After sending out an email on Saturday requesting questions for an advice column, I have so far received dozens of submissions. I have picked one, and this week will mark my first use of “Dr. Rob’s Tips” to answer your questions directly. I am very interested in getting your feedback on this approach to my column, and would enjoy receiving your further questions. Also, please feel free to comment on the question itself.
A healthcare professional asks: “How do you best assess the risk of career change, and entering the job market in your 50’s, for a new career path vs staying ‘safe’ with what you know and have been doing? I have yearning for a change that includes risk, but I have to weigh that against the obvious challenge of being an older, more expensive worker entering the workplace.”
Dear Healthcare Professional,
My colleague, Bob Quinn, has identified your question as the “Deep Change or Slow Death Dilemma”. In your 50’s (or even earlier), do you take the risk of making a deep change, by taking on a new job or maybe even a new type of career… or do you face another type of risk, experiencing “slow death”, by sticking with the job that is familiar and relatively safe?
You ask me, “how to asses the risk?.”
Here is a process for you to try:
- Make a list of risks on both sides of the ledger: the risks of entering a new career path vs. the risks of staying with your current job
- Do the same for the potential rewards of leaving or staying
- Do my “Career Sweet Spot” exercise, where you asses the intersection between your passions, your unique combination of skills and talents, your values, and your financial needs and goals.
- Determine how close you are to your “sweet spot” in your current job, and how close you would be in the alternative job or career you are considering
- Assess your history of risk taking: do you consider yourself a risk taker?… how have you fared when you have taken a risk?… and what have been the consequences of failing to take a risk?
- Ask yourself what would be the worst thing that could happen if you took the risk? Secondly, ask yourself if the worst thing happened, would you be able to handle it?
- Consider Dr. Quinns adage: “The most dangerous place in the world is your comfort zone.” Do you agree?
Many of you have faced this dilemma. I encourage you to provide your own feedback to this questioner through the comment section. In this day and age where jobs are scarce and there is relatively little security, carefully considering your job options on a regular basis is essential.