Careers & Education

Starting a second career the right way

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Starting a new career requires patience, but the excitement is worth the effort
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Starting a second career can be a great experience ... or a nightmare.

Entry level.

You never thought you'd hear those words again.  Or at least, not about you.  After all, you built a successful career.  Or you spent years as the owner of your own business.

But here you are, starting a second career.  And for you, that means an entry level position. After all this time, you're at the bottom of the ladder again.

Don't worry.  Starting a new career is all about new beginnings and new opportunities. With the right attitude, it can be a wonderful time for growth and learning. Here are some tips for making your new job a great experience.

No longer the expert

One of the biggest adjustments you'll have when starting a new career is a loss of expertise. For years, you may have been the go-to person for solving problems and leading projects.  But when you're starting a new career, odds are you're the beginner.  And that can be hard to take.

Just remember that these early months in your new career are just the beginning. And with time (and hard work, of course) your expertise and reputation will grow.

Ask questions

For someone with years of experience in a job, it can be difficult to ask questions especially if your new coworkers are younger.  But asking questions is the quickest way to learn your new career.

So even if it's painful to ask about policies and procedures from that kid who's the same age as your youngest, suck it up and ask the questions. Your new career will be better for it. 

Take advice

Learning how to take advice is another aspect of starting a new career. No matter how many years of business experience you have, there will be people at your new workplace who have more experience in your new position than you do.

Listen to their advice.  Of course, you can temper advice with your years of wisdom and life experience.  But make it a point to consider their suggestions before dismissing them out of hand.  You just might find yourself learning some valuable new lessons in the process.

Expect criticism

It is a given that you will make mistakes in your new career.  Everyone does.  Yours may be large or small, few or many.  But with the mistakes will come criticism.

As difficult as it is, part of starting a new career from an entry level position is accepting and learning from the critiques of bosses and coworkers.  It's not fun, but you will survive even the most scathing criticism if you maintain the right attitude.

Take a long term view

Starting a new job, in a new field can be intimidating, upsetting and generally hard to take.  THe key to making it work is adopting a long term view.

With time, your expertise will grow, and with it your confidence and self-assurance in the position, as well. The hard-won experience and business expertise you acquired in your prior career will start to surface, allowing you to use new skills and fit into new roles better, making you more valuable to your new employer. Mistakes and misunderstandings will decrease over time, adding to your sense of achievement.

With the right attitude, you'll soon feel at home in your new career, and ready to move on to the next level.

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