A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (02/14/03):
- Deciding whether too old to apply to medical school
- Making some hard decisions about family work school
- Facing a forced career change with no clue about next job
- Working temporary jobs while finding satisfying career
|Q:||Reena writes: I am 37 an IT Consultant and a languages graduate with honors. Can I get into medical school? I think my vocation is to become a doctor and I am concerned I am too old.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I am a strong advocate of the career philosophy that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you decide it’s time for a career change. It may be a little harder for you to get your brain back into the education mode and it may be a little more rusty than those recent college graduates attending medical school in their 20s but if you don’t take a long and hard look at the possibility of following your true calling you may spend the rest of your life being miserable — or at least unhappy in your career/job.
Here’s what I suggest you do to help you determine whether to make a career change.
And remember at any time in the career changing process you can make adjustments to your plans. If medical school doesn’t work out for you perhaps there are other ‘helping’ vocations where you can find your true calling and find fulfilling employment opportunities.
You can find lots of career change resources including helpful articles and quizzes by going to this section of Quintessential Careers: Job & Career Resources for Career Changers.
|Q:||D.S. writes: I’m a 33-year-old mother of 5 ages 11-17. I have been a wife and mother for 18 years. My husband has recently left us and I can not find a job. They all say “no experience no job.” I have been babysitting to pay the bills. People keep telling me to go back to school. My problem with that is who pays the bills and puts food on the table while I’m in school. Plus we live in a rural area so I would have to travel at least an hour one-way. I have no idea what to do. I’m lost! Do you have a suggestion for me?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You have a lot of issues swirling around you and the best thing you can do is find a way to step back from it all and make some hard decisions about what is best for you and your family. Perhaps the best thing is for you to get a job until your family gets on its feet; perhaps the best thing is for you to do is find a career direction and try to find a job in that field; or perhaps the best thing for you is to go to college.
There is no question that you will lead a better life — not just in terms of compensation but in quality of life — if you are able to find a way to attend and graduate from college. However getting that college degree may be a goal you don’t start until next year — or later. If it is a goal for you and you are unable to fulfill it now please don’t give up on it.
I suggest you consider some career counseling. Most states and local governments have various job programs and job/career centers where you should be able to get some quality advice and direction. You may also find sources of training for jobs you can apply to now.
Regardless of your decision you’re facing some period of hard work and possibly struggling. You may need training you may need to volunteer to get experience you may need to convince an employer to take a chance on you’but you’re going to need to have determination.
Stay focused on your short-term and long-term goals and you should be well on your way to providing for your family – and for yourself.
If college is one of your options — now or in the future — I highly recommend you take a look at the many resources in the College Planning Resources section of Quintessential Careers.
|Q:||B.J. writes: I’m a 47 year old dental hygienist. I am being treated for severe carpal tunnel problems and am currently awaiting my second surgery. I am really at a loss as to what to do with the rest of my life. I will not be able to do dental hygiene at all. I really don’t even know where to start as I have been doing this for 22 years and I am not trained for anything else. Any suggestions would be appreciated.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First let me say how sorry I am about your health problems. I hope your surgery exceeds your expectations.
Many baby boomers are finding themselves in your same situation hitting their late 40’s and realizing that they are seeking something more in their lives — and from their careers. It’s both a scary and exciting time in your life to be thinking about starting a new career.
But let me assure you — and all those other baby boomers — that as long as you take the process slowly allowing yourself time to recharge reflect and research you should be fine. You may face some tough times — both financially and mentally — and you may want to seek the help of a career counselor or career coach — but I am confident you will find a direction for the rest of your life.
There are a couple of places for you to start. You could start with why you chose to be a dental hygienist — and the aspects of the job you really love. Or you can make a complete separation from your past and simply focus on the things you most enjoy. Make a list of the activities and skills you most enjoy. What types of things energize you?
Once you’ve developed such a list you can begin researching new occupations that use those skills. And once you’ve gathered information on various new careers take the time to explore each at a deeper level perhaps even conduct a few informational interviews with people who work in those fields.
Next develop a strategy for breaking into that field. You will probably need to get additional education/training or work experience — or both. Build your network in your new field. Join professional organizations. Learn all the latest techniques of the best job-seekers.
As mentioned in the first letter you can find lots of career change resources including helpful articles and quizzes by going to this section of Quintessential Careers: Job & Career Resources for Career Changers.
|Q:||Linda writes: I have a full-time position that I making a decent salary. The work is not personally fulfilling and am ready to upgrade (and update) my skills perhaps working part-time until I really find something satisfying. Is it REALLY possible to work temporary jobs and maintain a flexible schedule and fairly reliable income? I’m ready to give notice with my current employer.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: In good or decent economies yes it is often possible to work temporary jobs based on your schedule and preference – assuming you have the skills and experience in demand. However in times of economic uncertainty as we are currently experiencing temporary agencies are facing a situation of having too few clients interested in hiring temps and lots of people who want to find temping positions.
My best advice to you is to do nothing to jeopardize your current job. Instead develop a strategy and timeline for making the switch. Consult with one of more temporary agencies — ones that specialize in your area of expertise or in your geographic location. Until you get a sense from these contacts that there will be numerous opportunities for you I would stay put with your current employer.
By the way temping is also a great way to experience different types of work and work environments — and an interesting way of trying to find work that is fulfilling that you can be passionate about.
Finally before making the move from full-time employment to temping be sure you also have a good grasp on the pros and cons of temping. It may not be quite what you think.
You can read a number of great articles find other great resources and tools and locate temporary employment agencies in this section of Quintessential Careers: Temping Resources.