Sunday, November 3, 2013

Career & Life 2.0: Take a Career for a Test Drive – and see how it feels “on the road” …

“A mistake is not something to be determined after the fact, but in the light of the information until that point”  - ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Over and over again, I hear “…. And I daydream about doing x,y or z and it consumes my mind but I don’t know if x,y,z is right for me … what do I do”?

In theory, most think a career or even a job change is an absolute forever deal. It is not. People are changing careers 2 to 5 times in their working lifetime and most are only staying with a company from 1.5 to 3 years. That is it. Moving on is not forever; it is a passage in career time.
However, caution is prudent. In my practice, I talk with clients about changes in career and we evaluate specific options aligned to their life skills, personality, aptitude, temperament and of course, reality. We talk about the idea of one being in their own business – or not – if it doesn’t “fit”. 

But then it is time to make a decision (what I refer to as Commit) and take action (Give Yourself Permission). And that takes research and vetting. I just read an excellent article by Jacob Morgan, a contributor to Forbes ( as well as The Muze ( In this article, Jacob recommended 5 Ways to Test-Drive a New Career which I have found so valuable in working with clients who are ready – aimed - and hesitate to take the leap. 

Morgan wrote, “Stuck in a cube, dreaming of freelance writing from a distant exotic island? Coming up with yet another PowerPoint deck, while desperately wishing you could devote your life to something that means more to you than someone else’s deliverables for someone else’s clients? I’ve been there, too. And I can tell you that it probably means you should consider pursuing another career path. That said, it’s hard to know whether the new job you have your eye on will be a better fit for you than the one you’re in. The “grass is always greener,” after all, and it’s easy to romanticize new avenues, thinking that moments of hair-tearing, heart-pounding frustration are exclusive to your current position”.

The article continued with five ways to test drive a career which I have summarized:  

1. Read and Write – Or in other words, do your research. With technology, there is a world of information at your fingertips and browser. Study up on a career or job, discover the good and the bad. Be open-minded. 

 2. Commit to the Hard-Core Informational Interview – After you complete your research and you are not ready to run the other way with your hair on fire, reach out and talk to someone who will be honest with you and is engaged in the same career. Ask what is good – and ask why people fail in this particular job or career – and be accepting of the answers. 

3. Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Careers – Try to shadow someone performing the same work. Find a person who will allow you to shadow them for a day and experience firsthand what is it like to work in this career. It is a shame not everyone could do this – would certainly weed out those not right for a job or career, and reduce turnover.

4. Freelance – One great way: do freelance work in a certain field to get a feel of the work. Normally this is completed nights or weekends (do not do this type of work during work hours for your employer – that will get you fired). It could be writing, managing a project or other work. You might even discover that you would prefer to do this for yourself in your own business and if so – go for it!

5. Get Creative about Your Income – If your new career endeavor or job will affect your income – or your personal cash flow – then plan now, get creative and find other sources to make money. You will feel better – and you can eat too! 

 You can dream – dream – dream and your dreams will not turn into reality unless you Accept you need change, Commit through actions (like those reviewed above) and Give Yourself Permission to do for yourself, grow, prosper, be happy and succeed. Arm yourself with information – and start your test drive NOW!

And thank you for reading this. – Dan

Dan Moran
President & Founder
Next-Act, Division of DVG, Inc.
Career Management & Transition Specialists
Corporate Management Services
Celebrating 25 years providing career & corporate management services in 2013!
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Albany, NY 12205
Phone: 518-641-8968
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