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4 Reasons why you shouldn’t turn your back on a second career

Life is an unpredictable quest. One year you may find yourself settling down on the west coast after accepting a highly coveted position at a renowned company, the next, however, you could be looking to start fresh by relocating to a small town in another province after finding your work disenchanting. Varying circumstances can throw your initial career trajectory off course a bit, but the traditional sense of a career path has evolved – and it isn’t uncommon to see skill sets evolve and transfer to different roles in different industries.

It’s imperative to encourage fluidity and flexibility in your life path and career, as this is the way to ensure you get the most out of both of them. Here is the convincing argument for why you shouldn’t close the door on the idea of a second career, and advice to succeed in finding the ideal one for you.

You’ll have a better understanding of what you’re looking for  

Think back to when you were a child. With your limited scope of the economy and global landscape, what was it that you imagined yourself doing when you grew up? Chances are, the position you once dreamed of working in changed multiple times before you even graduated from university.

When you initially embarked upon your career path, the professional world was an unknown land of possibility. As you gained experience, your ambitions and preferences may have very naturally shifted with time. A second career provides you with the opportunity to curate an additional life path that incorporates all you’ve learned about yourself in the professional sphere.

  • What skills do you still wish to learn?
  • What field has intrigued you over the years?
  • What do you appreciate about your current career?
  • What bothers you about it?

All of these are crucial questions you can ask yourself as you brainstorm what your next step could be.

Research is critical  

If you are looking to transfer into a field that requires similar skillsets to your current one, start researching the qualifications you will need to obtain to get the certification or education necessary to make the transition. Night classes may very well be in your future, so do some research on your options for continuing education. Furthermore, if you possess a connection in your field of interest, why not set up a lunch or quick coffee meeting to pick their brain? Take the initiative and make opportunities happen, rather than thinking that something will fall into your lap. The desire to want to learn has to be there.

It’s Not (Always) About the Money

When exploring other career options, the desire for a higher salary is often a primary driver. While this is completely natural, ensure that the job that comes with a projected bump in pay grade and won’t limit you for future growth.

To enter a second career is a big step, and it will be difficult to succeed in your new field if you simply detest the work. Furthermore, since you might be entering the job later in your life, there will be added pressure to perform at a higher caliber and build a strong reputation for yourself. If you find yourself failing to succeed in your new field due to something as basic as lack of passion, you’ll quite possibly end up regretting your choice to transition in the first place – even with the higher earnings.

Emotional Benefits are Valid

Despite cutthroat business mantras about making it to the top that pressure you to neglect your personal needs in favour of your career success, how you feel about your job is imperative to your success in the field. You wouldn’t make a decision in your personal life that made you unhappy, so why take a job that does?

While it is not only wise, but imperative, to conduct a cost benefit analysis that will inform you if your career change makes financial sense, there are other factors besides money that are critical to consider. When analyzing your options, be sure to include benefits such as upward mobility, satisfaction with the work, positive office environment, decreased stress, and expansion of knowledge and skill sets.

Similar to childhood ambitions of being an astronaut or veterinarian, there is a sense of wonder and anticipation that comes with brainstorming for a second career. Everyone is on the pursuit of happiness, and a mentally taxing career does not need to be an exception on this journey. Uncertainty accompanies the territory where major life changes lay. Trust your instincts, take the leap, and reap the personal and financial benefits that a second career can bring.

While your career path will most likely not take a linear one, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan your next step. Thinking about what your next career move will be is crucial to ensuring you are investing in yourself and staying ahead of the job market. Learn more about why the traditional career path is all but dead.

  • Question mark made of books ask search answer concept

Why curiosity is a powerful trait in the best employees

As a child, you must have heard the term curiosity killed the cat. From a young age, we were almost programmed that curiosity has a negative connotation to it, and that we shouldn’t ask too many questions. We were told that it can put us in dangerous situations, be perceived as weakness even being rude. As we grew older, this translated into a fear of questioning things for the sake of sounding ignorant or intrusive. Maybe this meant staying silent in college when your professor asked if anyone had a question—or later when your potential employer asked if you have any questions about the job in an interview or the first month immersed in the role.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein

When you’re finally put in a situation when you know you should ask a question, it can be difficult to tap into a curiosity reservoir most of us have been repressing all our lives. That’s why adults who ask questions tend to stand out in meetings and job interviews. In fact, multiple studies have shown that curious people are a positive asset in society – particularly the workplace.

Learn the 4 primary reasons why individuals with a naturally inquisitive outlook on life make for better employees.

  1. They’re natural learners

People with a high CQ (Curiosity Quotient) have a natural drive for seeking new knowledge through conversation and other means. They are also able to admit when they don’t have the answer. Instead of trying to figure out everything on their own to avoid embarrassment, they admit when they don’t know something so that they will be informed for next time they encounter the issue. They are more likely to learn something out of a situation than someone who avoids their ignorance altogether.

“It’s more important for [curious people] to learn than to look smart.”- LeeAnn Renninger, coauthor of Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected.

  1. They have more initiative 

Naturally inquisitive people take the time to question and explore new things because they invest more time into their intellect. This means they dedicate time to find answers to questions out of pure will, not because they feel pressured to do so.

