I know a number of people who for one reason or another, have decided to search for a second career. In many cases these people had decided on a first career that was something that made an income, but was not something that they really liked to do. Once they have a bit of a nest egg or a pension and some experience, they decide to do something that they really want to do.
Sometimes the choice of what to do has been something that they have been thinking about for many years, but in too many cases they are right back to where they were 30 years before. They know they want to do something, but they have no idea what. Hopefully the difference is that now they no longer need the income.
So how does one decide what to do for a second career?
There are companies that specialize in helping people sort through their likes and dislikes, but everyone of us has strengths and weaknesses that our friends can point out if we convince them that we really want the answer. Be careful though, because you may not want to hear what they have to say.
In the course of my career I have met people who consider themselves good managers or technical managers and I can’t say that I share their opinion of themselves. If they were to ask me direct questions, I would have to give them honest answers that they would not want to hear and that would not work out well for anyone.
The first step then is understanding not only what we think we are good and and want to do, but what others think we are good at. We have to be careful to accept honest feedback if we force people to tell us. One thing about this feedback that we must not forget is that it is an opinion and that it can be wrong. People form opinions based on perceptions and perceptions are hard to change. Talk to many people to sort out the biases.
Once you have all the data, compare what people think you would be good at with what you would like to do. A friend recently told me that I should start a business as a value added reseller, but that is not something that I would enjoy so for me it would get pushed to the bottom of the list.
There are a few other cautions that I should highlight. The thing that you want to do may involve an investment of time and or money and may not give you a decent return on your investment. If money is not an important part of the equation then you’re good. If money is important then do a business plan and seek advice before making that investment.
The other thing that I would like to highlight is that we all have hobbies that we enjoy. Making hobbies a job can take away the fun element and leave you with no hobbies and a job that is too much like work. I have always managed to keep my hobbies and work separate, but I have been lucky enough to like both so perhaps I am not a good example.
Whatever you decide to do, do it with passion. People like to be around successful happy people and those two things are closely related. If you enjoy what you’re doing people will know and that may be all you need to be a success.