Monday, April 18, 2011

Reinvention Step 3: Designing a Game Plan

Now, your reinvention game plan will be entirely different from everyone else’s based on a few factors:

  1. Your available time frame
  2. Your personal, family and financial situation
  3. Your own rate of speed

A quick note from our discussion on finding your passion: you can’t really design a game plan for a career reinvention until you’ve found your passion, right? Wrong.

Let’s say you’re one of those people who’ve done a lot of things, you know what you are good at and what you’re not, you know your work style and what you dislike, but you just don’t know what the next step is.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The mistake that you could make here is doing nothing while you wait for inspiration. Inspiration is a fickle little thing and you might wait a long, long time. The best thing you can do is try something. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? We’ll talk about that too.

So, how do you design a game plan?

Let’s say you’ve figured out what your passion is and you are ready to get started on a reinvention. Before you leap from a job you already have and into the great unknown, let’s take a look at a few things you can do to get started safely.

  1. Look into local or online classes (there is a LOT of online learning these days)
  2. Take a day and volunteer close to your new career
  3. Think creatively, buy someone lunch to pick their brains about the new career
  4. Look into information available online
  5. Check out bloggers who are talking about that new area where you want to be, get engaged in the discussion

Depending on the amount of training you’ll need for your new career, you may have to go back to school, so look into the availability of tax credits to help you pay for it.

The knowledge you learn in these first exploratory steps will help you design the game plan for going forward.

  • If your new career has internships, get busy applying for one.
  • If you’ve taken classes, talk with the teacher about how to get to the next step.
  • If you’ve learned from your lunch interview where you might work, ask for an interview.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Honestly, what is the worst that can happen? If you leap into a day of volunteering and find the career isn’t all you thought it was, you’ve successfully eliminated that from your list of potential options. If you engage in the community and learn about the problems and issues around the career, can you bring skills from your previous work to hand solving those problems? Is there a way to get around it a different way?

If all of this feels more than a little outside your comfort zone – good. That’s exactly how a reinvention is supposed to feel. It’s supposed to feel different, as if you’re stepping a little in the dark and feeling your way around. If you already knew all of this, you’d be doing the job already after all.

- Virginia

Virginia O'Connor, started out of college as a teacher of high school English, moved on to marketing writing, and then on to the then-new career of technical writing where she remained for over 20 years. She recently started her next reinvention as a writer and content manager for a number of highly successful websites.

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