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Today we’re taking a break.

We’ve been waist-deep in our series 7 Steps You’ve Found Your Calling, but today I want to talk about one key way to pull off a successful career change.

So many of us have hopes for doing amazing things, things that can seem ‘out there’ and so strange they could never work (we think).

But this blog is all about listening to our calling and then taking steps in response.

And if your calling involves traveling around to high schools performing stand-up comedy that gets students to talk about difficult topics with their parents, so be it. …


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1. Know Your Values

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2. Listen

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3. Make Margin

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4. Take a Step

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5. Look Both Ways

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6. Ask a Friend

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7. Imitate What You Like

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8. Plan Your Budget

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9. Think Long-Term

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10. Dream!

What principle are you ready to act on today?


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Some of us are natural planners. One time on a flight I sat next to a man like that.

In his mid-twenties, this man worked for the government. He explained that after ten years in his position, he would receive a pension and then move into private consulting as his own boss. I remember being struck by how far into the future he was thinking and strategizing.

Some folks are adept at considering what’s next, looking at things from a big-picture perspective, and planning their moves like a chess game.

Others of us…don’t do that. We might tend to live more in the moment. We adapt as we go and experience the unfolding of life with fresh eyes. For better or worse, we’ve never traveled the territory in our minds before! …


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Ever found a parking ticket on your car windshield?

Whenever it happens to me, my first thought is usually ‘this is ridiculous!’ It feels like the exact opposite of a random act of kindness.

Sometimes I wish parked cars weren’t tracked so carefully.

But certain information I do want closely watched.

A few years back, my employer suffered a cyber attack that exposed lots of employee information. Because it was tracked, we knew to set up credit monitoring and protection against bigger losses.

Information tracking applies to how we as individuals think as well. …


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‘Be a lifelong learner.’

I met someone at a work conference who said this to me once. He said it earnestly, and I could see that he was following his own advice.

But that doesn’t mean choosing to keep learning is easy. It takes a strong motivation.

When it comes to learning beyond school, generally there seems to be two kinds of motives we might have for doing it.

One is to look around at work and see that change is happening. …


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Back in the 1970s, after losing his job as a pastor, Richard Bolles became very interested in jobs and careers.

He and his friends were all feeling the weight of budget crunches, and Bolles saw that for many of them, finding other work would soon be necessary. With young families to support, going back to school for more training often wasn’t an option. A different way forward was needed.

Bolles started doing research on his friends’ behalf, approaching workforce experts and asking two specific questions:

1. How do you change careers without going back to school?

2. How do you look for work when the traditional methods of resumes and classifieds aren’t working? …


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The other day I was browsing the career services website of a major university. They had a lot going on!

There were seminars, workshops, and career fairs; there were coaches who would meet with students by last name, there were tips on how to write a resume, how to write a cover letter, how to prepare for a job interview, how to negotiate salary…the list went on.

Looking over these services, something started to stand out: practically all of them had to do with how to make career moves, and not why to do it.

Surely there’s some wisdom in this. For someone setting out on a long journey, the important thing is often just to get started. Put one foot in front of the other and adjust as you go. When someone fresh out of school is stuck in uncertainty about what to do next, this is my go-to advice. …


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A recent NYT op-ed asks a fascinating question: should work be passion, or duty?

The author notes that in the US, public opinion seems to stand firmly on the ‘passion’ side. We’re told to listen to our passions, follow them, and not settle for less.

This message works powerfully on those whose minds are open to possibility — typically younger folks. The millennial generation is known for wanting to make a difference, and letting passion guide our work is considered a primary means of doing that.

As the author points out, this approach can be taken too far. When our work becomes the channel by which our lives gain significance, the pressure is on to find a job that can somehow deliver. …


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There we sat around the conference room table.

About a dozen of us were meeting to develop our careers and come up with ways of contributing to our company. It was a wonderful group, and I couldn’t help but realize that those of us around that table were there for a variety of reasons.

Some of us had accepted membership because we know what it entailed and wanted to add support and ideas. Some came out of curiosity — to see what the meetings were about. …


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Normally, a career crossroads is something we’d try to avoid.

Maybe we were moving along in our career, doing our best to get along and keep our head above water. Work was hard enough as it was, and we didn’t want to make things more difficult.

Time passed, and even though every so often we’d wonder about other work, the steady flow of demands we faced kept us from really looking into our work. The work we are ‘called’ to do? That sounds very idealistic. How about paying the bills and getting through the day, day after day?

But then something happened. Maybe it was a failure at work, despite our best efforts to keep things together. Maybe our company began to struggle, or our whole industry changed, and our position disappeared as a result. …

About

Ed Burdette

Author, learner, career-changer

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