Changing careers: Reinventing a career, in mid-career

One of the more difficult times to be hit by a career crisis is when you're fully qualified, in mid-career. For whatever compelling reason, you're now trying to deal with career issues. These can be sudden unemployment, being passed over for promotion, or even going backwards in a career in a restructure. One way or another, your career appears to have come to an inauspicious halt.

That is actually a real crisis, at the mid-term in any career, because it could mean going nowhere at the very time you're supposed to be hitting the high ground. It's not the end of the world, however. There are ways out of this situation, but you need to recognize a couple of weak points in your career that you may have created for yourself to understand the ways out.

The crises in careers have one common factor. They come to you. You've lost the initiative in your career. The result is that you're no longer in control of the situation, and that's the core problem that needs fixing. It's also where you start reinventing your career.

Reinventing your career

The first stage of reinventing your career is to bury the cause of the problem, which means taking the initiative in your career, and getting control of what happens next. Keep that in mind for the rest of your career, and you'll stay out of trouble.

If you're a career-minded person, you'll know how to research career paths. You don't have to start from scratch. You do have skills, qualifications, and experience. Your skills and qualifications are portable, and can be adapted to different modes in your profession.

Researching your moves

You start by realistically checking out your possibilities. The possible career moves are what you can do immediately, and what's doable with extra effort. You need to consider both, because the extra effort can get you a long way. It may also be necessary repair work on your career prospects.

Things you can do immediately:

  • Move into a different industry/different part of the same industry
  • Freelancing
  • Contracting
  • Use a specialist skill separately
  • Work on career jobs generic to your qualifications

All of these things can work, and some, like freelancing and contracting, can work very well. You redesign your job description, in effect.

Things you can do with extra effort:

  • Change jobs, and try to get back on track
  • Get new qualifications to be more competitive
  • Create a new mix of existing and additional qualifications
  • Change roles in the existing career situation (moving sideways, but out of the danger zone.)

Of these, the 'change jobs' approach might work, but there's no new elements in reinvention of your career. The problem could reemerge. The others are real reinvention scenarios. They're the logical way out of a career impasse. They create new potentials. You are also now firmly in control of what happens next.