Monday, July 08, 2002

Time for new career; now what?

The Success Coach

By Michael Crom
Gannett News Service

        Question: I recently resigned from my accounting career that I began right out of college. I have finally accepted that I wasn't happy in that field, and I was no longer working to my fullest potential. I'm now looking into fields that have always interested me, but I never had the time to pursue.

        I'm coming across so many different options that it's becoming a headache. I can't filter everything that interests me. I keep having to go back to square one with my search for a new career. How can I narrow down my search?

        Answer: Career changes can be one of the most exciting, not to mention stressful, situations. To handle that vast array of options laid out before you, think SMART.

        • Specific: Be specific. Examine what you are looking for in your new career, what specifically interests you in your fields of choice, and what you can bring to those areas. Consider why you are interested in those fields. Money? Fame? Prestige? Vacation time? Now prioritize what values you feel your new career should have, and work with them.

        • Measurable: Pace yourself. Taking the process one step at a time makes the journey seem less daunting, and more manageable. Record results for each area of interest, and compare them with one another. Weigh the pros and cons of each, and note what meets your requirements for a new career.

        • Attainable: Imagine every one of your options as a steppingstone, each bringing you closer to your new career. Portioning goals can assist you in not only seeing them clearly, but also provide you with the capacity to achieve each goal. Attainable goals keep you in perspective. Each goal completed can drive your enthusiasm for the next.

        • Relevant: Simply put, it's how the results of your commitment relate to your overall goals. Incorporate only information that is important to your career search. Maintaining focus on what areas would be important in your new career will narrow your search and provide the best results. Put aside all else.

        • Time Phased: Maintain a plan of action. Focus on each action you will take, the results you expect to achieve and when you expect to achieve them. In this way, you see that the ability to achieve each goal is in your control.

        Your goals are focused; you've got your plan of action, now take action! Good luck!

       Michael Crom is executive vice president, Dale Carnegie Training. For advice on work issues, visit or e-mail


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