Career Change Advice: Don’t Regret Missed Opportunities and Mistakes

There’s so much career change advice around…in books, magazines, on the internet…or from career counselors, coaches, mentors and here our best career change advice while you still have a job is….

1. Start “on the side” career instead of looking for that elusive ‘better’ job
2. Don’t miss parallel career opportunities in your current job
3. Learn from mistakes you’ve made in your present and past jobs
4. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
5. Keep learning, an MBA is a great degree and you can find plenty of cheaper MBA programs

In this page, we’ll focus our career change advice on these two areas:

· Missed career opportunities
· Mistakes you’ve made in your present and past jobs
…and learning from them.

Hopefully, in the future you’ll not look back at missed parallel career opportunities and mistakes made in your jobs. There are people who lost or left their jobs and look back with regret.

Career change advice on missed opportunities and mistakes is best given by these real-life experiences*:

The Jamieson Swiss* Experience Good Career change advice”:

Type of organisation:

Importer and distributor of a range of bathroomware.

Job:

Country Manager

Main roles/functions:

· Sales
· Profitability of operations
· New product recommendations

Missed parallel career opportunities

· Had lots of freedom and free time during working hours but did not take the opportunity to start a parallel career
· Being very familiar with importation of products, did not take the opportunity to import other (non-competitive) products
· Did not leverage on the business contacts made in this job
· Did not take the opportunity to offer consultation to others
· Could have produced an information product such as a manual, e-book, or newsletter on importing or on bathroom products to sell through the internet

Mistakes made

· Left the company in excellent terms but did not request for a job performance reference (which may come in handy in future).
· Should have sharpened copywriting skills and learned how to produce information products that can be sold on the internet
· Did not start a parallel career
Learning something from this parallel career change advice?

The Foamcell* Experience Good Career change advice – spot-the-word contest

Type of organisation:

Manufacturer and supplier of chemically cross-linked polyethylene foam

Job:

General Manager

Main roles/functions:

· General management of entire manufacturing and commercial operations
· Recruitment and motivation of personnel
· Business development (local and overseas)
· Reports to Board of Directors

Missed parallel career opportunities

· Did not make use of the many overseas business trips to make contact or source products to start a parallel career
· Being very knowledgeable on the uses, sources and technology of XLPE products, did not take the opportunity to start a parallel career related to (but not in competition) with it
· Did not leverage on the business contacts made in this job
(Note: Being the day-to-day boss of this company’s operations this position commands lots of goodwill, respect and power (and not to mention other fringe benefits) from suppliers, customers, bankers and staff. At least one parallel career opportunity could have been leveraged from these ‘Assets’ – for more on Assets & Skillset >> )
· For choices of parallel careers see the Options section of Parallel Career Guide

Mistakes made

·Wasted too much time and spoilt health by too much night-time entertainment (by justifying that it’s all for business!)

·Inherited the sales targets set by predecessor without first fully understanding the market

(Note: It’s very common for overzealous planners to provide very optimistic sales forecasts because they have to impress/convince investors and others).

· Did not start a parallel career
Career change advice – spot-the-word competition

The E-Plus* Experience Good Career change advice – spot-the-word contest

Type of organisation:

Exclusive value-added-reseller (VAR) for a state-of-the-art network monitoring equipment

Job:

Product Support Engineer

Main roles/functions:

· Pre-selling support: set up the equipment to sniff the health of potential clients’ computer networks…24 hours later…retrieve data and prepare a network status report
· After sales support: respond to technical enquiries and assist in training customers’ technical staff
· Keep up-to-date on network monitoring in general and this equipment in particular.

