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Strategies for Successful Career Change

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Strategies for Successful Career Change

Finding Your Very Best Next Work Life

Ten Speed Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Changing careers, by choice or by circumstance, is intimidating. To navigate the transition smoothly, use this guidebook.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Some people decide to switch careers to pursue more gratifying work. Others have career change thrust upon them by company closings, downsizing or technological advancements. Whatever the reason, changing careers can be stressful and bewildering. Business writer Martha E. Mangelsdorf’s common sense manual, while a bit simplistic, does a good job of breaking the process into manageable steps. The first is identifying what you want. That is never easy, but once you manage it, the rest of your transition will fall into place so you can focus on practicalities. Can you find opportunities in a related field or even within your current company? What are your strengths, weaknesses and “transferable skills”? Can you switch careers without additional training and education? Could you overlap careers or work two jobs to maintain your financial security? Mangelsdorf answers all these questions and more, using successful career change stories to punctuate her points. If you are at a career crossroads, getAbstract recommends this guide to help you navigate through the tumult.


Why Start Anew?

The set path of joining a firm upon college graduation, working up the corporate ladder and retiring at 65 is becoming a thing of the past. Major developments in economics, technology and society have made career change more common. You may seek a new career for several reasons:

  • Change in your industry has undermined your career.
  • You don’t earn enough for the lifestyle you desire.
  • You’d rather work at something that stirs your passions.
  • You could go further if you had more training or education.
  • Your current job is no longer fulfilling.
  • You’re older and you want to dedicate yourself to a more satisfying occupation.

If you’re about to embark on a career change, first think it through. Ask yourself the big question: “What do you want to accomplish before you die?” Once you know what you really want, setting goals and determining how to achieve them will become easier.

Getting Started

The first step in making a career change is acknowledging that you are dissatisfied. However, instead of doing something drastic, take a small step in a new direction. Lee Finkle Estridge was a successful...

About the Author

Martha E. Mangelsdorf worked at Inc. magazine and wrote a column on career transition for the Boston Globe. She is currently an editor at the MIT Sloan Management Review.

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