Coach? Therapist? Kick in the pants? What do I need?
May 11, 2012 10:25 AM Subscribe
I want to change careers, and I’d feel a lot better about it if I could get some advice from a third party. What kind of a person should I be looking for? I’m an academic health sciences librarian right now and I’d like to stay in health information somehow - working for one of the publishers whose stuff I buy would be great, or maybe health IT - but I have no experience or credentials in the types of jobs I’m interested in, and I’m not sure whether I'm doing this right. Could a career coach help me?
posted by Sock Career-Puppet to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I basically have two issues: one, I’m not sure exactly what I want to go into. For instance, I’m pretty sure I have the skills (and a lot of the knowledge) necessary to be a medical writer, but I don’t know how competitive of a field that is and whether it’s a realistic career path for me without a clinical or research degree. I do have other ideas of things I would be good at, but I'm not sure how to assess the relative viability of these options.
The other problem is that I don’t really know how to go about becoming a medical writer(or any of my other options). I have confidence in my abilities, but I don’t have a lot of concrete proof of those abilities. I don't know whether I should be applying for internship-type positions or full-time regular positions; on the one hand, if I qualify for regular work, I don't want to waste time (and money) on an internship, but on the other hand, if I'm going to have to do an internship at some point, I might as well go ahead and get on with it.
I’ve only applied for a few jobs at one or two companies so far, and I'm not sure how long I should stick with the “just applying for jobs that I seem somewhat qualified for” strategy. (I’m also coming from academia, where it’s completely normal for the hiring process to take months between the submission of your application and the interview, but I suspect that is not the case for my potential target industries.) I'm willing to take classes, but I do not want to do full-time degree work.
Is this the kind of thing a career coach can help with? How do you find a good career coach? Should I find a coach who knows the healthcare publishing/informatics industry? *Are* there coaches who specialize in the healthcare publishing/informatics industry? It may be unfair, but career coaches seem kind of vaguely scammy to me, sort of occupying the same space as MLM and diploma mills. And I'm really not interested in taking a bunch of Myers Briggs or aptitude tests. I'm looking for more practical advice - I would love to have someone to either reassure me on that I’m on the right track or suggest some redirection. I'm not looking for a calling - I'm looking for a challenging, interesting job with potential for growth.
FWIW, I’m a single 35-year-old woman, no kids - i.e. I'm able to be flexible but I don't want to spend a lot of time dicking around. I want to get out of academic librarianship because the job market is not very good, I think higher education is heading in weird/bad directions, and I've been frustrated by the lack of clear goals and tasks in the positions I've held so far. I'm wary of asking my coworkers/supervisors for advice because, you know, they think being a librarian is a good thing.
Book recommendations are also highly welcome, and if you want to do a little career coaching yourself in the comments, I won't turn it down.