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Career-Life Times, Issue #12 -- Time for a Career Change?
January 17, 2005
Welcome to the latest issue of CAREER-LIFE TIMES! I hope you find this little publication to be informative, useful and entertaining!
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* From Suits & Sales to Boots & Rails
Many of us take time at the beginning of a new year to consider making changes to things like our habits, our health, or our jobs. Here’s how one man changed careers—and changed his life.
Peter Humleker had it made. As the general manager of a successful car dealership, he was earning an impressive income. The only problem? He hated what he was doing.
"I was making a living off of manipulating and misleading people, taking advantage of them with ugly games and lies,” Peter said. “It’s how I was taught to make sales, and I was very good at it.”
Eventually, his feelings of success were overcome by feelings of remorse.
“I had to get out of that business,” he said. “No paycheck amount is worth the guilt, lies and not being able to look at myself in the mirror.”
So at the age of 40 and with a family to support, Peter made one of the scariest--and best--decisions of his life: he quit his job and began searching for a new career.
“I was sick and tired of sales,” he said. “But I wanted to get a job where my success was mostly dependant on my own performance. My other main requirements for a new career were that it pay at least $60,000 per year (with the opportunity to make even more) and offer a good retirement program. I don’t have a college education, so this limited some possibilities for me.
“My first choice was to find a government job because I spent four years in the Marine Corps and that time could have gone towards a government retirement. However, the jobs I was interested in were not available to me because I was over the age limit. The ones that were available were good jobs, but the pay structure was too low for my particular needs,” he said.
Some of the other options Peter investigated were the Merchant Marines, the oil field industry, law enforcement, the fire department, and the railroad.
“I did my research,” he said. “And I spoke with people in each of these fields to find out firsthand about their job duties, pay, benefits, etc. In the end, I decided to go for a career with the railroad.
The pay is very good, the benefits and retirement plan are excellent. And if I decide to go into management later on, the possibility is there.”
Selecting a new career field wasn’t easy, but the hardest part was yet to come.
“Once I decided on the railroad industry, I went to an open interview at which there were at least 90 other applicants, but only seven positions available. I did not get hired, and knew I needed to do something that would give me an edge over the other applicants next time I interviewed for a job with the railroad,” he said.
“So I did two things: I went to a trade school for six weeks that specialized in training conductors for the railroad, and I practiced interview preparation techniques that I read about in Bonnie’s Job Interview Success System."
At his next interview, Peter was confident. “No matter what question they asked, I turned it into a positive,” he said. “For example, when they asked, ‘How would being away from home affect you and your family?’ I replied, ‘That would work out to my advantage, because I’m going to school (via correspondence/internet) to get my Associate’s Degree in Railroad Technology, and I’d spend that time away from my family doing my homework on my laptop.”
Peter aced the interview, got the job and began his new career. “I am now a freight conductor, and my job is to make sure the train’s cargo gets safely to the desired destination. I perform inspections of the train, and if something goes wrong, such as an air hose breaking, then I’m the one who fixes or replaces it. I also switch, drop off or pick up rail cars,” he said.
Those duties have nothing in common with his former suit-and-tie job of hustling customers and selling cars.
“I like the fact that it’s 100% blue collar,” Peter said. “I now go to work in jeans and steel-toed boots. I love that I start each day with a specific job to do, and when it’s accomplished, the job is over. I don’t have to rip people off to earn my pay, and I no longer ‘take the job home with me’ and feel miserable about myself, like I used to in the past.”
Another perk is that in about one year, Peter will have the opportunity to go to school for locomotive engineer training and get promoted--all paid for by the company! Is Peter happy with his new life? You bet!
“Life is short,” he said. “Do what makes you happy. If you’re in a dead-end career or working in a job you hate, then ask yourself what you would rather be doing. Of course not every job is going to make us totally happy, but at least do something that is going to give you more self-fulfillment. I'm earning less money, but I’m much happier doing what I am doing now than what I was doing before.
“The bottom line is you gotta get up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror. When you do that, do you like what you see? If not, then make a change! I promise you won't regret it.”
Finding an enjoyable new career isn’t the only thing Peter did when he left the car dealership behind. He wrote a tell-all book full of insider secrets on the many ways people get ripped off when buying a car.
