Career Change Advice

Mary Gormandy White
Author and Thinking Partner M.J. Ryan

Are you searching for career change advice? Whether you are changing your occupation because you want to or out of necessity, it's a fact that doing so can be very stressful. M.J. Ryan, author of AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn't Ask For, shares her insights on this topic in this exclusive LoveToKnow Jobs interview. Ryan works with Professional Thinking Partners as a consultant and executive coach, helping clients around the world adapt to change in their professional and personal lives.

Reacting to Change

Why is changing careers such a stressful event?

You have to learn so much--a new language, new skills, ways of being and working--and our brains like habit. It takes more energy to do something new. And if this is not a change you want, you also have to deal with the grief of losing a career you wanted to have. At the least, you've lost a sense of control over your life. That's painful!

What emotions are people faced with the need to make a career change likely to experience?

Fear, anger, excitement, a sense of inadequacy....each person is different. If you have a lot of innovative thinking, likely it will be exhilarating. For those of us who like the tried and true, it can be very challenging. Be sure you are tending to your feelings as well as to your to do list and take heart that experts have found that is it possible to deal with difficult emotions and move forward at the same time.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make when changing careers?

Underestimating how much time and energy it takes to get traction; needing to prove that you should be hired even though you are new; not being willing to be a beginner again.

For each of these, awareness is helpful and support is key. Reach out to others who have been in the same boat and learn from them. Join a group or call on former colleagues and friends. This is no time to go it alone. The question is not do you need support, but what kind of support do you need.

The biggest mistake I see career shifters make is not building a bridge between what you have been doing and where you want to go. How can you capitalize on your experience, talents and connections to help you? For instance, when I switched from being a book editor to a thinking partner/coach, my first clients were authors, either those I had already worked with or ones referred to me by my network. How can you use the past to launch you into the future?

Expert Career Change Advice

How can people faced with making unexpected career changes benefit from the experience?

Focus on the growth and learning opportunities it gives you. A great question is, if there could be something right about this, what is it? Allow the situation to help you get more in touch with your passions, values, and talents Look at what you can be thankful for on a daily basis--what can you enjoy, appreciate and value in your life and this experience? Find lots of chances to laugh.

How can reading AdaptAbility benefit individuals who are in the process of changing careers?

It offers a wide variety of cutting edge tools and tips for becoming calmer, less fearful, and more flexible, creative and resourceful in your thinking.


LoveToKnow Jobs would like to thank M.J. Ryan for taking the time from her busy schedule to share expert career change advice and wishes her continued success in her endeavors.

Career Change Advice