20 Something Career Expert’s Tip of the Month – March

Reinventing Yourself in a Recession

By Alexandra Levit
~reprinted from Alexandra Levit’s blog

I recently did an interview with Jessica Stillman at BNET on strategies for reinventing yourself during a recession. Here are some snippets from the interview:

Statistics show that the average young American will change jobs nine times by the time they’re 32, which is many more times than in the past. Do you think younger workers have a different attitude towards career change compared to older workers?

Yes — on the whole, younger workers are looking to adapt their work to the lifestyle changes they’re making as they mature. They cannot relate to their parents’ one-career lives at all — for them a career is a journey without one particular destination.

That said, the most active career reinventers right now are Baby Boomers. They may have had one career for 30 years, but they are looking for new and different challenges now that traditional retirement age is approaching and they don’t have the desire nor the financial ability to pack up everything and move to the beach.

Career change can be great, but Gen Y is often accused of taking it too far. How can a job hopper know they’re a job hopper? Or is the whole idea of the job hopper outdated?

In my opinion, someone is a job jumper when they don’t give each job at least one full year, and/or leave before learning everything they can from the position. Although the notion of a job jumper is not as strict as it used to be, I think it still leaves a bad taste in employers’ mouths when they see a string of positions in a shorter period of time.

And to end on an optimistic note, can you share a story from your research that proves career change is possible, even in difficult circumstances?

There are a lot of these in New Job, New You, but one that comes to mind right now is Norene’s story. Norene, a customer service representative, pursued her dream of becoming a folk musician in the midst of a breast cancer diagnosis and the deaths of both her parents.

She looked back on her customer service career and employed many of the things she’d learned about how a good business operates and grows. She joined a local Chamber of Commerce and went to every networking event she heard about, and in a short period of time, she progressed from the unemployment line to teaching choir at an elementary school, seeing 18 students privately, playing keyboard and singing with a church praise band, and performing her original music regularly in the greater LA area as Tyler Noren.

~ Alexandra Levit, 20 Something Career Expert, Campus Calm

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