Q. I want to make a drastic career change from accounting
to training. A friend suggested I seek an internship to get
the relevant experience. Do companies really use
forty-five-year-old interns? I've been in this field for
almost twenty years.
A. I'd rephrase the question: "Are internships the best way
for a 45-year-old (substitute 35, 55, and even 65 if you
like) to change careers?"
When you accept a position that's typically awarded to
newbies, you may find yourself welcomed. And you may find
yourself accelerating on your new path.
On the other hand, your new colleagues may regard you with
suspicion. Why is he here? Is something wrong? Am I being
threatened? And your new bosses may begin asking you to make
contributions that draw on your former expertisewith or
without acknowledging your value.
So I recommend keeping your options - and your eyes - wide
open as you make this kind of move.
Even better, why not leverage your former skills to get what
you want? While employed as a manager, sign up for some
classes - especially if your company pays the bill. Get some
kind of certification. Are you a senior accounting manager?
Hold your own classes for junior staff and new managers.
Build credibility by asking participants to complete
evaluation forms. Hold classes in adult education centers,
such as Learning Annex.
Alternatively, when you sign on for a new position,
negotiate for opportunities to expand your skills. How you
make the request is a judgment call. Rather than say, "I
want to develop expertise in training," you can say
something like, "As part of my new job, I'd like to design
and implement a staff development program. That's something
I've always wanted to do and I can demonstrate a
contribution to the company's bottom line."
Anytime you take a step back, you take a risk. Sometimes the
move pays off and you end up much higher on the ladder than
if you'd stayed where you were. And sometimes you have
trouble climbing up to the next rung again.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., is an author, speaker and career/business consultant, helping midlife professionals take their First Steps to a Second Career. http://www.cathygoodwin.com "Ten secrets of mastering a major life change" mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: mailto:email@example.com 505-534-4294
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