Be Careful What You Wish For…

Professional fantasy. It takes you away from your current work, your current “office” and draws you to that oh, so special place where you feel you SHOULD be. You begin the day with a smile. You are valued. You are working with people you choose to be around. You decide how best to approach your day. You are recognized for your unique talents and skills. You end the day with a smile. Don’t ignore these fantasies. Internally, your mind and heart are telling you something. Perhaps I should be doing something else?

The New York Times article, “Maybe Its Time For Plan C,” on August 12, 2011, focuses on white collar professionals who move from the office into varying manual labor related fields: baker, pilates instructor, food photographer etc.

First and foremost, I applaud all of these entrepreneurs who took the plunge into their respective ventures. The simple act of moving from a secure, professional job into a brand new venture without the accompanying stability is taking a real risk. No small feat! How many times have we heard from friends, family, and colleagues how miserable they are in their current work? These are the same people who prefer the current insanity of their boss, office and overall setting than actually do something to try to make their professional experiences better.

For those who are ready to act on their dreams, I say “Wish, but verify.” The article does not dive into the level of how these professionals prepared for their respective plunges. For example, use of informational interviewing would be an effective tool. If I am going to be a baker, I would want to interview 3-5 bakers to learn about their challenges, their work hours and their perceptions of the skills necessary to succeed in baking (BTW, since we are on the subject of baking, I love Green’s Babka! Thank goodness they import it to DC.) How much start-up capital do I need? What are the typical revenues of a bakery in its first year? Why do I love baking as opposed to any other profession?

By answering all these types of questions, you can jump into your new venture with your eyes open. If you are a successful, highly motivated individual, be careful what you wish for; you just might get it. By verifying all the necessary components in advance, you can eliminate many of the surprises of your new career choice. You will know that you have picked the right career for you, because talking about your work will likely become an enjoyable topic of conversation. What a novel concept!

Happy hunting!

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