A True Career Change Story

I’ve been asked numerous times how I got into coaching.  Prospective career changers often ask me what I was doing before this and how I discovered what I wanted to be doing. Well, I thought it might be interesting if I shared my story so you could see how I got here… in case you were wondering!  

It was May 2001, and I had a defining moment.   

You see, up until that point, I had gone from job to job looking for a sense of fulfillment that I just could not find.  In fact I had six jobs in seven years! I had studied Operations Research & Industrial Engineering at Cornell University and was on a path to becoming a very successful business analyst (BA)/process engineer.  

The only problem was I was miserable.   I couldn’t stand my jobs. Whether I placed the blame on the work, my boss, my co-workers, the company culture, or even the city I lived in, I found myself bored and dissatisfied at each and every job. Sometimes I lasted a year and a half, other times only six weeks.  I had developed a habit of finding jobs that looked great on paper (read: they paid well!) but were not a match for who I was. I worked for financial institutions, the government, large telecommunications companies, and an international media conglomerate. It was the late 90s so switching jobs so quickly wasn’t a big deal.  Companies were thrilled to hire me. I never had a problem finding a job. My problem was finding a job I actually liked! 

Between jobs four and five I woke up. I realized that the problem was not the job, the company, the boss, or the city I was living in. The problem was me! I was not a match for the BA work I had been doing. But what could I do? I was so lost. At that point I was determined to find my passion even though a part of me thought I really didn’t have one (sound familiar?). In the meantime, I needed to keep working to pay my bills so I continued to work as a BA and tried desperately to find my passion on the side. 

It was February 2000, and I was living in Baltimore, MD at the time. I had been at a major financial institution for about six weeks when I quit. I had reached my breaking point. I was bored to tears with the job and didn’t know what else to do. It was then that I decided (with my husband’s help!) that we needed to move back to NYC. I’m originally from the Bronx and was always lamenting about not being “at home”. So I found a job working in Manhattan, rented out the house we had just bought the year before, and settled into a 1 bedroom with a backyard near Central Park. I was thrilled. Sort of. The work was much more exciting as I had gotten a job with a media company but I still wasn’t living my passion. But at least now one of my major energy drains–not being back home–was plugged and I could focus on finding my passion again.

In the Spring of 2001, things at my company got ugly. Our department went from over 100 people to about 20 or so. While I survived all the layoffs going on around me, I was bored and unfulfilled by the work. But instead of doing my normal routine of contacting recruiters, posting my resume, and applying to jobs, I looked inward. I realized for the first time that I had not had fun in quite a long time. So the first thing that came to mind was that I wanted to sign up for some fun classes like how to make jewelry, how to be a personal shopper, etc. In between these two classes, I signed up for “How to be a Life Coach.” It was that one class that brought me home. I finally found the career AND life I was looking for… I had my light bulb moment! 

I went back to my job elated! In fact I was beyond elated. It was an indescribable feeling to know what I wanted to do with my career. I remember telling friends and family and asking them to take this new interest seriously. They had heard me complain for years and throw out random ideas about work I could possibly switch to.  Well, they took me seriously because I took myself seriously. Within a month of that class I signed up for coach training, hired my own coach, and started my business coaching clients at night all while keeping my day job which I needed to pay the bills.  

I created a financial forecast to see how long I had to keep working in my current job before I could switch to being a full-time business owner. My forecast was three years. I was devastated. You might as well have told me 30 years. Three years felt like it would be an eternity. With the help of my coach though, I stopped having a temper tantrum and just plugged away: at my business, at my day job, and at my money issues. You see, the three years involved paying off over 30K worth of debt and saving money to have a buffer for my business.   

Well guess what happened… while I worked at my business part-time the debt disappeared. I was so motivated by my newly found passion that in fact we paid off our debt plus bought brand new Crate & Barrel furniture in seven months!! I remember coming home and asking my husband why I was still working at this !@#$# job. And he said, “Well, let’s see…there’s your gym membership, our rent for this pricey apartment, the dinners out…”  Ok, I got the point. I made an appointment with him (seriously, we made an appointment) to review our monthly expenses that night. When we went over everything and I eliminated things from our monthly budget that didn’t matter as much as this career change, we found we only needed two more months to finish saving our buffer! That meant I was going to be making this transition in nine months… not three years!!  WOOHOOOOOO!

