Is Another Degree Necessary After Your PhD?

Posted in Career Advice

There was an interesting article in Science Careers Magazine this week entitled “Should you consider another degree after your PhD.” The article traces the journey of several people who earned PhD degrees in science-related fields who transitioned into new careers including law, regulatory affairs, business development and science writing.

The gist of the article is that if you can afford the costs of earning another degree, it may be worth it for persons with PhD degrees who want to get “out of the lab.” However, based on my own experiences and those of the persons mentioned in the article, most graduate students and postdocs lack the financial resources to enroll in professional degree or certificate programs after completing their PhD programs. Consequently, most of the people showcased in the article were able to leverage unpaid internships and volunteer work into new jobs that paid for additional training or professional degree programs.

I have long posited that obtaining another degree after a PhD degree may not be in a  best interest of PhD degree holders for a variety of reasons. First, as mentioned above, the financial obligations of a degree or certificate program may be too onerous  or unrealistic for graduate students who worked for minimum wage for many years to obtain their PhD degrees; the funds simply are not available. Second, by the time a PhD degree is award and postdoctoral training is completed, most science PhD degree holders are in their mid 30s to early 40s and ,in many cases have families,which may not be conducive to going back to school full time. Also, who wants to be a student for most of their adult lives? Finally, the mere exhaustion and stress associated with spending close to 10 years in a laboratory may discourage even most ambitious individuals from pursuing another degree or certificate. Put simply, there may not be “enough gas left in the tank” to obtain another degree in the hopes of possibly a changing a career trajectory.

Based on my experience as an instructor in a program offered to PhD students and postdocs who had already decided that a research career was not for them, internships, volunteer work and an unrelenting pursuit of an alternate career is probably the best way to navigate a career change. What I observed about all of the students in this program (over 70% of them obtained non-research jobs after completing their PhD degrees with no postdoctoral training) was that they were highly motivated and did whatever was necessary to network and leverage the resources offered to them by the program (which included mixers, invitations to professional meetings, and guest speakers outside of the research world including pharmaceutical executives, venture capitalist, medical writers and clinical study managers) to get “where they wanted to go”.  For example, one student, who was interested in regulatory affairs, went to the dean of her medical school to get the funds necessary to go to a national regulatory affairs meeting rather than attending an annual society meeting to present her research findings. Today, she is a director of regulatory affairs at a major biotechnology company. Another student, wrote reviews for an online financial services company regarding the technology behind various private and publicly traded biotechnology companies as a graduate student, now works for a financial service company as an analyst. Finally, another student who was interested in technology transfer was able to leverage an unpaid internship in his university’s technology transfer office into a full time job (he is now a director of the office).

The bottom line: while obtaining another degree or certificate may better position you for a possible career change, it may not be emotionally or financially possible or likely. That said, rather than fantasizing about what may have been if you simply chose law or medicine or business over a graduate career in science, you best shot at changing the direction of your career may be to identify alternative career options and obtaining the necessary skillsets, qualifications and real life experience to make it a reality, Once you have identified those things, the next step is to devise a financially-viable plan to obtain them and then spend the majority of your waking hours successfully implementing the plan. It won’t be easy but as the old adage goes “if there is a will then there is a way.”

Until next time……

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

 

Common Resume Mistakes To Avoid

Posted in Career Advice

While a resume is a mandatory requirement for all job seekers, writing one that ultimately may lead to a job interview remains elusive to many job applicants.  To that point, resume writing is more of an art than a science and it can take many attempts to discover a format that works. Nevertheless, there are several common mistakes to avoid when writing a resume to improve the likelihood of success.

1. Don’t forget to include a “Summary of Qualifications.” Instead of an objective statement at the beginning of a resume, replace it with a “Summary of Qualifications” (SOQ); 3 to 5 sentences that highlight an applicant’s skill sets, experience and personal attributes that help to distinguish her/him from other job candidates. The SOQ ought to be constructed as a “30-second elevator pitch” that cogently describes who you are and the value that you will bring to prospective employers if they hire you.  Don’t be afraid to pepper the SOQ with laudatory adjectives and action verbs.  The purpose of the SOQ is to grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager to continue reading your resume. To that point, it has been reported that hiring managers take between 6 to 30 seconds to review a resume and determine whether or not to move forward with job applicant.

