A career change demands consideration

Feature Article- Fri., Feb. 11, 2011
- Contributed Photo

People change jobs an average of every five years, and can have up to 14 jobs in their lifetime, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these jobs changes are in completely different fields, driven for varying reasons. Some are due to market reactions due to the economy, which results in businesses tightening their bottom line or closing up shop for good. Other reasons may be due to technical advances making current jobs obsolete. And there are people who just want a more fulfilling career. These career-changers bring a lot more to the table than people think, but must do a lot of research to ensure their future employment.
Arthur Crippen was at a crossroads in 2006. He wanted a more fulfilling career, as he watched his job be replaced by technology. Crippen was a dental technician in the ceramics department, creating cosmetic veneers and custom color matching. “I saw myself as a sculptor and jeweler of sorts,” says Crippen. He perceived his work was being taking over by advances in technology, as well as a lack of opportunity for growth. Crippen decided he needed to pursue something different. “The deciding factor was that my passions were in art and design, and although I was getting a creative fix, it was no longer a challenging career.”
Kristen Robertson, director of career services at The Art Institute of Indianapolis, saw great potential for Crippen. “Being able to transfer your proven skills to your new career is an important advantage,” says Robertson. Crippen not only had the artistic skills, but he already had the work experience to demonstrate his abilities.
Proven experience is just one of the advantages career-changers have over first-time job-hunters. They also can add responsibility – if they have been able to hold down a job – customer service skills, people skills, and maturity to the list, to name a few. “These skills are not ones taught in a classroom, they are from the life experience that these employees have accumulated from their previous careers,” says Robertson.
The only caution Robertson has for those looking into a new career is to do your research. “Make sure you look at the employment opportunities and the going salary of the field you are striving toward,” warns Robertson. “Depending on your field, there may not be a lot of opportunities in your geographical area or in the salary potential, if it is lower than you had hoped to earn. Some changes may take more than simply education for a new industry.” You may need to downsize your budget, relocate, or choose a different industry that still fulfills your passions.
Thankfully, there were opportunities in Crippen’s hometown after he graduated from The Art Institute with a graphic design degree. He is currently a full-time employee with the international media and marketing solutions company Gannett. It was not an easy change working full time at his dental technician job while going to school in the evenings, but Crippen encourages others to not be afraid, if this is what you want.
“What I remember from the outset of my choice [to change careers] was I wanted this more than anything,” says Crippen. “I had my entire being focused on my education as the tool to get me to my new career. I have a hard time believing I ever worked that hard, but I never let anything deter me from where I was going.”  
Courtesy of ARA Content

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