Did I Mess Up My Career?

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Ask IT Career Coach

Po Bronson, author of “What Should I Do with My Life?” listened to more than 900 people who dared to be honest with themselves about their line of work or careers!

In the end, he discovered that it comes down to a simple gut check: “You either love what you do or you don’t.

With that in mind, here’s question posted by a reader who needs advice on “what to do about making wrong career choices”.

What To Do About making Wrong Career Choices

I think I did myself well careerwise by reading for a degree that bears no inclination to what I am trying to aspire to in life.

The programme entitled: Degree in Computing with Management Studies is embeded with C++, COBOL and Report Programme Generator (RPG) courses.

The final year I underwent a gruelling course in Artificial Intelligence that I haven’t started to utilise in anyway in my career path.

What I strongly desire is a competence in database management and its integration with records management and design.

Regards

Career Transitions Are A Fact Of Life

Hello,

I feel your pain because I have been in your shoes – in a similar situation.

I’ve had to transition career several times from Chemical Engineering to IT Sales to IT Consulting to IT Career Coaching!

I’m reasonably sure that my last transition is permanent … but that doesn’t mean much because I expect my IT Career Coaching skills to change so much that I would literally be re-inventing myself every year!

Think about it for a moment. The world around us is constantly changing and we have to remain flexible and adaptable or we become as dead as the DoDo!

Fact is … “career transitions are a part of life“!

What I’ve learnt that I would like to share with you is this: “march boldly in the direction of your dreams!

Start by forgiving yourself thoroughly.

Forgiving yourself is really not as easy as it sounds … put some effort into giving yourself a break because you did the best that you could based on the information you had.

Don’t be too hard on yourself; make sure you take out some time to love on yourself before you do the next big thing.

Now, having done that, “follow your call wherever it leads without any hesitation“!

Since your heart is saying that you need to become a database professional, do exactly that!

“Jump into the water with both feet and don’t be afraid of getting your feet wet”.

What I mean is: “pursue your dreams fearlessly, follow your heart wherever it leads and don’t be afraid of making mistakes”.

You owe yourself the pursuit of “life, liberty and love”.

What Should I Do with My Life?

Po Bronson, author of “What Should I Do with My Life?” listened to more than 900 people who dared to be honest with themselves about their line of work or careers!

In the end, he discovered that it comes down to a simple gut check: “You either love what you do or you don’t!”

So, if you find yourself doubting or regretting the choices you’ve made for your career or work, do these:

  1. Do What You Love; Start building your career around what you love or enjoy doing. Be honest with yourself by finding out what type of work fulfills you and doing it.

  2. Discover Your Strengths; Don’t spend your entire career or life building on weaknesses by doing what you don’t love.

    Discover what you excel at doing and then pursue opportunities that align with them.

    Use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis to reposition your career.

  3. Follow Your Dreams; It’s never too late to discover or follow your dreams, aspirations or happiness.

    Don’t deny yourself the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness because everyone including your dear self, deserves better!

  4. Develop A Positive Mental Attitude; Don’t let past mistakes or career choices hinder you from making better decisions going forward!

    Believe that “you can do better and you will” because “if you think that you can, you can!

  5. Learn From Past Mistakes; Don’t be reacting to past failures, learn from them!

    We all do the best that we can, based on the information we have. Now, re-invent your career by making better, informed decisions based on your past failures!

  6. Plan to Succeed; Now prepare a step by step plan for transitioning to a your new career!

    Start with a SWOT Analysis that addresses specific issues like “how you will learn new skills” and “how you will gain hands-on experience“.

    You need to plan your career transition because “failing to plan is the same as planning to fail!”

  7. Now, Do What You Love; You’ve learnt from past mistakes and planned a better career transition, now start doing what you love.

    Stick to doing what you love even when it’s tough on your purse or ego.

    Because a day will come when you’ll start reaping the financial and emotional rewards of “Career Nirvana!”