2.  Make sure to include keywords in your resume. Increasingly, many companies are using software and keyword searches to screen the large number of resumes received for individual job openings.  Because of this, it is vital that jobseekers sprinkle keywords throughout their resumes (including the SOQ).  A good way to determine which keywords to use is by reading job descriptions for opportunities that interest you.  After identifying the keywords, make sure to insert them into your resume where appropriate.

3.  One size DOES NOT fit all! It is very tempting to craft a single resume and then submit it for all jobs that interest you.  Unfortunately, this approach is certain to increase the likelihood that your resume will land in the recycle bin. Prospective employers want job applicants to take the time to write a resume that clearly demonstrates how and why they are the right candidate to fill a position in a specific organization. Again, a good way to craft job-specific resumed is to read job descriptions for individual opportunities. Identify the technical skills, educational background and job responsibilities and then create a resume that shows that you meet all of the job specifications and requirements. While this may seem like a lot of work, it is necessary to ensure the likelihood of a successful job search.

4.  Typos and spelling errors are forbidden. Given the fierce competition for jobs in today’s global economy, a single typo can land your resume in the “not interested” pile.  Resumes should be spell-checked for typos and grammatical errors before they are submitted to prospective employers for consideration. It is vitally important to proof read a resume and it is a good idea to allow friends and colleagues to review it as well. A resume is the first exposure of a job applicant to prospective employers and it should be perfect.  Resumes fraught with typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors signal to employers that a job applicant may be careless, not thoughtful and does not take pride in his/her work product.

5.   Keep it simple. There is no need to use special fonts or color in a resume.  It is best to stick to black and white color and use basic fonts like Arial, Tahoma or Calibri with sizes of 11 or 12 pt. Also, it is important not to incorporate long or dense blocks of text into a resume. Dense blocks of text are difficult to read and increase the time hiring managers want to spend reviewing resumes. Instead, concisely describe achievements in 2 to 5 bulleted points per job. Also, be certain to highlight your accomplishments rather than simply listing duties for different jobs. Prospective employers are much more interested in what was accomplished rather than what your responsibilities were. Finally, white space is known to draw readers’ eyes to important points.  Therefore, it is vital that your resume is not cluttered, formatted correctly and contains sufficient white space to invite the reader to read it.

6.  Size does not matter! Urban legend tells us that a resume should be two pages or less in length. In reality, there are no absolutely no rules governing resume length!  The goal of a well crafted resume is to allow prospective employers to determine whether or not a job applicant is qualified for a specific position. While in some cases, a one or two page resume may be sufficient; in others a longer one may be required. That said, generally speaking, shorter is preferred by hiring managers/recruiters (because of the thousands of resumes that they review daily).  However, do not be afraid to craft longer resumes if additional space is necessary to present yourself in the best light to potential employers.

Although, the items mentioned in this post are common resume mistakes, it is by no means a complete list.  However, they are easy to fix.  A good way to test resume effectiveness is to revise an old resume (to fix the above mentioned mistakes) and then apply for different jobs using the old and revised resumes.  If there is an uptick in employer response rates to the revised resume as compared with old one then you are likely on the right track. If not, you may want to seek additional help with your resume writing.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

QuestionsThat Interviewers Should Never (But Do) Ask

Posted in Career Advice

From time to time, I get asked by jobseekers about questions that interviewers are permitted to ask during a job interview. While almost everything is fair game, there are certain questions that interviewers are not legally permitted to ask.  And, while interviewers are not supposed to ask most of these questions, many do. That said, you need to be on the “look-out” for them and be prepared to judiciously answer them whether or not you think they may be legally acceptable or not. After all, challenging the legality of an interviewer’s question during a face-to-face is not likely to lead to a job offer!

In any event, the post list 13 questions on the forbidden list and how interviewers may be able to garner the information that they are seeking without necessarily violating any laws in doing so.

1. Age                 

Inappropriate:

  • How old are you?
  • What year were you born?
  • When did you graduate from high school?

Appropriate:

  • Before hiring, asking if you are over the minimum age for the hours or working conditions.
  • After hiring, verifying same with a birth certificate or other ID, and asking age on insurance forms.

2. Citizenship

Inappropriate: Are you aUS citizen?

Appropriate:

  • If you are not aUScitizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in theUS?
  • What is your visa status (if no to the previous question).
  • Are you able to provide proof of employment eligibility upon hire?