Missed parallel career opportunities

· Was in the circulation list of industry publications and trade journals but did not seriously look for parallel career opportunities and ideas in them
(Note: If you found something interesting, wanted more information and called/wrote in for more details while in your current job, you’ll get a much better response than when you do not have a job).
·

Had plenty of opportunities to source for products in the same industry while attending numerous industry exhibitions and seminars
· Keep up-to-date on network monitoring in general and this equipment in particular. Reports to the Technical Manager
· Did not take the opportunity to seek advice from more technically experienced people and specialists encountered in the course of doing this job
(Note: Many people look at the company behind the employee. That’s why after you’ve left your company you may often find a cool reception from someone who seemed so helpful when you were an employee).
· Could have partnered others (not in the same company) to brainstorm and start a business utilizing knowledge and skills acquired in this job
· For choices of parallel careers see the Options section of Parallel Career Guide

Mistakes made

· Was too complacent; lived for the moment only and did not plan for the future
· Should have sharpen sales, marketing and/or writing skills
(Note: Sales, marketing and writing skills are essential in starting and developing most parallel careers).
(Remember those famous words: “The pen is mightier than the sword!”. This is so true when you start and develop a parallel career. You’ll need copywriting skills to produce powerful sales letters to potential customers and even suppliers. You’ll need to construct attention-grabbing headlines for ads and brochures).
(Build a parallel career based upon what you know (from work experience, hobbies, passions, or past-times). If you know your subject matter, and if you’re motivated to build a real business with growing, diversified revenues…see how to create information products from your Knowledge…and profit from it!>>>)
· Did not start a parallel career
Getting an overdose of parallel career change advice? Hope you’re still awake…

The Firex* Experience Good Career change advice – spot-the-word contest

Type of organisation:

Contractor for fire protection and security systems in buildings.

Job:

Purchasing Manager

Main roles/functions:

· Source and negotiate best terms for materials and equipment required for building projects
· Keep up-to-date on alternative sources of materials and equipment
· Work closely with the project management team to ensure materials and equipment arrive in time

Missed parallel career opportunities

· Could easily get prices, catalogues and samples from virtually every supplier in the industry – can you see a missed parallel career opportunity here?
· Was in the circulation list of industry publications and trade journals but did not seriously look for parallel career opportunities and ideas in them
(Note: Again…if you found something interesting, wanted more information and called/wrote in for more details while in your current job, you’ll get a much better response than when you do not have a job).
· Had plenty of opportunities to look for products and equipment in the fire protection and security industry while attending numerous industry exhibitions and seminars but did not do so.
· For choices of parallel careers see the Options section of Parallel Career Guide

Mistakes made

· No knowledge of this industry prior to taking on this job; would have had an advantage if stuck to previous industry
· (Note: This is not an absolute mistake. Some people do really well in a new industry)
· Should have sharpened sales, marketing and/or writing skills
· Did not start a parallel career

The CNB* Experience Good Career change advice – spot-the-word contest

Type of organisation:

Retail chain of beauty salons

Job:

Senior Aesthetician

Main roles/functions:

· Train new and junior beauty therapists
· Develop new beauty packages for clients in consultation with salon managers
· Access new/latest beauty products before using them on clients.

Missed parallel career opportunities

· Could have written a manual or published a website on beauty tips and/or Do-It-Yourself beauty treatments
· Could have prepared a course for aspiring beauty therapists
(Note: The manual and course above could be marketed at very little cost via the internet, adopting publishing-on-demand)
· Could have started a parallel career by applying to be the agent/distributor/importer for one of the new/latest beauty products.
(Note: There’ll be no conflict of interest as long as the retail chain’s customers are not targeted).
· For choices of parallel careers see the Options section of Parallel Career Guide

Mistakes made

Good Career change advice – spot-the-word contest

· Was too busy and committed with the job and helping to make someone else rich! Forgot about building something for own future. But then again…ParallelCareer.com was not around!

· Could have prepared a course for aspiring beauty therapists

· Should have learned more about business and sharpened copywriting skills

· Did not start a parallel career

* For legal and privacy reasons all names have been changed

Parallel Career Change Advice: Learn From Missed Opportunities and Mistakes…It’s Still NOT Too Late Now.

You can still do something about the following missed opportunities and mistakes extracted from the experiences above:

· …did not take the opportunity to import other (non-competitive) products.
· Could have produced an information product…
· Should have sharpened copywriting skills…
· Did not…source products…
· …did not…look for parallel career opportunities and ideas in industry publications and trade journals
· Could have prepared a course…
· Had plenty of opportunities to look for products and equipment…
· Should have sharpened sales and marketing skills, or acquired new qualifications (example, by enrolling in an online course)

Watch out for The Parallel Career newsletter where we’ll feature more real-life experiences and also other career change advice, tips and ideas.