How To Achieve Career Nirvana

You’re not alone in making wrong career choices. But you must overcome the past by learning from it and by making better, informed decisions going forward!

This post answers a question posted by a reader who needs advice on “what to do about making wrong career choices”!

If you have a question about your career or are facing a challenge, be sure to post it as a comment on this page and I will answer it for you!

5 Responses to "Did I Mess Up My Career?"

  1. Biz   November 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I started off as a C programmer then moved on to Web development and enterprise web portal management for a offshore company as a Onsite lead. After continuing with it for close to 9 years, now I want to move on and find some better paying jobs. I like problem solving but do not know how to map it to a good paying IT career. For past 3 years, I am not hand-on any more and more of a onsite coordinator and tech lead. Highly confused where to go from here and not convinced that I am in the right track and cannot envision myself 10 to 15years from now what I will be doing.

    Please help me and provide some guidance if possible.

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  2. Judy   September 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Coach!

    My Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree is in Illustration (by hand – not with Adobe Illustrator, Quark, etc.) and I had been working in IT as a Technical Trainer and Project Manager for the past 7 years.

    I fell in love with Project Management, and led the development, testing, training, and implementation of a mission-critical software package to sites across the globe. I was “downsized” in May after 16 years with the company. To reinvent myself as a Project Manager and to make myself more employable, I took and passed the PMP exam in August.

    When I look at job postings for IT Project Managers, they typically require computer science or engineering degrees. Ideally, I would like to join the green building or solar industry, but I cannot apply and be considered with a BFA in Illustration. I want to pursue an MBA in Global Business Management, but I need a job first.

    How do I overcome having the wrong type of degree for the career I am pursuing now? Should I continue obtaining credentials in the field I want to work in (i.e., LEED, etc.)?

    I appreciate your insight!

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  3. Herbert   September 2, 2009 at 1:42 am

    As a current Sofware Test Engineer, I won’t say that I love what I do, but I at least like it.

    What I love is being involved with IT.

    I started my career as a teletype technician, working in communications, long before before the concept of IT became a reality.

    Since that time I have worked in computer operations, a curriculm developer and intstructor in O&M, reinvented myself as a System Administrator and moved into System Engineering.

    I have dabbled in network engineering and network administration;
    I have supported Help Desk operations, ttracked and reported trends in wireless communications, and deveoped skills in ITIL, with a focus on Release Management, Problem Management, Configuration Management and Change Management.

    Academically, I pursued and achieved a MS degree in Technology Systems Management.

    Everything I have done has been with a focus on IT, and not just a single speciality.

    Because all of these areas are related in some way, it allows me to use my knowledge and experience across a good part of the IT spectrum.

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  4. Paul Eveld   August 6, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I’ve been in IT managing teams of developers for years. Now I’m in a career transition.

    How do I find what I really love to do?

    I’m looking for IT jobs similar to the one I had.

    I don’t really want to go back into a big corporate environment but that’s what I know.

    ReplyTweet
    • IT Career Coach   August 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm

      Bill you want to know “how to find out what you love to do“.

      It starts with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis of your skills or career.

      You’ve been working / managing people for a while, so make an exhaustive list of your strengths and weaknesses in the context of the opportunities and threats facing your career.

      Based on that prepare a career development plan that allows you to transition into doing more of what you love.

      There should be a match between what you love doing and what you are good or excel at because we live in a competitive world and you may not be able to make a living out of everything that you love doing!

      But if you love doing something and at the same time you can do it better than a lot of people or you excel at it or you have strong skills or background in those areas, then you will excel at that.

      Finally, you have to develop your skills and offer it to employers or to the marketplace in a competitive way.

      Just saying that you can write or speak is not good enough! You have to write or speak for a specific industry or domain!

      You’re not alone in wanting to better use your skills or strengths to serve others.

      I would recommend that you enlist in the IT Leadership Program. You can get more information about it here; http://www.it-career-coach.net/2009/07/21/become-a-leader-and-get-the-job-you-want/

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