September 23, 2005
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What did you do the last time you were looking for a new
job? Did you try to find another job that was exactly like your previous
one? Did you use the same resume and cover letters to apply for new positions?
If so, then you probably did yourself and your career no favors. The next
time you decide to go looking, you will want to use the opportunity to
search out new types of jobs and perhaps even a new career. If you go
looking for the “same old job” you are very likely to find
I was very serious when I used the word opportunity above. While looking
for a new job can be stressful, it also offers up opportunities to learn
more about yourself and your desires. When you are in a decent job, you
often settle in, ignoring both problems and challenges that could lead
you to something better. You don’t want to think about major changes
in your career again. You just went through all that. Of course, what
happens if an even better opportunity presents itself soon after? Do you
simply ignore it or do you go after it? In almost every case, you should
be reaching out for new opportunities even if you just moved jobs.
This freedom to pursue new opportunities, no matter when they might arise,
is an important part of career satisfaction. Those workers who feel they
have no other choice, no way out, are truly trapped in their jobs. Feeling
trapped often leads to a wide variety of exploitation and abuse. You’re
not going to complain about long hours, no overtime pay or other issues
if you fear you might not be able to find another job.
The truth is, though, everyone has the ability to find a new job –
usually one better than the one they have. You need to be constantly watching
and listening though for those opportunities to come along. While you
may not change jobs, this week, this month or even this year, you should
still explore any opportunity that comes your way. To do otherwise is
a dis-service to both you and your career.
A new role
So, what form might these new opportunities take? In many
cases, the opportunities that present themselves will be in entirely new
areas of work. Perhaps you will find a management position after all these
years in the trenches. Maybe you will find a position in web design instead
of programming. You might even leave high-tech work altogether. Are you
prepared for these possibilities? Will you be able to think clearly about
these new opportunities or will you simply turn away? If you want to get
out of the routine of a typical high-tech career, you need to think about
these questions now, so you are better able to evaluate opportunities
in the future.
With so many possibilities; you might wonder how to get started. You should
begin with those areas that already hold an interest for you. Maybe you
have already been talking to friends about programming, web design or
IT work. If some specific area interests you, start to investigate what
it requires and what opportunities might be available, both within your
company and without. The simple act of considering your options might
just turn up a hidden opportunity on its own. This exercise also conditions
you to be more open to any different opportunities that come your way.
Finally, take your thinking even farther. Do you want to continue to work
in high-tech at all? Could you find a new job that allows you to combine
your high-tech skills with some other interest or hobby? If you really
love music, search out opportunities to apply those skills at a music-related
company. Does medicine interest you? How about an IT job working for a
laboratory or drug manufacturer? Do you like to be outdoors? How about
positions with a scientist or researcher specializing in biology or ecology?
How about working for the Forest Service?
The possibilities are truly endless if you don’t stop
looking and if you don’t limit yourself to specific areas of work.
You should treat every job search as an opportunity to explore new worlds.
You might be very surprised at what you find.