3. Criminal Record

Inappropriate:

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Have you ever spent a night in jail?

Appropriate:

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

4. Disability

Inappropriate:

  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • What’s your medical history?
  • How does your condition affect your abilities?

Appropriate:

  • Can you perform the specific duties of the job.
  • After hiring, ask about medical history on insurance forms.

5. Family

Inappropriate:

  • Questions concerning spouse, or spouse’s employment, salary, arrangements, or dependents.
  • What kind of child care arrangements have you made?
  • How will your spouse feel about the amount of time you will be traveling if you get this job?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work overtime?
  • Is there any reason you can’t start at7:30am?
  • Whether an applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities or commitments that may prevent him or her from meeting attendance requirements.

6. Marital Status

Inappropriate:

  • Are you married, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, etc?
  • Is this your maiden or married name?
  • What is the name of your relative/spouse/children?
  • Do you live with your parents?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, marital status on tax and insurance forms.

7. Military

Inappropriate:

  • What type or condition is your military discharge?
  • Can you supply your discharge papers?
  • What is your experience in other than US armed forces?

Appropriate:

  • Describe the relevant work experience as it relates to this position that you acquired from aUSarmed forces.

8. National Origin

Inappropriate:

  • What is your nationality?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where are your parents from?
  • What’s your heritage?
  • What is your mother tongue?
  • How did you acquire the ability to speak, read or write a foreign language?
  • How did you acquire familiarity with a foreign country?
  • What language is spoken in your home?

Appropriate:

  • Verifying legalU.S.residence or work visa status.
  • What languages do you speak, read or write fluently?

9. Parental Status

Inappropriate:

  • How many kids do you have?
  • Do you plan to have children?
  • How old are your children?
  • Are you pregnant?

Appropriate:

  • After hiring, asking for dependent information on tax and insurance forms.

10. Race or Skin Color

Inappropriate:

  • What race are you?
  • Are you a member of a minority group?

Appropriate:

  • None

11. Religion or Creed

Inappropriate:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Which religious holidays will you be taking off from work?
  • Do you attend church regularly?

Appropriate:

  • Can you work on Saturdays and Sundays?

12. Residence

Inappropriate:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Do you live in town?
  • With whom do you live?

Appropriate:

  • Inquiries about the address to facilitate contact with the applicant.
  • Will you be able to start work at8:00am?

13. Sex or Sexual Orientation

Inappropriate:

  • Do you wish to be addressed as Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
  • What are your plans to have children in the future?
  • Are you gay?
  • What is your sexual preference?

Appropriate:

  • None

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!

Fed Up at Work? Before You Quit Consider This

Posted in Career Advice

I know it may appear a little odd that I am writing a post about leaving your current job given the state of the US economy and the dismal job market. However, believe it or not, there are folks out there whose skills are in demand who may have grown weary of their current job situations. With this in mind, those of you who may be considering a job change ought to ask a few questions before taking leap.

Are there opportunities for growth at your current company?

If the answer to this question is yes, then it may be prudent to explore these options before deciding to look for new opportunities at other companies. While you may think you have the skills and qualifications to land a new job at another company, word on the street is that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year for qualified and in-demand employees to secure new positions.

Is the work that you that perform on a daily basis excruciatingly boring?

If the answer to this is yes, then it may be time to consider your options. However, if you are qualified to do the job that you do at your current company then it is likely that doing the same job at a competitor will also be as boring as your current job. To that end, maybe it is time to consider additional training or education to learn new skills a new trade or occupation. There is a saying in the recruiting business about persons who change jobs “Better pay but the same old crap”

How available are jobs for someone with your skills?

The job market is extremely tight right now and pundits believe that it will not improve for several years. Therefore, it is vital to seriously evaluate the number of job openings out there for someone with your skill sets. For example, there are still shortages of nursing and healthcare personnel. If you are a nurse or physician’s assistant, then it may not be a bad idea to look around and see if you can get a better deal at a new company or hospital. If on the other hand, you are a pharmaceutical employee, I would not recommend any job change at the moment. The market is extremely volatile and leaving your current job for a better opportunity at a competitor company may actually put you at risk for layoff. This is because the last hired are usually the first employees that are eliminated during reorganizations and layoffs.

Does your current job impact the quality of your life?

