Singles and Career Transition: Advice from Those Who Did it and Persevered

by Crawford, Hallie Tuesday, May 06, 2008
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As a career coach who helps people navigate their career transition with ease, I tend to hear one point of view more than any other - that it's hard to make a change when you don't have a partner to support you financially and otherwise. For this reason, I thought it would be worth seeking genuine feedback from real people who made it happen for their careers without a partner to support them.

Below you'll find some very insightful answers to some questions I posed on singles in career transition. I hope they offer hope and inspiration to single people like you, who feel ready to leap out of their comfort zone and embark on an exciting new career path, but may need a final few words of encouragement!

What advice can you share for singles who are stepping out of their comfort zone and pursuing a career that truly makes them happy?

"When you are single you can take greater risks than if you have a spouse and kids depending on you. For that reason alone it is easier to make the big career moves as a single person rather than a married one."

- Sheilah Etheridge, Owner, SME Management: Management and Accounting Consultant

Tips from Hallie: There are pros and cons to being partnered during career transition and to being single. Your job is to capitalize on the positive aspects of your situation. Don’t let being single hold you back. There’s no reason it should. Sheilah is right on, as a single person you can choose where you want to go and what you want to do – and you can do it right now. Being single offers an enormous amount of freedom to take bigger risks like changing your location, or completely changing your career path.

"Follow your dreams, literally. What do you day dream about doing? What comes to you while driving or out on a walk in nature? What do you wake up thinking about doing? What comes in when the rational mind is turned OFF is the dream that could be your reality. Follow it with a gang of people you Love. After all... life is Love, and you are never solo."

- Viveca Stone-Berry, Author of The Fatigue Be Gone! Jumpstart e-Guide; Founder, The Get Ready For Love! Show - http://FatigueBeGone.com, www.GetReadyForLove.com

Tips from Hallie: One of the things single people feel will make their career transition harder is the fact that they’re alone. Viveca reminds us that this doesn’t have to be true. You have a support network all around you of friends, family, fellow career seekers and career coaches like me. The key is to tap into that network and ask them to help you during your career transition. Identify what you need the most help with whether it’s staying motivated, managing your time while you search for a job after hours, or networking in the field you’re interested in pursuing. Then ask for what you need. Request their support and help, don’t be shy. Friends and family will be happy to support you in pursuing your passion.

"If you're a single career woman, I'd say now's the time to take the risks. When you are single, *you* call the shots on your own life. At the end of the day, it's all about choices and what sacrifices you are choosing to make. This may include forgoing one career for another, or reshuffling things so that you can have BOTH careers, or that old chestnut: deciding that your work is more important than getting married and having kids and the white picket fence."

- Regina Yau, Associate Director at RUSS Consulting

Tips from Hallie: There really is no perfect time to make a career transition. You need to decide when it’s the right time for you to make the move. You can always come up with reasons not to so I encourage you to set those aside and take the plunge. This doesn’t mean be irrational about it, but don’t let your fears stand in your way. As a single person, you are the only one calling the shots so in some ways making the change can be easier when you’re single.

As Regina says, it’s all about choices and what sacrifices you are willing to make. There may be sacrifices, but I promise they are worth it. I always say: small sacrifices, big rewards.

The Final Word on Singles in Career Change...
Bottom line, there is no absolutely perfect time to make a career change. Both situations (single or not) have their pros and cons. It is what it is and you have capitalize on the pros and learn to manage the cons. What you need to do as a career seeker is make the best of the situation you have, create a plan and be smart about the change - but also take a leap of faith. There's always a risk in career change, you just have to minimize those risks and seek out the support needed to keep you motivated. With patience and experience, you will learn to overcome the obstacles in your way.

All the best for career seekers who are flying solo!

Copyright 2007 Hallie Crawford. All rights reserved.