“I wrote the book for a very simple reason,” he said. “The same reason people yell, 'FIRE!' when they are in a burning building: to warn others so they don't get burned.” For information on his revealing book about car-buying scams, click on this link: CarBuyingScams.com
For tips on finding your own new career, check out the next article…
Thinking about trying a new career? If so, don’t jump blindly into the first opportunity that comes along. Before you do anything else, follow these 10 tips to carefully consider your options:
1. Assess your current level of job satisfaction (or dissatisfaction). If you’re unhappy, why? Is it the company? Your duties? The people with whom you work? Make sure it’s the career you’re wanting to leave and not the boss.
2. Evaluate your interests, experience and skills to determine if they are adequately being used. If not, can this be corrected within your current career field, or is a total change necessary?
3. Make a list of all possible career alternatives based on your desires and skills. Ask for input from friends, family, networking contacts and counselors, and use online resources like the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Handbook.
4. Narrow that list down to a few career fields that appear to offer the best opportunities based on your interests and qualifications. Make sure the starting salaries they provide will be adequate to meet your needs.
5. Conduct detailed research on those fields. Read as much as you can about them; try to talk to people who are already working in those fields. What do they like (or dislike) about their jobs?
6. If possible, observe their working environment firsthand. For example, if you're thinking about becoming a police officer, I strongly suggest you try to do a "ride-along" first (these are sometimes sponsored by local community groups and civic organizations; you can contact your local police department for information).
7. Find out if there are any volunteer activities you can do to get hands-on experience in the fields you are considering.
8. Explore training and educational opportunities that would help you build new skills or qualify for opportunities in your chosen new fields.
9. Based on those exploratory activities, select the one career field from your list that suits you best. Then determine if there are any duties in your current field which you could take on to ease the transition to your new field. For example, if you’re an engineer who wants to become a writer, volunteer to write reports, articles, newsletters, etc.
10. Finally, start seeking employment in your newly chosen field. But unless you have money to spare, don’t quit your current job until you have a firm offer for your new one.
A very effective and persuasive tactic when selling something is to promote its benefits as well as its features. Very simply, features are what something has; benefits are what those features do for you. For example, if you’re selling your used Oldsmobile, one of the features you might mention is its large trunk.
If you focus only on the feature, you’ll say, “This car has a large trunk.” (Yawn) But if you promote that feature with its benefit, you could say, “The trunk is huge. You can get three suitcases and your golf bag in there for a trip to Disneyland and still have plenty of room for all the souvenirs you’ll want to bring home!” See how that makes a more powerful impression?
The potential buyer can visualize how this car with its large trunk can make packing for his next trip much easier. Use the same tactic for each feature of the car, and (Ka-ching!) you have a much quicker sale.
When you’re preparing your resume or answering questions during an interview, you’re selling yourself, so use that same tactic: sell your benefits along with your features! Here’s how:
Consider these typical “features” a job applicant might mention during an interview:
• 10 Years of Experience
America's Foremost Business Philosopher
Of all the things that can have an effect on your future, I believe personal growth is the greatest.
We can talk about sales growth, profit growth, asset growth, but all of this probably will not happen without personal growth. It’s really the open door to it all. In fact I’d like to have you memorize a most important phrase. Here it is, “The major key to your better future is YOU.”
Let me repeat that. “The major key to your better future is YOU.” Put that someplace you can see it everyday, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, at the office, anywhere where you can see it everyday. The major key to your better future is YOU. Try to remember that every day you live and think about it. The major key is YOU.
Now, there are many things that will help your better future. If you belong to a strong, dynamic and progressive company, that would help. If the company has good products, good services that you are proud of, that would certainly help. If there were good sales aids, that would help, good training would certainly help. If there is strong leadership that will certainly help. All of these things will help, and of course, if it doesn’t storm, that will help. If your car doesn’t break down, that will help. If the kids don’t get sick, that will help. If the neighbors stay half way civil, that will help. If your relatives don’t bug you, that will help. If it isn’t too cold, if it isn’t too hot, all those things will help your better future. And if prices don’t go much higher and if taxes don’t get much heavier, that will help. And if the economy stays stable, those things will all help. We could go on and on with the list; but remember this, the list of things that I’ve just covered and many more - all put together - play a minor role in your better future.