If you are miserable at your current job, it is likely affecting or hindering your performance at work. And despite your best efforts to hide those feelings, it is likely that others are picking them up. Further, if your job is stressful and interfering with your emotional well being it is also likely that you will not be able to perform at your best (especially if you are not sleeping well or the anxiety is interfering with personal relationships).  This is an extremely difficult situation especially if you or your family is counting on your paycheck to make ends meet. However, if your mental or emotional health is in jeopardy, it is time to start looking around for other opportunities. Obviously, do not quit your job until you land a new one. Alternatively, if you are in a good financial place, it may not be a bad idea to go to HR to ask for a “package” or simply give notice (if a package is not an option). Again, do not do this until you have devised a plan to look for a new job. Also, it is imperative that you take a hard look at your finances to insure that you budget is consistent with your job search strategy.

Is your current job what you want to do for the rest of your life?

It is not uncommon for people to work for years in the same profession and then decide that it is no longer for them. Also, many people have lifelong passions that they want to pursue but were either too afraid or not in a financial position to attempt them. If you know that your current job is not consistent with your long term career goals, then it is time to consider your options. Again, this requires a substantial amount of research, thinking and weighing the pros and cons of a career change. One of the best ways to confirm or rule out the possibility of a career change is to chat with people who are already pursuing the careers that you are considering. It is amazing how much you can learn from these people to better inform your decision about a career change. Once you have talked with these folks, researched the degree requirements and skill sets necessary to land jobs in your new career and chatted with your partner, family etc about the impact of the career move on your life then go for it! There is nothing more rewarding then waking up every day and looking forward to going to work because you love what you do!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!

Learning to Say No To Your Boss Without Losing Your Job

Posted in BioEducation

I suspect that most of us have been in the situation where a boss or an immediate supervisor asks you to take on another assignment. Given the state of the economy and the tenuous nature of most jobs, most employees believe that they have no choice but to accept the assignment despite the fact that it will likely cut into personal time or require overtime work. After all, saying no may be tantamount to a pink slip and collecting unemployment benefits. 

In reality, employees who decline or say no to their superiors when asked about taking on additional work are not fired. That said,  saying no may have a negative impact on future career trajectory. However, it is important to note that there are different ways of saying no and if saying no is articulated correctly, the effect on one’s career  is likely to be negligible.

Not surprisingly, learning to say no the correct way takes some practice! And, in an article entitled “So, You’re The Worker Who Can’t Say No,” Eilene Zimmerman, author of the NY Times Career Couch feature, offers some sage advice on how to say no to a boss without jeopardizing your job.

If you are one of those employees who no longer has a life because you cannot say no the mounds of additional work your boss has piled on, I highly recommend that you read this article!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

 

Tis the Season: How to Ask for a Raise Without Getting Fired!

Posted in Career Advice

While many of you are happy just because you have a job, there are those individuals (deserving or not) who are going to “bite the bullet” and ask for a raise. This makes sense because over the past few years the cost of health insurance has gone up along with college tuition, gasoline price and a variety of other things while salaries have all but stagnated. Interestingly, only 9 percent of companies have put pay freezes in place over the past 18 months; a rate this is consistent with historical standards. That is down from the nearly two-thirds of companies that imposed pay freezes in January 2010. In other words, now may be a good time to ask for a raise as companies are trying to retain high value employees who presumably were too vital to lay off when companies were downsizing over the past three years. Sadly, merit raises (when they are meted out) have precipitously dropped in recent years from an average of roughly 4-5 percent to a paltry 2 percent on average today.

Whether or not economic times are good or bad, it is hard for most employees to “ask for a raise.” This is because it is difficult for employees to determine if they are ‘worthy” of a raise. To that end, there was a fantastic article in the NY Times business section last week helps employees determine whether or not they are deserving of a raise and it also provides a road map to actually prepare and ultimately ask for a raise.

It is a great read and provides great insights and ideas for those willing to risk asking their bosses for raises in difficult economic times.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!

 

Career Planning Advice

Posted in Career Advice

TotalJobs, one of the UK’s leading job boards asked me to share the following post with BioJobBlog readers. It offers insights and tips for jobseekers who may be embarking on a new career or simply looking for new job opportunities. Surprisingly, many jobseekers overlook these simple tips that can mean the difference between employment or not.

