Knowing Which Way to Turn at a Career Crossroads

Knowing Which Way to Turn at a Career Crossroads
Knowing Which Way to Turn at a Career Crossroads

Unexpected career changes happen, but most people are still surprised when it happens to them. Working for Lehman Brothers for 25 years, my destination was plugged in turn by turn navigation was running. I would continue on my present road to success until I reached age 55, take my vested retirement and set the cruise control. In 2009, the wheels fell off. In 2009, the banking giant central to my plan veered off the road and went bankrupt. Instead of following my “road to retirement plan”, I found myself needing to develop “a career search plan.”

What now? I was too young to retire and my financial situation was negatively impacted because of the end of Lehman. I was the primary breadwinner in my family and had two kids in college. Standing at a career crossroads, the analytical side of me narrowed my options. I could look for another banking role, leverage my expertise and my network to a new industry or I could start my own business perhaps in a new industry. The last possibility intrigued me, 30 years in banking is a long time!

At a local networking group, I was introduced to FranNet and the concept of becoming my own boss through franchise ownership. I later met with Leslie Kuban about franchise opportunities and began traveling a new and exciting road, but when I was expectantly offered a position with a large financial institution, I hit the brakes.

In my quest for the perceived stability of a steady paycheck, I hastily put aside my desire to own my own business only to realize I wish I hadn’t given in so soon. Fortunately, this detour helped me gain valuable clarity. I knew for certain I never wanted to work for someone else again.

My U-turn back to FranNet resulted in my taking on the role of business owner and franchise consultant. Since 2012, I’ve worked to leverage the lessons I learned during my own career transition to help others find the right path for them. Being my own boss means I set my own schedule and have time to help others as a career ministry volunteer and certified SCORE mentor.

Parked at a career crossroads is an uncomfortable spot for anyone. Here are a few tips on paving a clearer path:

1. Lean on Your Support System.
I was fortunate to have an understanding and employed spouse who encouraged me to take the time to make my next move. Whether it’s a spouse, sibling, parent, friend or colleague, surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you through this challenging time is key.

2. Keep Your Network Working for You
It’s easy to feel isolated when you exit a position after many years, especially when you’ve poured so much energy into climbing the corporate ladder. Once you’ve tended to your wounds, reach out to the network you’ve built along the way. 

3. Take Advantage of Free and Low Cost Resources
One advantage to the ever changing job market is the proliferation of career networking groups and mentoring programs. Some of these groups are larger faith based groups such as the Crossroads Career Network while others are smaller and more industry focused. Just search in your area and ask around for groups close to you and don’t be afraid to step out. I am aware of many groups in the Atlanta area so please feel free to contact me directly for assistance.

If you’re looking at starting your own business, mentoring and training are what SCORE is all about. With local workshops, webinars and advice from experienced mentors, the possibilities are endless with the help of a SCORE mentor.

If you want to be your own boss, but have no idea what business you’d like to own, I’d like to introduce you to FranNet’s proven consultative process which will guide you through narrowing down the best franchise opportunities to match your goals, budget, skills and preferences.

4. Get Clear on What You Want. Gaining clarity on what you want (and what you don’t want) will help you focus on the right opportunities instead of spinning your wheels in the wrong directions. This is where a career coach or consultant can help. 

5. Lay out a Financial Plan. Whether you decide to invest in yourself as a business owner or to invest your time in a corporate role, change in inevitable. It’s never too early to meet with your personal financial planner and/or CPA to lay out a plan and prepare for future income gaps. 

Whether you’re clear on what you really want or perhaps you know exactly what you DON’T want, it’s important to know the resources you’ll need to choose the right path for you. If business ownership is something you’ve always wanted to explore, check out my 3-part series, Success Strategies for Avoiding Typical Business Ownership Mistakes and call me today to start planning your future.


Thinking of Starting a Business? FranNet Can Help