The major key to your better future is you. Lock your mind onto that. This is a super important point to remember. The major key is you. Mr. Shoaff always answered when asked, “How do you develop an above average income?” by saying “Simple, become an above average person. Work on you.” Mr. Shoaff would say, “Develop an above average handshake.” He would say, “A lot of people want to be successful, and they don’t even work on their handshake. As easy as that would be to start, they let it slide. They don’t understand.” Mr. Shoaff would say, “Develop an above average smile. Develop an above average excitement. Develop an above average dedication. Develop an above average interest in other people.” He would say, “To have more, become more.” Remember; work harder on yourself than you do on your job. For a long time in my life, I didn’t have this figured out.
Strangely enough, with two different people in the same company one may earn an extra $100 a month, and the other may earn a $1,000. What could possibly be the difference? If the products were the same, if the training was the same, if they both had the same literature, the same tools.
If they both had the same teacher, the same compensation plan, if they both attended the same meetings, why would one person earn the $100 per month and the other person earn the $1000?
Remember here is the difference...the difference is personal, inside, not outside, inside.
You see the real difference is inside you. In fact, the difference IS you. Someone once said, “The magic is not in the products. The magic is not in the literature. The magic is not in the film. There isn’t a magic meeting, but the magic that makes things better is inside you, and personal growth makes this magic work for you.
The magic is in believing. The magic is in daring. The magic is in trying. The real magic is in persevering. The magic is in accepting. It’s in working. The magic is in thinking. There is magic in a handshake. There is magic in a smile. There is magic in excitement and determination. There is real magic in compassion and caring and sharing. There is unusual magic in strong feeling and you see, all that comes from inside, not outside. So, the difference is inside you. The real difference is you. You are the major key to your better future.
To Your Success, Jim Rohn
Copyright © 2001 Jim Rohn International. All rights reserved worldwide.
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WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? Richard Nelson Bolles has updated his famous book, “What Color Is Your Parachute” (A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers). It's the best-selling job-hunting book in the world, with more than 8 million sold. The 2005 edition is fantastic. It gives not only simple how-to steps but also steady hope for job seekers. For more information, click here: "What Color Is Your Parachute?"
THE 8TH HABIT. You've undoubtedly heard of Steven R. Covey's wonderful book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." It should be required reading! But were you aware of his new best-seller, "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness"? If you've ever felt stuck, under-appreciated or "underwhelmed" at work, you'll love this amazing book. Once you've read it, you'll know exactly how to move beyond "effectiveness" to complete and passionate engagement, fulfillment and contribution. For more information, click here: "The 8th Habit"
ESCAPE THE CORPORATION. This site is a Resource Center for frustrated employees, workers who have been laid-off, and all others who are ready to take charge of their jobs and careers. My friend Frank Welzig owns this site. He is a 24-year veteran corporate Headhunter who's new mission in life is to help people escape the rat race and build a personal lifestyle they can be proud of! For more information, click here: Escape The Corporation
SUCCESS NET. The most trusted resource for personal and professional development on the Web, their motto is "Your Success is Our Business!" The site provides practical motivation, helpful resources, and inspiring ideas. Their mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best—personally and professionally. Great f*r*e*e resources, including “10 Essential Keys to Personal Effectiveness.” For more information, click here: Success Net
Check my website for more great career resources. Here's the link to my Resources page: Career Resources
Lawyers are disbarred.
Ministers are defrocked.
Electricians are delighted.
Asian diplomats are disoriented.
Alpine climbers are dismounted.
Piano tuners are unstrung.
Orchestra leaders are disbanded.
Cooks are deranged.
Office clerks are defiled.
Mediums are dispirited.
Programmers are decoded.
Accountants are discredited.
Pastry chefs are deserted.
Entomologists are debugged.
Students are degraded.
Underwear models are debriefed
Painters are discolored.
Spinsters are dismissed.
Judges are disappointed.
Blackjack dealers are discarded.
Mathematicians are discounted.
In the wake of the recent and ongoing disasters in South Asia, I just can't bring myself to rant or ramble about anything in my own life. Think of those who have lost everything; count your blessings and appreciate your days. Never take your life or your loved ones for granted. And if you can help, even in a small way, make a donation to the International Red Cross. Here's the link: International Red Cross
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