Should I change careers?

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career changeKatie from the University of West Florida asked:

“I will have my Master’s degree in I/O psychology soon. I’m looking for a career change into massage or cosmetology school since I have lost interest in the Human Resources field. I have done projects, internships, and some of my job experience is related to HR, but my passion for the field has definitely been reduced. I would like a more creative field, somewhat less stressful, and less paperwork oriented. I want to be able to help people feel better about themselves, but I’m scared that this will be a bad decision.”

Thanks for your question Katie.

Did you know you can already help people feel better about themselves and be creative with the credentials you have? According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, I/O Psychologist try to understand and measure human behavior to improve employees’ satisfaction with their work. That’s not the only thing they do, but it’s a great start to explore how you can indirectly use the skills and knowledge you’ve already acquired.

Before you invest in returning to school, I encourage you to explore what you can do with your current academic training, research the cost of returning to school, and speak with others who may have changed careers or who work in the massage therapy or cosmetology field.

Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want.

With your current Master’s degree you are not limited to working in human resources (HR). You can use your knowledge of how human resources operate to help others find the right company to work for. For example, Nicole K .Webb, author of “The Workplace Playbook: Strategies to Help New Employees Win in Their Careers”, uses her knowledge of HR as a career coach to help clients so they are successful on the job. Would you enjoy helping people make the right decisions about their career? Career Counselor’s in higher education help students and alumni with career decision making, career exploration, and career transition.

After working in HR wouldn’t you agree you understand how organizations “think” and that information can be very helpful in helping others find fulfillment at work. In the meantime, take this short online course to identify your transferable skills so you can use what you already have.

What’s Your ROI – Return on Investment?

Is returning to school for massage therapy or cosmetology worth the investment? That’s a costly question you need to consider. To learn this new trade, you’ll spend more than $10,000 dollars by enrolling at a community college or private school and the cost of your certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a massage therapist was $35,970 around 2 years ago. Has the salary increased or decreased, and more specifically, what do they earn in your specific area. Visit the University of West Florida’s Career Database to see if this field is in high demand in your area. The last thing you want to do is invest in a program, and not be able to find a job after you finish.

Conduct Informational Interviews.

An informational interview is when you talk with people who are currently working in your field of interest so you can gain a better understanding of that specific occupation or industry. LeOnnie Braithwaite, a recent graduate of massage therapy, said, “The hardest thing about starting in the field was building up my stamina and growing clientele outside of my part-time job at a spa”. Are you willing to work two jobs until you build up clientele? Do you want to work in a spa, operate your own business out of a salon suite, or provide mobile massage services? Also, speak with alumni from your program who might be doing something not related to your major. In the meantime, check out this list of informational interview questions, to ensure you cover all your bases.

Every Job is a Stepping Stone to Your Career

You’ve invested a lot in your education, don’t just push that training aside. Explore all of your options. Human Resources may not be your cup of tea, but I’m certain you’ve acquired relevant experience that you can put to use in another field helping people,  while also placing you closer to your dream job.

About the Author

Winifred Winston

Winifred has worked in education providing career services for more than 10 years. She has worked with non-traditional students, adult learners, and even high school students. Realizing that how we start, maintain, and change careers is always evolving, she holds several industry credentials to ensure she remains relevant. Winifred is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Employment Interview Consultant, Certified Global Career Development Facilitator, Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, and Certified Federal Career Coach. Prior to working in education, Winifred worked in human resources with a focus on staffing and recruitment. Having experience in both career services and human resources, she is able to successfully help students navigate their course to career success. Her motto is “every job is a stepping stone to a career”.

Posted in: Ask the Coach, Job Market Trends, Job Search Advice
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2 responses to “Should I change careers?”

  1. Nyle says:

    HI I graduated quite a while ago; 2001, and am starting to feel its time to change my career. Is you site a place that would have information/resources for the mature worker? I currently hold a direct level position in HR and have been in the field for 17+ years and have various operations experiences that I think I’d like to lean towards. I need some support but am not sure where the resources are without spending top dollar. Can you help?

    • Matt Berndt says:

      We do have a few aticles that specifically address the challenges facing the mature worker, but not a specific section dedicated to it. I suggest using the tags to identify articles and/our using the search function.