More people than ever are changing careers and many change several times during their working lives and most choose one of the following six career change options.


More people than ever are changing careers and many change several times during their working lives. Approximately 95% select one of six options. This material will briefly review each of them. Before we examine possible alternatives, you should answer some basic questions that will influence your selection of a new career.

How hard do you want to work? Some individuals thrive on long hours throughout their career, while others reach a point where they want to broaden their interests. How much stress can you handle? Some executives are not affected by stress. Others reach a point where they should avoid stressful situations at all costs.

How much risk do you want to take? Many executives are comfortable choosing new careers where they take some financial risk. The question you need to consider is "how much?" How important is lifestyle? Along with money, this consideration is increasingly important to most successful people. More people than ever are putting location and lifestyle ahead of career.

What's your attitude about starting over? Starting over can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but you need to be looking forward to it with enthusiasm and confidence. Do you have concerns about loneliness? With many career options you are likely to encounter loneliness. Your own judgment and resourcefulness will become paramount.

The "greener grass syndrome": Many people seek out new careers to escape common problems, such as politics. All too often, the concerns in one environment are replaced by similar ones in the next.

(1) Are You Interested in a Franchise... or Do You Have an Idea for a New Venture?

This has become the standard alternative for hundreds of thousands of executives. The number of franchises available has multiplied dramatically as more than 4,000 companies in 120 industries offer franchises today.

About 1,000,000 investors now account for 30% of our GNP and 40% of all retail sales. The amount of money required to get started in different businesses varies greatly. In the majority of cases, the franchiser will provide some help with financing.

Many executives have certain ideas and knowledge and have access to a manufacturing facility that can provide the basis for a new venture. This direction offers the appeal of being your own boss, challenging your creativity, and satisfying other needs during your career.

Perhaps you have an idea about a product around which you can develop a marketing or business plan. Can you put together financing beyond your own investment? This can be available from venture firms, private investors or even some friends.

In one instance, a 57-year-old executive purchased the assets of a defunct firm. With his knowledge and contacts, he was able to design an industrial pump for which he knew there were lucrative markets. His fledgling operation reached profitability shortly after its fifth month.

Another case revolves around a young merchandising executive. He developed a line of dietary desserts and sold them through retail outlets in his area. After a favorable response, he raised million for national expansion and eventually became worth a hundred million. According to him, his key to success was total belief in his concept.

Some people approach new ventures with buying and selling in mind from the beginning. Obviously, doing this requires an appropriate financial position and the knowledge of a particular area, or, at the very least, a willingness to learn.

Real estate investing has become an increasingly sophisticated field. The packages may involve vacant land, commercial buildings, single- or multiple-family residences, abandoned factories, government repossessions, etc. Active investors have earned millions, but there are no guarantees, and the risk can be high.

(2) Do You Want to Be a Consultant or Join a Consulting Firm?

The field has been expanding at a rapid rate during the past decade. Part of the reason for this is that the knowledge business as a whole has been booming. If you decide to become a practicing consultant, your perceived professionalism will be very important.

That means you will need an office address, secretarial support, business cards, letterhead, and the other minimum accoutrements associated with consulting success.

As you probably realize, thousands of executives begin thriving consulting practices each year. However, it rarely happens automatically. The first thing to recognize is that you will need some form of specialty if you are to get off to a fast start.

For those attracted to consulting, it is wise to remember that whatever knowledge you have to offer must somehow be sold. Success in this field rests squarely on your ability to attract and maintain clients. Once you are established, many clients will come through referrals. However, the biggest reason for failure in consulting is that people don't foresee the personal selling effort required.

There are thousands of consulting firms who can benefit from the timely addition of new talent. It is an easier way to get started than striking out on your own, and you can always benefit from the experience before becoming an entrepreneur.

General management consulting, EDP consulting, executive search and outplacement also attract many generalists each year.

They can be excellent if you have an ability to attract new business. Heavy phone contact and extensive travel are drawbacks. However, the pay can be excellent.

Regardless of the type of consulting you choose, remember that special knowledge which makes a consultant valuable today may be obsolete several years later. So you need to allow time to keep current with developments in your field. If you enjoy variety and intellectual challenge, then management consulting can be your right move.

(3) Are You Interested in Managing a Nonprofit...or Working in Education?

Surprising to some, there are more than 20,000 trade organizations, and many are exceptionally well funded. Most trade associations are run like businesses and have similar needs. However, a few characteristics make them unique.

First, they are usually membership organizations. The top administrator the executive director serves the membership. Often there are widely differing views among members, so diplomacy is important. Second, the director reports to a board which is elected by the members. These boards exercise a higher degree of authority over the executive director than in a business corporation.