In May 2002, when I was about to quit my BA job, I was happily laid off.  I have been self-employed and living my purpose ever since.  

So you see, you CAN make your career change even when you have no clue what you want and have bills up the wazoo. And what’s even better, you can eliminate the learning curve I had to overcome. How? By reading the tips in my career change ebook, 107 Tips for Changing Your Career While Still Paying the Bills. Check it out here: http://www.segaric.com/products.shtml. Isn’t your happiness worth it?  

© 2007 Segaric Coaching Inc.Annemarie Segaric is a respected career change coach, motivational speaker, and the author of the ebook, 107 Tips for Changing Your Career While Still Paying the Bills. Ready to switch careers and don’t know where to begin? Visit www.segaric.com and download your own career change toolkit today!

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Stop Feeling Bad About Not Changing Your Career Yet

Stop Feeling Bad About Not Changing Careers Yet  I once wrote down all the things I was telling myself throughout the day– the random thoughts, criticisms, concerns. It was amazing! I never realized how harsh I was to myself.I have my career change clients do the same thing. It’s clear that we beat ourselves up too much for what is not working or not right with our lives, and in this case, our jobs.If you ever had a friend speak to you the way you speak to yourself, you would have ended that friendship a long time ago.

It’s the “shoulds” that get us and we don’t even realize it.

During my monthly teleclass, How to Figure Out What You Want When You are Changing Careers I hear these “shoulds” firsthand:

“I should have figured my career out a long time ago.”“I should be happy to have a job in the first place.”“I shouldn’t do this now. I have a mortgage.”

This is all nonsense.

There is no perfect time to change careers nor a magic set of circumstances under which to do so. And no, there is no deadline for when you are supposed to have IT all worked out.

Staying busy beating yourself up for not changing careers yet is a waste of time. It’s really just another way of distracting yourself from making any sort of change in the first place. You become preoccupied with the “shoulds” leaving no time to do anything about your situation.

And guess what that leads you to… more self-criticism.

Instead of complaining about what is not right or what should be different, acknowledge your fears (yes, you are supposed to be afraid) and go ahead – take action – any action — toward a new career. At first you’ll feel uncomfortable, but I promise, you will get over it. You might actually enjoy yourself as you see yourself finally making some real progress! 

© 2007 Segaric Coaching Inc.Annemarie Segaric is a respected career change coach, motivational speaker, and the author of the ebook, 107 Tips for Changing Your Career While Still Paying the Bills. Ready to switch careers and don’t know where to begin? Visit www.segaric.com and download your own career change toolkit today!

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Changing Careers and the Older Worker

There is no age limit when it comes to a career change. But years of helping career changers has made it clear that older career changers have very specific questions and concerns about how to make the transition happen.Now if you’ve been reading my articles, you already know that I’m a big believer in the idea that you get what you focus on. So if you keep telling yourself your gray hairs are going to keep you from getting the job, they will. If you keep saying, “I’m going to be discriminated against because of all of my experience”, you will. If you keep complaining, “I can’t compete with younger workers”, you won’t be able to. Believe me, you get in life exactly what you focus on.

But I’m not naive. You may not be belaboring the age issue but still find yourself having a difficult time competing with your younger peers. The reality is that some people you speak with may have perceptions about older workers that are not favorable such as:

–being too expensive
–not being adaptable or “stuck in the mud”
–not willing to put the hours in necessary to get the job done
–unable to work for younger counterparts
–not being aggressive enough to grow the business

So what do you do?

Well, I’ll tell you what you don’t do. You don’t fold under the pressure and assume you have no chance of getting the job.

Instead, you use every available opportunity you have – the informal conversations at networking events/career fairs/cocktail parties, your cover letter, your resume, the interview, the follow up thank you e-mails – to be clear about the assets you actually bring to the table. These assets can include things like your dedication, your vast professional and personal experience, your commitment to getting the job done, your skills at learning new technologies and implementing them, etc. You don’t have to go overboard or be defensive. You do have to have ways to overcome these preconceived ideas that may come disguised in comments made or questions asked (like, “How have you dealt with crisis in your previous jobs?”). The way you overcome these perceptions about you is to have solid examples proving the opposite of them.

AARP performed a survey and found that seven out of ten workers over the age of 45 planned on working during their retirement years. Companies realize this and see that the face of corporate America is ever changing. That being said, companies want employees with solid work experience, maturity to get the job done, and the knowledge, skills, and personality traits that will help the organization grow.