 Finding a Career Path That is Right for You

As many of us know from our own experiences, job hunting can be a gruelling process. The current economic climate has left many of us unemployed and desperately seeking work. With jobs few and far between, many jobseekers will jump at the first opportunity that comes along. Sadly, the idea of landing that dream job that you fantasized about during your school years may now seem like a distant memory. However, what many job seekers don’t understand is that by simply altering their job search strategies, they can dramatically increase the likelihood of landing that almost-forgotten dream job.

Ideally before your begin your job search you ought to have a general idea about the career path that you want to follow. This will help you to focus your job search. For those who don’t know or may be confused about possible career options, answering the following questions may provide some clarity

  1. What were you strongest subjects at school?  In what did you excel?
  2. What qualifications and skills do you currently possess?
  3. What are your hobbies and interests, what really gets you going and excited?
  4. Ideally, what job do you see yourself doing in the future?

Once you have answers to these questions, try to identify two or three possible career paths that feel right for you and are consistent with your background, skills and training. The next step is to determine whether or not the career paths that you have chosen are truly viable options for you. There are a variety of actions/activities that help you with this reality check.

  1. Many colleges and universities offer counselling services that are free and open to the public. Chatting with career counselling professionals can provide clarity about jobs and whether or not they are consistent with your interests and personal skills.  Career counsellors can also advise you on the coursework, qualifications and skill sets required for those jobs.
  2. Use the internet to research specific jobs or career options. This will help to improve your understanding of specific job titles and also provide insights into the-day-to-day requirements and activities of individual jobs. Also, you can determine the average salaries for specific jobs that you are interested and whether or not there are opportunities for career advancement in the jobs that you identified.
  3. Decide whether or not you are prepared and willing to do whatever is necessary to qualify you for a particular job: even if the job may require additional coursework, exams, internships etc.
  4. Determine the location of the jobs that you are interested in and see whether or not you would be able to live in those areas. For those of you considering graduate school and are interested in teaching assistant jobs you will need to determine whether or not local schools/colleges offers graduate training. If not, you may have to consider leaving home to pursue the career that you are interested in.
  5. Identify persons who previously or currently work in the industries or jobs that you are interested in. Ask whether or not they may be willing to talk with you about their experiences to help you determine that you are the right fit for a specific job that you are considering. Sometimes, these so-called informational interviews can lead to internships or possible future job leads. If nothing else, they help to build a professional network which is absolutely essential for any jobseeker.

While many of these recommendations seem obvious, you will be surprised that learn that most jobseekers do not consider many of them before they begin their job searches. 

Generally speaking, jobseekers give their career paths some thought are more apt to find jobs as compared with others who believe that landing a job is a random process and requires little more than luck!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

 

How to Determine If Laboratory Research Is The Right Career Choice For You

Posted in Career Advice

Most aspiring young scientists tell me that they love doing bench work and that they want to do it for their entire career. I am never certain whether they actually feel that way or they are simply telling me what they think I want to hear.  Nevertheless, I want to share my own feelings about bench work because I think it may be instructive for jobseekers who may not be entirely certain about their chosen career paths.

While I enjoyed doing research, first as a graduate student and then as a postdoc, bench work was not much fun for me and I found that the less I did it the happier I was. This should have been a warning sign but I ignored it because I believed that once I landed a tenure track position and had my own laboratory that I would be spending much less time at the bench. Much to my dismay that assumption was completely wrong and for the next seven years I was always at the bench when I was not writing grants, papers, serving on committees or teaching. And, not surprisingly, I resented it! But, then again, what did I expect? After all, I was a research scientist!

Interestingly, I have come to know that I am not the only card-carrying PhD life scientist who was not completely enamored with bench work. Many graduate students and postdocs share with me their aversion to bench work and their desire to get out of the laboratory. If you are one of those persons who feel this way, then I highly recommend that you eschew a career as a research scientist and pursue an alternate career path. Like it or not, you have to LOVE doing laboratory research to be a successful research scientist. In fact, not being able to be in the laboratory should be a disappointment rather than a time to rejoice! I believe this to be true because every single successful scientist that I know always talks about a time in their career when they were able to spend every waking minute in the lab and could think of no better place to be! To wit, in today’s NY Times Science Times, Michael S. Gazzaniga, PhD, a renowned psychologist, shared the following tidbit with his interviewer:

“I would be getting up at midnight and heading over to the lab — these experiments took great preparation, and that was the only really quiet time over there. It was busy, busy; I was up and around at all hours. I was totally lost in it, and those were the greatest years of my life. It just couldn’t have been better.”

