Archive: Change Everything – September 23, 2005

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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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 it.


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.

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