Monday, July 5, 2010

Career Changes & Semantics

I was talking to a coworker the other day and he remarked that he wants a career change.  His level of management is higher than mine, but ultimately we do similar jobs.  We are mid level managers in corporate America.  I asked him what he wants to do.  He said he'd like to be a general manager of a Gym.  I asked him why and he said it's an environment that would be more fulfilling to him.  Sure fine, not my cup of tea but it got me thinking.  That's not really a career change.  It is a different venue, but he'd be doing the same crap.  Managing employees while ensuring quality product is being provided with a healthy profit.  I'll give him that our specific industry is Travel and Personal Fitness is a change, but that's the extent.  He'd still be working for someone else and managing others. 

Career change in my mind involves an entirely different role.  You know Doctor/Nurse, Artist, Motivational Speaker, Teachers, Writer, Sales Person, Manager, Truck Driver, Small Business Owner, Electrician, Construction Worker, Tech Support, Chemist, Petroleum Engineer, Politician, Accountant, Lawyer, Geologist, Actor.  Those are all different careers from one another. 

I'm not saying the change wouldn't be good for the psyche.  It just isn't really a change change. More like a displacement.  Am I off base here?

I guess that's what middle aged people consider a career change.  I remember one of my interviews for this job.  I was leaving a sales position with a giant computer manufacturer and going into a district management role.   The gentleman I interviewed with asked about my "career change "and how I was going to handle the transition.  I told him that my past experience of restaurant management was going to tie in directly with this design.  That the account manager (corporate sales) position I was leaving would never amount to anything beyond a sales job.  I was looking to actually use the skills I know I can excel at and actually motivate people to perform at their best.  He stopped me and said, "no, I mean computers are very different from car rental.  How are you going to adapt your prior knowledge to our industry." I told him that the product didn't matter.  I'd be dealing with the people who sell it, not the merchandise itself.  I can learn this industry just like I did the computers.  I wasn't an expert before taking the last job.  He said "it is still a concern that you are coming in with no industry experience."  Pea Brain.  Obviously I got the job despite his reservations.  I've done pretty well too.

I wish my coworker the best and in no way diminish the desire for change and relief, but I just think it is short sighted as to what he actually hates wants to change about the job.  He really just wants to work with people who are good looking and fit and not actually have to work be free of responsibility.  I'd recommend he open a strip club but his wife would kill me for the thought.  It really would be the epitome of perfection for this guy though. 

I've been considering becoming a teacher for the past year or so.  I'm just worried about going back to school and still supporting my family...especially on a teacher's salary.  I need to make this decision before I get too old to do anything about it.  That is a career change.  That is a life change.  That is terrifying yet exciting.  Here's to finding the best path for yourself and those you drag along with you!

1 comment:

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