If you do not feel this way, then a life long career as a research scientist may not be a wide career choice for you. Take it from someone who knows!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Life and Career Advice From Steve Jobs

Posted in Career Advice

I started my career as a PC guy and have since become an enthusiastic Apple fan.  After purchasing my first iPod five or so years, I was immediately convinced that Apple got it. I now own an iPhone and an Ipod and if I could afford it would junk my PCs in favor of Apple computers. 

Admittedly, I was not a Steve Jobs fan—not because I didn’t like but because I did not really know much about him. I just thought his company’s products rock. After his passing last week, my wife happened to hear on NPR snippets of his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. She came and immediately said I should listen to it! And, I finally did! It was one of the most insightful, passionate and prosaic speeches that I have ever heard. 

I heartily recommend that those of you who may be at a crossroads in their lives or suffering the financial impact of the recession listen to his speech. Steve Jobs got it and it may help you get it too!   

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Karma!

Things to Consider Before Leaving Your Current Job

Posted in Career Advice

I know it may appear a little odd that I am writing a post about leaving your current job given the state of the US economy and the dismal job market. However, believe it or not, there are folks out there whose skills are in demand who may have grown weary of their current job situations. With this in mind, those of you who may be considering a job change ought to ask a few questions before taking leap. 

Are there opportunities for growth at your current company?

If the answer to this question is yes, then it may be prudent to explore these options before deciding to look for new opportunities at other companies. While you may think you have the skills and qualifications to land a new job at another company, word on the street is that it takes anywhere from 6 months to a year for qualified and in-demand employees to secure new positions.

Is the work that you that perform on a daily basis excruciatingly boring?

If the answer to this is yes, then it may be time to consider your options. However, if you are qualified to do the job that you do at your current company then it is likely that doing the same job at a competitor will also be as boring as your current job. To that end, maybe it is time to consider additional training or education to learn new skills a new trade or occupation. There is a saying in the recruiting business about persons who change jobs “Better pay but the same old crap”

How available are jobs for someone with your skills?

The job market is extremely tight right now and pundits believe that it will not improve for several years. Therefore, it is vital to seriously evaluate the number of job openings out there for someone with your skill sets. For example, there are still shortages of nursing and healthcare personnel. If you are a nurse or physician’s assistant, then it may not be a bad idea to look around and see if you can get a better deal at a new company or hospital. If on the other hand, you are a pharmaceutical employee, I would not recommend any job change at the moment. The market is extremely volatile and leaving your current job for a better opportunity at a competitor company may actually put you at risk for layoff. This is because the last hired are usually the first employees that are eliminated during reorganizations and layoffs.

Does your current job impact the quality of your life?

If you are miserable at your current job, it is likely affecting or hindering your performance at work. And despite your best efforts to hide those feelings, it is likely that others are picking them up. Further, if your job is stressful and interfering with your emotional well being it is also likely that you will not be able to perform at your best (especially if you are not sleeping well or the anxiety is interfering with personal relationships).  This is an extremely difficult situation especially if you or your family is counting on your paycheck to make ends meet. However, if your mental or emotional health is in jeopardy, it is time to start looking around for other opportunities. Obviously, do not quit your job until you land a new one. Alternatively, if you are in a good financial place, it may not be a bad idea to go to HR to ask for a “package” or simply give notice (if a package is not an option). Again, do not do this until you have devised a plan to look for a new job. Also, it is imperative that you take a hard look at your finances to insure that you budget is consistent with your job search strategy.

Is your current job what you want to do for the rest of your life?

It is not uncommon for people to work for years in the same profession and then decide that it is no longer for them. Also, many people have lifelong passions that they want to pursue but were either too afraid or not in a financial position to attempt them. If you know that your current job is not consistent with your long term career goals, then it is time to consider your options. Again, this requires a substantial amount of research, thinking and weighing the pros and cons of a career change. One of the best ways to confirm or rule out the possibility of a career change is to chat with people who are already pursuing the careers that you are considering. It is amazing how much you can learn from these people to better inform your decision about a career change. Once you have talked with these folks, researched the degree requirements and skill sets necessary to land jobs in your new career and chatted with your partner, family etc about the impact of the career move on your life then go for it! There is nothing more rewarding then waking up every day and looking forward to going to work because you love what you do!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!