Ten Tips On How To Find A New Career

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Chicago at night

I’m speaking at the 2013 Logistics and Supply Chain Conference at the Mirage in Las Vegas next year.  My presentation will be on the best methods to optimize supply chains using large scale IT systems. All my expenses are paid. How did I end up speaking at leading edge industry events?  I began my career in the mail room for Pete’s sake.  I don’t have a university degree.  Here are the top reasons why my career has taken off.

I took risks earlier in my career. About 15 years ago I demanded a promotion from my new young whippersnapper boss (who was just promoted himself after a year in the company). He didn’t give me the promotion but offered me a key position on a 100 million dollar IT project that required solid business experience.  I jumped at the opportunity.  Are you taking risks that may open doors for you?

I quit my company of 21 years. After a year and a half on the 100 million dollar IT project I was to return to the business and my boss said there was no salary increase. I had had interviews with IBM and knew I was worth more. I took a severance package deal, quit on the spot (yes they begged me to stay after) and received a 24% salary increase the next year from my new company.  Are you worth more at a new company or career?

I did not follow my passion. Hundreds of books talk about following your passion. My passions are self development, meditation, cooking, reading, philosophical discussions and world peace.  After researching the possibilities of becoming a life coach, meditation instructor or restaurant owner I realized I had no mastery in any of these domains so I became an expert at improving business  process with large scale IT systems (SAP).  With deliberate practice I became very knowledgeable about IT and Aerospace and Pharmaceutical business processes. It’s not a passion but a very fulfilling career. Are you thinking about following your passion which may be just be an unrealistic dream?

I constantly read and listen to books. Every morning I listen to audio books while driving into work.  It also really helps to pass the time while stuck in traffic. Every week I read a nonfiction (or fiction occasionally) book to learn something new. I am constantly studying and will never stop learning. Are you learning something new each week?

I’m not afraid to ask questions. I’m not afraid to look silly asking a question. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable. I learnt to not pay attention to peoples judgements and sometimes hurtful comments. Just last week someone accused me of using consultants for many of my answers. That is their perception. It is wrong. If I need an answer I ask a question. Are you scared to ask questions?   Are you afraid to look silly to avoid the answer you might need?

I took jobs that stretched my talent. When I went from Aerospace to the Pharmaceutical industry I had to learn not only a new industry but a much larger scope of Information Technology systems. It was tremendously challenging that first year but the second year I received a huge bonus for my efforts.  During that time my knowledge deepened and I also brought valuable Aerospace experience to the Pharmaceutical industry.  Through many hours of practise my talent grew (and continues to). Are you learning and stretching your talent? Are you deepening your core knowledge base?

I connect with people. I have been thrust into some awkward situations working with people that thought they deserved my job. Instead of building walls I showed interest in their interests (even outside of work) and areas of expertise. I ended collaborating with them instead of fighting. I was not afraid to share knowledge with them. In turn I earned their respect and we ended up all contributing together for the greater good. Are you judging and fighting certain people because of your own insecurities? Do you want to be happy with your co-workers?

Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. I have always gotten along with a company’s senior executives because I have never been afraid to tell the truth or take on tough challenges.  I challenged one Global Vice President that I could reduce his inventory levels by 50 million dollars and after he stopped looking at me like I was nutty I laid out my plan and I could see he respected it. One day I was dragged into a meeting to explain a problem and that same VP looked up and just smiled and said to the group he trusted my solution before I even explained it.  Are you making solid connections with the movers and shakers of your company?

I learnt that there is more to a job than money. My time is much more important than money in many cases.After switching companies a few times I realized I hated regular traveling for business (A reasonable commute is also very important for me). I needed to work with colleagues that were professional, knowledgeable but also pleasant (and fun!).  I like working near windows. I can leave early on Fridays for six months out of the year. All these small things add up to plenty of happiness. Are you considering travel, culture and the work environment before you switch jobs or careers?

I express my ideas on the internet. I was invited to speak at an industry conference last year here because of a webpage I had put up about 6 years ago. Most people are afraid to write on the internet because they don’t think they have anything original to say.  Or they don’t have the time. We are all unique and we can all contribute ideas in our own way. And if you don’t make the time to start then I guess you never will.

There you go – 10 tips on how to find a new career.

See in Las Vegas next year!

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    2 thoughts on “Ten Tips On How To Find A New Career

    1. Is it possible to start a fulfilling life after age 50, when you find yourself no longer in a “caretaker” position or for better terms “homemaker” position?

      Not sure where to start.

    2. Yes it is possible to start a fulfilling life after age 50. Find out what you are truly curious about and read up about it. Talk to your friends and family about your goals based on your experience and interests and take small steps to reach those goals. Can you pass on wisdom based on homemaking or care giving? Or are you interested in tourism, art, education or any other subject? Start with you public library and pick up a few books on subjects that interest you. Taking action is the key.

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