|CAREERS NOW 10-13-10|
|Switching Careers Without Starting Over|
DEAR JOYCE: I am a 54-year-old manager who needs to switch careers or industries. I'm not afraid of hard work and will accept lower pay than what I've been getting for most of my working life. But do I really have to start from scratch? If so, why are employers so reluctant to take on a proven manager from another field? - K.R.S.
Switching is harder than most managers think, says John Lucht: "Usually you can't start over from scratch." Lucht is the chef executive of Ritesite (ritesite.com), a major career portal for transitioning executives, managers and professionals, and the author of the classic guide "Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+: Your Insider's Lifetime Guide to Executive Job-Changing and Faster Career Progress in the 21st Century."
As for the last part of your question, the rock-star career coach illuminates: "If you're above the usual beginner's age, most employers will prefer someone 'more appropriate' for the work and the money. Reasons: They fear an "overqualified" person may (1) soon leave for a job at his or her accustomed pay and responsibility, or (2) be difficult for a more junior person to supervise, or (3) demand faster raises and promotions than the company normally provides. Sure, there's an age discrimination law. But what can you prove? Do you want to sue?"
DEAR JOYCE: I am trying to change industries but it's really hard. Any suggestions? - P.P.
"Reposition yourself on your resume," is a great tip from Kate Wendleton, president of The Five O'Clock Cub (FiveOClockClub.com)¸ the nation's best-known job club. "Use buzzwords from the new industry. A bank operations manager wanted to work in hospital operations. He had to change all the mentions of 'check processing' on his resume to 'transaction processing.' Hospitals process a lot of transactions, but not that many checks."
DEAR JOYCE: I'll be retiring from a city police force next year and would like to find a second career. What advice do you have for someone in my shoes? - J.B.
"Find a niche that is not overcrowded and is related to your core skills; then, acquire the specialized skills to excel in that role, " says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., a veteran in career information publishing and author of "2011 Career Plan" (JIST Publishing, jist.com). "Your niche may be at the intersection of two very different skills; for example, you may be a police officer who is an inspiring teacher or a chemist who is an ace computer programmer. In a tight job market, employers are more interested in someone with the perfect fit of skills than in a generalist."
DEAR JOYCE: My mother's call center job was moved to Panama City, Panama. Unable to find reemployment, she will have to get into a different career. The family had a meeting and suggested options ranging from cleaning houses to restaurant work to cashiering in a store. In the meeting, my brother mentioned the new NBC sitcom "Outsourced," a so-called comedy in which a manager returns from training only to learn that his call center has been "offshored." For us it hit too close to home. What do you think of that show? - D.S.
I'm not an entertainment reviewer. I am an advocate for the American worker. We need jobs in the United States. Having not viewed this new program, I read several reviews of it and agree with People magazine's take: "skip it."
Sorry, the volume of mail makes personal replies impossible.