Considering a career change? When it’s OK to say “I Don’t Know”.

Maybe you are unhappy in your job? Maybe your job no longer exists or isn’t sustainable anymore because of the recession?  Or maybe you are thinking there is MORE TO LIFE THAN DOING THIS AWFUL JOB FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS (sorry – was I shouting there?!).  Whatever your reason for considering a career change one thing is for sure – it’s a pretty daunting place to find yourself.   If you are currently in a job you can be sure some well meaning friends will tell you that you are MAD to consider a change.  The idea of reinventing yourself and finding something new can be overwhelming.

What will I do NOW?

People I meet who are considering a career change fall into two general categories.  Firstly there are the people who know what they want to do next.  Then there are the people who have several, and sometimes totally unrelated, ideas for a possible next career and have no idea how to narrow them down.  Guess which is the bigger category?  I still think about the lawyer I know who revealed that he wanted switch career to either accountancy, TV Programme Production or to be an embalmer – hmmm.  For all of you who know you want to change but are struggling with deciding what to do next I would suggest getting very familiar with Informational Interviews and the following three little words – “I DON’T KNOW ”

What is an Informational Interview?

An Informational Interview is a rather misleading title for what is essentially an informal fact-finding conversation with a person working in a particular role, industry or area of interest to you. While you may not know this person directly they will be a contact or friend of someone you know.  I don’t suggest that you call total strangers and ask to meet them to quiz them about their working day!  Yes of course, if you want to research what is involved in being a TV Programme Producer you can search Google and read up on the role.  However you will always find more current and valuable information from speaking for 30 minutes to someone who is doing the job.   And this is where it is OK and encouraged to say you don’t know much if anything about the industry and would like to ask them some questions you have prepared in advance. It’s really not worth going to the trouble of arranging an Informational Interview and then spending a valuable 30 minutes talking about the weather and complaining about how you want to leave your current job.  An Informational Interview is an informal meeting with a purpose.   And the good news is that people like talking about themselves and their jobs. You are giving them a chance to do just that – and you will get one step closer to deciding on your next career move in the process.

Sinead provides coaching on all aspects of career management including how to plan and organise Informational Interviews.  Contact her for a free initial consultation.

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