Changing Careers? Look Forward, Not Back!

The Wall Street Journal recently ran two articles dealing with career transitions for baby boomers, specifically knowing when it is time to step down.

For those who subscribe to the Journal, the original article can be found here, and some reader responses here.

In reading both articles, it occurs to me that it is more important to evaluate a career transition in terms of where a person is going, rather than focusing on what the person is leaving.

I have enjoyed three distinct careers, and one of those transitions was from a long-term corporate role to a college faculty. It was shocking to me how quickly I became “yesterday’s news”  after leaving corporate. But equally surprising was realizing the accrued value I could bring to students. Many of them had limited understanding of how to select majors, evaluate the multiple career paths that emanate from each major, use their electives intelligently and – perhaps most importantly – how to develop the personal skill sets and behaviors that will ensure success both on campus and after graduation.

Now that I am a writer in semi-retirement, and have published a book of advice for future students, titled “Welcome to College – Your Career Starts Now!”. I hope to avoid again becoming “yesterday’s news”, and to leave behind some of this accrued value for the students who will follow, and will need the same guidance.

It just seems much better to focus on what we can do, rather than on what we did.