It’s now your turn to explicitly show them how you are this fantastic would-be employee and then some!

© 2007 Segaric Coaching Inc.Annemarie Segaric is a respected career change coach, motivational speaker, and the author of the ebook, 107 Tips for Changing Your Career While Still Paying the Bills. Ready to switch careers and don’t know where to begin? Visit www.segaric.com and download your own career change toolkit today.

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Resources for the Older Career Changer

I’ll soon be posting my recent article, Changing Careers and the Older Worker. In the meantime, I wanted to share some resources on this topic I thought you’d find helpful:

Richard Fein is the author of a number of career change/job advice books. This one for the baby boomer crowd is very good.

The Baby Boomer’s Guide to the New Workplace by Richard Fein

Article you may find interesting:

http://your-dream-career.com/career-change-over-50.html

And another article referencing Richard Fein, “Greener Pastures– Baby boomers redefine retirement

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Resources for Career Changers

I want to share with you some great resources I’ve found.

If you’re finances are out of whack, it’s really difficult to make a career change.  Galia Gichon can get you back on track…
“HOW TO DO A FINANCIAL CHECKUP IN 45 MINUTES”.
FR-EE TELECLASS
Tues, Sept 18, 2007, 3-4pm EST.
Register by sending an e-mail to galia@downtoearthfinance.com

This class is for women who want a quick and easy financial checkup, from an Independent Financial Expert. You will get realistic tips and practical guidance to get you started right away!

FOR MORE INFO: http://www.downtoearthfinance.com/events/
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The Brazen Careerist

Penelope Trunk, career columnist for the Boston Globe and Yahoo Finance, and author of Brazen Careerist The New Rules for Success, has a terrific career blog, http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/. She writes candidly about her own life and covers topics related to the intersection of life and job. I highly recommend you check it out!

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amNew York article: Learning from a beauty queen’s YouTube flub

I had the pleasure of speaking with Nicole Zerillo of amNew York about what we can learn from Miss Teen South Carolina’s response during the recent interview portion of the Miss Teen USA contest when it comes to interviewing. Read her article here.

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Are You Making This Career Change Mistake?

Have you thought you would be someplace else by now other than in your current job?You’re not alone. I’ve worked with plenty of clients who felt the same way. I can even relate personally to you. I’ve been there.

Every single time I’ve encountered someone not doing what they wanted to be doing after constant trying–whether it is job related or not–it’s because they haven’t made the decision to do it.

Are you doing more hoping and wishing than deciding and doing?

You probably have set some career change goals such as:
“I’ll look for a new job in September, after the summer is over.”
“I’ll work on my career change but I need to lose 10lbs first.”
“I can’t focus when I’m distracted. I’ll get my resume to that headhunter after this load of laundry.”
“I’ll sign up for that meeting after this project ends at work…it’s a really busy time.”
“I’ll be out of here by the end of the year.”

The thing is, if you haven’t followed through on any of the promises you’ve made to yourself, you probably deep down never decided to do them in the first place.

A decision is that internal commitment you make to yourself…the shift you feel within you that says, “I’m going to make this happen no matter what!” A goal is a milestone you set, a target to aim at. They are both very important but setting goals without a decision is setting yourself up to fail.

Why do you avoid making a decision?

Fear and false perceptions are the main culprits.

You want to leave your current job but believe you’ll never find good people to work with. Or maybe it’s that you can’t figure out what exactly you want, but believe you can’t take action unless you have all of the answers. Others of you might be telling yourselves that you’ll have to take a huge pay cut and you won’t be able to survive.

You don’t really know if any of these are true. You’re just assuming they are and therefore not making that full blown commitment to your desires. *(oh, and by the way, they’re not true.)

Instead of spinning your wheels with more goals with different dates, figure out what perceived obstacle is in your way of achievement.

Call to Action

Why haven’t you really made the decision to change careers or jobs and move on to something better for you?

What decision are you ready to make now?

Be upfront with how you see things and then make a decision that you will make your career change goals happen no matter what. Don’t they deserve a fighting chance?

 © 2007 Segaric Coaching Inc.Annemarie Segaric is a respected career change coach, motivational speaker, and the author of the ebook, 107 Tips for Changing Your Career While Still Paying the Bills. Ready to switch careers and don’t know where to begin? Visit www.segaric.com and download your own career change toolkit today.

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