“I NEED A CAREER CHANGE BUT
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE STRESS?”

Yes, I need a career change because my world has just changed.  My problem is that I don’t know how do I do that. There should be a way to find tips to make such a drastic change easier.

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THE BEGINNING - My story

imes were differentCommunication Modes Were Different

Once upon a time, I was young.  Even with my grey hair now, I did have the same youthful beginnings in life as many have.  I was fortunate to go to college and receive an Electrical Engineering degree and a Masters in Business Administration.

Then life started in earnest as I married my sweetheart and fulfilled my military commitment as a U.S. Army officer (Signal Corps) with a tour in Vietnam.  Next came my very first job in civilian life with at telephone equipment company in Texas.  All was good.  I started to learn the various elements needed in the electronic products arena.

After a couple of years, I looked for a change with a chance to grow with a large electronics manufacturing company, Texas Instruments (TI) in Dallas.  As a reliability engineer, I worked in the stress testing of various electronic components to ensure they met our standards.  It seems strange to think of it now, but the small hand-held portable calculator was a breakthrough item we were working on at that time.

Dallas was our goal, so we bought a house and soon found that my wife was expecting a child.  We were so looking forward to settling in.

THEN IT HAPPENED - I NEED A CAREER CHANGE

You have to deal with all sorts of things as you move through life.  As it turned out, a major economic recession was brewing.  It came into full force about eight months after I started my job at Texas instruments.  The recession took its toll on many industries, including electronics.  People were not buying, so manufacturing companies had to cut back.  As a result, TI laid off over 1,000 employees, including me.  Consumer electronics was no longer a career I could aspire to now. I need a career change.

Here we are…a pregnant wife, a new house and mortgage, a financial recession and no job.  Oh yea, no internet or social media! 

Was this stressful? Absolutely!   A change of jobs is stressful enough. But knowing I had a brief period of time before our small savings ran out was challenging.

What do you do?  Well, you use what is available.  I’m talking about newspaper ads, a portable Smith-Corona typewriter, lots of typewriter paper, envelops and stamps.  I don’t know how many letters and resumes I sent out to job postings.  I did receive quite a career change education. Yes, stress, stress, stress.

Since I was early in my career, I did not have many colleagues that I could tap into for leads.  There was no LinkedIn, Facebook or even email.  As one would expect, you work with what you’ve have.

 

I need a career change meant phone calls, a lot of typing and stampsTyping, Paper, Envelopes, and Stamps - Still I Need A Career Change

THE NEW WORLD OPENS

My career change education took hold in the natural gas industry.New Career Ideas

Photo courtesy of Frank Guittard

I was fortunate!  After many months, I sent one of my resumes (as thin as it was) to an intrastate natural gas company in Louisiana.  The hiring VP felt that my engineering and business administration degrees would fit in with his needs. They were working on various aspects of growing their pipeline business.  He hired me.  No longer did I need a career change.

I was lucky.  Lucky because I got a job when I really needed it.  But also because the VP helped bring me into the industry that I would be involved in for most of my life.  He did it as a kind, teaching man who provided excellent career mentoring. 

I did not have a mentor to rely on before I was hired, but I did have a mentor after I was hired.  It would have been great to have understood more about the industry before I walked into the interview.  Fortunately, it worked out for me anyway.

The world has change a great deal since then, especially regarding communications due to the internet and social media.  There are many more options, especially in the last few years, for a person who says “I need a career change”.  Thank goodness!

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.”
~ Walt Whitman

How To Reduce Stress During Career Change:
Stories, Comments, Insights and Tips

Am I the only one who has changed careers?  Have you struggled to make the shift to a new career or do you know others who do?  Have you discovered a way to help reduce the stress in a change of careers?

The folks at educause.com put together a good article on reducing stress during a job / career change.  Take a look.  Do you agree?

What impact do you feel that the internet and especially social media has made in the ability to change careers?  Do you have a formula that works do reduce stress during a career shift?  Do mentors play a role?  If so, what are your suggestions to find a mentor?  What other tips can you provide to benefit others who are suffering stress during this period?


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A Few Suggested Steps 
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