Changing Careers

Interested in changing careers? It can be difficult to do, but so worth it if you're not enjoying your current career. Below are all of our posts on changing careers -- some of our greatest hits include

Have another question you don't see addressed below? Please send Kat a question. Thanks for reading!

The Pros and Cons of Changing Careers

The Pros and Cons of Changing Careers | CorporetteWhat are the pros and cons of changing careers? While the answer will be unique to every individual, this should make for an interesting discussion. Reader N is wondering specifically about the pros and cons from the perspective of hindsight:

You’ve written about women that have changed careers, including yourself. From what I recall, these features were mostly on HOW to accomplish the change. Can you include a post from others you’ve spoken to about what they find most painful about it, AFTER making the change? Like one year after, five years after, etc.

I’m making some major career changes right now, and I am always wanting to know honestly what people found bad about their changes. Maybe it could be also have a “good” section so it’s not so gloomy, but I am curious as to the negatives (salary reductions, work drying up, others?)

I have written about my own tips for changing careers and jobs — I was a journalist for 2 seconds back in the late ’90s, then a law student/lawyer for 11 years, and I’ve been a full-time blogger since 2011.  (We’ve also talked about how to change careers, how to specifically use LinkedIn to change careers, as well was the pros and cons of leaving corporate life.)  I’ll share my own tips, but for other career changers, here are the questions (maybe copy and paste ’em into the comment section): [Read more…]

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It?

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It? | CorporetteDo you guys volunteer? Do you do it at a high level (board member or committee level)? How did you get started doing it — were you interested in the organization, did you purposely do it for networking, or did you somehow fall into it? We’ve talked about this in the context of making new friends, as well as pondering what professional organizations you should join and polling how much everyone gives to charity — but we haven’t really talked about volunteering.

I’m way under the weather today, so I’ve been lying in bed catching up on reading, watching TED, and playing Candy Crush. (I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a sick day!)  One of the articles I’m trying to catch up on (if the NYT didn’t have a huge banner ad that pops up right in the middle of the text) is the recent one about how “the opt out generation wants back in.” Anyway, I was particularly interested to hear about the role that volunteering played in returns to work:

Among the women I spoke with, those who didn’t have the highest academic credentials or highest-powered social networks or who hadn’t been sufficiently “strategic” in their volunteering (fund-raising for a Manhattan private school could be a nice segue back into banking; running bake sales for the suburban swim team tended not to be a career-enhancer) or who had divorced, often struggled greatly.

So, ladies — are you strategic in your volunteering?   How much time do you devote to volunteering?

(Pictured: Fundraising in the dictionary, originally uploaded to Flickr by HowardLake.)


How to Secretly Use LinkedIn to Change Careers

how to secretly use LinkedIn to change careers2018 Update: We still stand by this advice on how to secretly use LinkedIn to change careers — but you may also want to check out our latest discussion on LinkedIn, including how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile in 2018. Check out our other advice on changing careers!

How do you use LinkedIn to get a new job — without alerting your coworkers or boss that you’ve got one foot out the door? Reader B has a GREAT question:

I am nearly six years into my first job, which is in commercial insurance. I want to transition out of this industry and thought augmenting my LinkedIn profile would be helpful (to show up in search results, connect to new contacts, etc.). HOWEVER, my entire work history and a good proportion of my contacts skew insurance. Since my current co-workers can view my profile (through second and tertiary contacts – I am not directly linked to any of them at present), I don’t want to raise any red flags at my office. Any suggestions?

Excellent question! I’ll be 100% honest here: whenever I get a little LinkedIn activity notification that someone has updated their experience, I wonder whether they’re starting to look around for a new job. I suppose it’s a bit like wearing a suit — if you never, ever wear a suit to the office and then one day, you do, everyone starts to wonder whether you’ve had an interview that day. But if you’re savvy about your LinkedIn usage, though, you can get around that. (Pictured: Secret, originally uploaded to Flickr by val.pearl.)

I think there are two phases to using LinkedIn to change careers. The first phase is the research phase, when you want to discreetly look at other people’s profiles, see what connections you might have, and join a lot of new groups in your target industry to get an idea for the conversations happening within the industry. [Read more…]

Help from the Adjunct: Networking to Find a Job

Einstein's blackboard, originally uploaded to Flickr by rich_w.Reader L wonders if she can ask her adjunct professor for help finding a job:

I have an etiquette question for you. I am a third year law student looking for a job after graduation, preferably at a small firm or a nonprofit. One of my classes is taught by an adjunct professor who practices in the field I want to work in. What is the etiquette behind approaching him to see if he knows people who might be hiring? Thanks for any advice.

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here. Here’s my take:

Can you ask him if he knows of any open positions? Absolutely; there’s nothing inappropriate about that question. But let me warn you… here’s how that conversation is going to go: “Do you know of anyone who’s hiring right now?” Adjunct professor, thinking briefly of any jobs he’s heard of that day or week: “Nope. Sorry!” He won’t be offended, but you’re not likely to get much out of the exchange.  (Pictured: Einstein’s blackboard, originally uploaded to Flickr by rich_w.)

So here’s what you actually want to do: network with your professor. [Read more…]

Salary or Title: Which is More Important?

Up! originally uploaded to Flickr by Peter π2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion on whether salary or title is more important — but you may also want to check out our latest discussions on salary negotiation tips.

Which is more important — your salary or your title? Reader D wonders…

I would love to see a post on the relative merits of pursing a higher title or more compensation. Would readers be willing to be paid less (or the same amount) for a title bump? Or, would they demand that any title bump come with an increase in pay? Is title more important than money? Or, is money more important than title?

Interesting question. My first reaction was “money — duh” but I suppose there are situations where a title would be more important than money. We’ve talked before about how job hopping isn’t the best idea, but in some professions (for example, magazines), historically, the way to get through all the bottom-rung positions (editorial assistant, assistant editor, junior editor, etc.) was to change jobs as frequently as possible. The salary bumps were miniscule, and the job title was, generally, ceremonial — a junior editor still had to sort reader mail as much as an editorial assistant — but they helped you advance to the real editing much more quickly. So I suppose, in today’s environment — where more and more industries are taking the Hollywood “Harvard grads start in the mailroom” approach to hiring, and where people often take internship after internship because real jobs are scarce — well, maybe I would take the title over the money. (Pictured: Up! originally uploaded to Flickr by Peter π.)

[Read more…]

Tales from the Wallet: From A Lawyer’s Salary to Paying Tuition – Six Ways to Deal

Ah, golden handcuffs — long after some people know they should quit their high-paying jobs, they stay on because their lifestyle costs too much (usually due to a combination of rent or mortgage, plus debt).  How do you break free from the golden handcuffs, and adjust your finances to your new lifestyle?  Today’s guest poster, Ruth Moore, has some tips for just that. (Pictured below: Pochi coin purses, available at Kitson for $12 each.)

A couple of years ago, I quit my job as a litigation associate at a large law firm in midtown Manhattan in order to attend a conservatory of theatre arts (acting school) full-time. I’d always wanted to do something creative and watching TV had made me think that law was the perfect choice for me. By the time I found out that I didn’t really want to be a lawyer, just an actor that played one on TV, I was already living in an expensive high-rise rental in Manhattan and encumbered with a hefty debt from student loans. Fortunately, after five years of accidental lawyering, I was able to save up enough money to quit and pursue my dreams. [Read more…]

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