The board members will often represent different interests and find it difficult to agree on policies and major issues. To be successful, the executive director must bring a unified policy into focus. Persuasion and tact are essential.

Lobbying at the state and national levels is an important mission for many trade groups. That means there can be frequent entertaining. Anyone interested in this type of work should also be comfortable dealing with fund-raising and all levels of government officials and lawmakers.

Frequently, the trade association will be a primary source of news for the media. If the industry encounters controversy, you can be sure the members will expect a lot from the person at the top.

There are other nonprofits that do not fit into the above categories; for example, sports organizations, student exchange services, labor unions and others. To investigate the field, talk with officials in the state chamber of commerce or your own industry association.

An increasing number of opportunities are available in the troubled but challenging field of education. There are obvious choices such as those in teaching, administration or in a combination. On the administrative side, many executives have made major contributions to keep educational institutions solvent.

In many respects, education is like any other service business. People must be recruited, trained and facilities must be operated efficiently. Information systems and data processing are needed, funds must be raised; and public relations must be maintained, etc. Those with corporate experience will find they are of particular value in the graduate schools of business. In fact, a number of universities have former executives and corporate officers as professors, administrators, heads of development and fund-raising and deans of their business schools.

Here, an advanced degree is usually a prerequisite. Those who favor classroom teaching or lecturing may still find that they eventually gravitate to management.

Of course, some executives still retain the notion of an easy-paced campus, pressure-free with little stress. This is rarely the case in today's modern university environment. In some cases, a college administrator will have far more pressure than his corporate counterparts. Low budgets, faculty unrest, political battles and outmoded systems are all factors that have to be dealt with in educational institutions.

If you decide to investigate this career area, start by talking to faculty members and administrators at your alma mater. This will help you quickly get into the swing of things.

(4) What About Serving on the Boards of a Few Companies?

Many executives who can bring prestige and experience to smaller corporations become sought after for directorships. However, it usually takes some planning to get started. When you have served on one board, you will likely be invited to join others. That is particularly true if you have specific experience that will be apparent to nominating committees.

In fact, directorships on just three or four corporations, along with committee work, can often provide adequate income and lots of challenge. Among the largest firms, directors' fees recently averaged nearly ,000 for 148 hours of work.

Some stock exchanges can direct you to clearing house services for executives interested in directorships. It is also possible to conduct a campaign aimed at existing directors, investment bankers, lawyers and CEOs, discreetly inquiring whether your services might be valuable to one or more of the companies with which they are associated.

Obviously, this avenue is most feasible for executives with strong reputations. However, even if this is not the case, it is possible to develop opportunities. Think carefully of what you have to offer that would set you apart.

If you are known as an executive who can increase productivity or cut costs, or if you have proven talents in securing financing, making acquisitions or entering new markets, then it will be easy for many board members and CEOs to envision your contributions. These openings are usually coordinated by the corporate secretary, who may be a good person to get in touch with initially. Turnover tends to be at its peak in late winter and early spring, and a lengthy, superior biography is a must.

In cases like this, it is wise to decide on some limits as to how many companies you can help in this capacity. Since directorships now carry more exposure to liability, corporations no longer expect directors to serve for just a nominal sum or without proper insurance.

(5) Do You Have the Ability to Be a Personal Producer?

Producers bring in business; for example, recruiters, stockbrokers, real estate brokers, outplacement specialists, etc. If you have contacts and need a shift, this kind of role can be attractive.

There are opportunities for producers in every discipline. The key is to focus on something you can do well.

(6) Can You Write or Lecture Commercially?

Writing with commercial opportunity in mind represents our last option. Many people have aspired to write a book but never had time.

A more important option for writers involves preparing articles that have a potential for being accepted by some of the country's 11,000 plus trade and business magazines.

Eight out of every ten executives who are changing jobs are considering new options in terms of industry and company size. Many of the leading fields of the 70s and 80s auto chemicals, steel, rubber, oil, heavy equipment, and others have either stopped growing or have begun a decline. The resulting ripple effect is creating a completely new environment.

Fortunately, new companies are springing up throughout America. Established organizations are re-examining the way they do business. Medium-sized companies are expanding. New industries now exist that are employing tens of thousands.

To help you understand how to make the most of your opportunity, this discussion will examine some major industry categories. However, before that is accomplished, let's discuss a variety of key factors you should take into action.

The lecture circuit is open to individuals in the public eye. There are agents who, for a percentage, arrange engagements that can run up to, and even more than, ,000 per lecture. Top rates are reserved for those with celebrity status. However, thousands of people make an interesting career out of the lecture circuit. To get started, you will have to decide on timely or interesting subjects that are appropriate for you.