Ask LH: Where Can I Get Good Career Advice?

Hi Lifehacker, I am a 46 year old geek. When I graduated from university we even programmed punch cards. I have enjoyed a long IT career. I am working but in service delivery — I really want to get closer to the coal face. I feel like I have lost my way a little, and I want to get some training to refocus. When can I go to get some genuine career help ? I want unbiased advice, not patronising course sales people.

I think my current job is in jeopardy. I need to figure out what direction to take to maximise my experiences. I am happy to pay for training and advice. I have been looking and I can’t find any source (paid or otherwise) to get some guidance. I have spent lots over the years on vendor courses that don’t lead to anything, even though I thought they would. Any suggestions? Thanks, Career Reboot

Career picture from Shutterstock

Dear Career Reboot,

Well CR – about three years ago I was in a similar situation. After a decade in the same organisation I could see that my role was going to be marginalised at some point soon as a result of a merger. I was fortunate as I’d started building a small side business as a freelance writer.

When the time came, I made a break on my own terms and gave myself six months to make a go of it. As I’d been at the same place for a while I had long service leave in the bank, which helped immensely.

By the end of that year, I’d increased my freelance practice by doing some targeting and marketing and I secured a couple of clients that would deliver a regular income on a contract arrangement.

Changing career path is not an easy thing but many of us seem to do it. Part of the challenge is that it takes a lot of courage to leave what might be a safe environment and reliable income stream for the unknown.

As far as sources of career advice go – a recruitment agent can be incredibly helpful. But you might need to meet a few to find the one that understands your personal requirements as well as the professional ones. Otherwise there are professional career counsellors out there.

One last thing before I throw the floor open – have you spoken to your HR department? Many of the HR people I’ve spoken and worked with aware that not everyone in the company is always happy. If you feel comfortable talking to them they might know of roles that are coming up in the company that would suit the path you’re looking at.

With that said, readers – what would you advise?


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