Making the Switch – Update September 2017

The goal of this post is to summarize what I’ve learned so far in figuring out the next step in my career after I lost my job in July 2017.

Hi everyone!

After some thoughts about this career change weekly serie, I decided to abandon the weekly update for the following reasons:
  • they seem too much like a laundry list, which is not useful for anybody
  • they are too long and have way too much detail
Instead of the laundry list, I decided summarize what I did, what I found helpful and new useful things I learned! So here they are!
This is what I did so far:
  1. When I first lost my job, I wanted to switch industry entirely because I felt like biotech wasn’t something I looked forward to every single day. I listed all the things I want in my career and I found that what I am interested in CAN be found in most industries. When it came time to decide on industries, I know what really motivates me (or things I care about the most) are health and lifestyle related. It is hard to switch to a field where one has no experience so I hesitated. I eventually decided to stay in biotech because biotech is related to health and this is where I have the most relevant experience, and instead I will switch function.
  2. At the same time, I checked out a copy of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” from my local library (yes, an physical book from a physical library. not Amazon! But for the sake of convenience, I found the Amazon link for you guys here). It has a very useful section that helps readers figure out 7 key areas to consider when it comes to your career: the kind of industry/knowledge, preferred people to work with, your favorite transferable kills, favorite working conditions, level of responsibility/salary, preferred places to live and mission in life. The exercises are painfully long but the results are well worth it! I do think that some of these I knew already (for example, I have always known where I want to live) but they do help me discover some parts of myself that I didn’t know before. I think having this extra knowledge about myself is very helpful when I apply for jobs and when I decide which companies to join.
  3. I then contacted some old coworkers to ask them questions about their careers because I am interested in what they do (these are called “Informational Interviews”). Interestingly, all these different functions that I was interested in all somewhat pointed to the same role that I could go into with the experience I have so far. You can probably imagine my excitement when I found out about this! These conversations also helped me identify a more long term goal.
I am pretty happy because starting from where I am I can plan a path to my long term career goal and I feel much more motivated this way. Of course, I will need to learn more about my long term goal by conducting more informational interviews and reading some books to make sure this is what I want to do eventually.
Another thing that is on my mind is that I want to have a secondary income because I want to have more flexibility with time without compromising on the pay. In the future I think I will be busier with family related things and I want to have enough income so if I need to take a pay cut for that flexibility I can still support myself and my family.

In the next few weeks I will blog about the important tools I’ve learned so far during my search. Please stay tuned!

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