or membership in certain associations, this needs to be part of the strategic plan. Costs, membership and training fees should be factored, and scheduled.
- Plan for a salary drop. Naturally, as you are moving into a new sector where you may have little to no experience, professionals can anticipate a slight to significant (but temporary) salary drop. You are building from the bottom up, and salary is commensurate with experience; you may need to budget for the income variance.
TED Talks for Career Transition
We picked three, exceptional career lectures from TED Talks, that both inspire professionals who are leaping into a career transition, and provide valuable professional tips to execute a successful new career. We hope you enjoy them.
“Scott Dinsmore's mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently. His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework - three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control.”
“Ashley Stahl is an award-winning advocate for women in security, named in 2013 by the Diplomatic Courier magazine and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy as a "Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leader." Ashley currently runs her own business as a career coach to college students and fresh graduates seeking to unlock their career goals and land the jobs that they deserve. She also contributes to Forbes on issues of national security and serves as Manager of the Enterprise Risk Management Center at Control Risks, a global political risk consultancy. In this position, Ashley leads a team of intelligence analysts who advise a Fortune 100 client on how to protect its personnel and assets from security threats in hostile environments around the world. Previously, Ashley was the Operations Lead for the Pentagon's Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) training program, which prepares senior Department of Defense officials for their deployments to Afghanistan, where they would serve as advisors to foreign counterparts in the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior.”
"Joseph Liu is a Career Change & Personal Branding Strategist, Speaker, and Founder, where he shares resources to help professionals gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through 3 major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands. His unique approach is informed by his involvement managing 4 major consumer brand relaunches and 10 years of international brand management & marketing experience at Global Fortune 500 and start-up companies in the US & UK along with hundreds of hours coaching people navigating career changes. His mission is to help people make the brave leaps necessary to create positive changes in their careers."