This desire to be constantly learning will drive them to seek out new opportunities in their job, this may mean taking on new work or larger quantities of work. This initiative would be particularly valued in a startup environment where employees are often required to juggle multiple roles in the company.

  1. They’re innovative

Almost all businesses are finding ways to innovate —it’s the newest trend within business and it’s necessary for any business to grow and become successful. Curious individuals thrive in this kind of environment because change is not something they fear. People with a high CQ thrive off of learning new things and would be able to pick up a new software or technology with ease.

Moreover, these kinds of people are constantly questioning, which makes them key players in innovation. Ultimately they are the ones questioning current practices and finding ways to instigate change.

You have to say, ‘Wait a second. Why are we doing it this way? Could it be better? Could it be different?’ That kind of curiosity, that explorer’s mind, that childlike wonder, that’s what makes an inventor. – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon

  1. They’re problem solvers 

According to Harvard Business Review, people with a higher CQ are more tolerant to ambiguity. In other words, uncertainty or ‘the unknown’ does not frighten them. Therefore, they are not alarmed when faced with a problem or unsolved issue.

This goes back to the desire for answers. If a curious person comes across a problem, it brings up multiple questions, such as: “What caused the problem?” and “How can I fix it?” A position that involves intense problem solving—such as a tech company—would be perfect for an individual with a high CQ, because they would be inclined to dedicate the time to work on a solution.

For these reasons, never be afraid to ask questions. Delve into that part of your consciousness and start using it as a strategic asset.

Curiosity and daily reflection are twin weapons in your arsenal of success. Learn how to master the art of reflection to fuel your career path.

  • Rear view of businessman drawing infographs on chalkboard

Why sales skills aren’t in the school curriculum (and why they should be)

In the post-secondary world, the spotlight is on teaching practical skills. Communications students are taught how to write a media release, engineering students learn how to program micro controllers and business students are shown how to implement a business strategy. But there is one practical skill, applicable to almost every field, that is missing from the curriculum – how to sell.

Knowing how to sell, whether it’s selling a product to a customer, selling a business proposal to an investor, or selling yourself in an interview, is a skill that is crucial to being successful at any job. Everyday, companies rely on employees to sell – to sell their ideas, to sell products and to sell to customers. It doesn’t matter how good an idea is, or if a product is the next great thing, if an idea or product isn’t sold, and isn’t sold well – it is doomed to fail. But, how to sell isn’t covered by most school programs, and surprisingly isn’t even learned by those who complete an MBA. Too many young professionals are entering the workforce with no ability to sell, to the detriment of their success and their future employers.

Selling is the universal business skill. While often unstated, the ability to sell is a requirement for success at every job.
Geoffrey James, Sales Source

Traditional sales approach vs. contemporary selling

In the past, sales wasn’t a skill or job that required a degree or diploma. Companies often trained their new hires, and selling was seen as a scripted approach to building relationships between a sales person and a customer. Sales jobs were on the front-line and customers had a single touch-point with a company when completing a transaction.

Today, selling is a multi-disciplinary, data driven, analytical function that requires sales experts to think and act across different functional boundaries. The digital world has expanded the number of customer interactions with a company from one to many. With the customer in the digital driver’s seat, they are the masters of online relationships and expect companies to be where they are, when they require support or service. Being successful in sales today requires a diverse approach and expertise in data mining, designing digital customer journeys, the psychology behind decision making and influencing as well as the interpersonal soft skills that are necessary to build and retain relationships.

Traditional sales approach Contemporary selling
  • Front-line, customer service
  • Scripted
  • A set of practiced behaviours
  • Building relationships outside of business
  • Single touch point
  • Across the functional boundaries of an organization
  • Cross-disciplinary
  • Data driven, analytical selling
  • Online
  • Multiple touch points

Invest in selling or fail

Selling is crucial to the success of any business. Sales is the department that generates revenue. If your sales force is weak, your bottom line will eventually bottom out. Companies are struggling to fill their sales positions with top talent. Employers spend an average of 41 days trying to fill sales jobs – longer than any other type of job. Across different industries – tech, finance, marketing and more – too many professionals lack the sales skills required to make successful contributions at their companies.

A career in sales can be one of the most rewarding, highest paid opportunities. But, colleges and universities need to start incorporating selling into the curriculum. If academic institutions began to teach students how to sell, they would not only be better prepared for the job hunt and success in their jobs, but companies would also have a bigger and better talent pool to choose from. There are so many different variables that affect sales success – the economy, psychology, technology and sociology, and ultimately selling directly impacts the bottom line. It can be the difference between success or failure.

Download our eBook for a comprehensive overview on what it takes to bring on board high-octane sales talent.

MBA_Sales_eBook_Good (1)

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I wasn’t looking for a job when a recruiter from Martyn Bassett Associates reached out to me so I was a bit hesitant at first. But the way he presented the opportunity and the company left me no choice but to agree to an interview. It turns out it was the best career move I’ve made so far, and I owe that to Martyn Bassett Associates.
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Having top talent in place has helped the company’s transformation from a small media production company to a digital technology company serving the global hospitality industry. The quality of talent that Martyn has brought us is unmatched.
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