5 On Your Side

Counselors can help people considering career changes

Posted February 9, 2009 4:03 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— If you had to come up with a new career tomorrow, would you be able to?

A lot of people might find this task difficult. A good place to start, however, would be to ask yourself what are you really interested in doing? What are you good at? And most important, are there jobs in those areas?

A career class can also help people who are thinking about changing careers. Jon Emery took a two-day class at the Cary office of the state Employment Security Commission. He works for himself, but said he wanted to find a more stable job.

“I'm an entrepreneur at heart. But I'm also looking at something that's a little more tangible and (has) a paycheck from week to week,” Emery said.

Career consultant Sally Curry, with the Avadon Group, said her students range from people with GEDs to college graduates to people with doctorates. They are all trying to figure out what to do next.

“What are your strengths? What are your challenges? Because people often get into a job and realize this is not a good fit for me. And they get burned out or they stay with it forever – and life's too short,” Curry said.

Too often, Curry said, people looking for a new job skip the step of finding out what career really works for them and what fields will be thriving in the future.

“The first thing they do is they jump in and they start sending out resumes everywhere without really looking carefully where it is they want to go. And where are the jobs? This is a tight economy. Things are changing. And it's scary, but there are jobs out there. There are opportunities out there,” Curry said.

While the thought of a complete career change might be scary, she said, it is quite common these days.

With the help of a career class, Emery said he feels more confident about making a change that he says will likely put him on the right track to finding the perfect career.

“As we sit here and as we go through and we start picking out different stuff, I mean, what is it that you really like to do? Then it starts coming to light that it's, like, well, I'm not even close to what it is that I want to do," Emery said.