How to Reinvent When You Don’t Like Risks



Are you looking to make over your career and try out something new? Many people are, but they fear taking the plunge into a new field without some prior due diligence. If you are ready for a change, you could consider test driving a new career or profession. Doing so would give you insights into what a typical day is like, the skills you would need, and how your new salary might compare to your current one. And, of course, road testing a new field gives you ample opportunity to build new connections and network in this field.

Here are some options that will allow you to road test a new field:



One way to try out a new career or occupation is to engage in volunteer work in the new field. This method will place you in a position or organization that intrigues you. It will provide you with an unlimited view into how this type of work fits your interests, passions, and goals. And, it will provide you with insight as to whether your skills match up to this type of position. At the same time, volunteering can open up new networking avenues for you, which may be useful later if you decide to pursue this field.

Another method of shifting career directions involves formal education and or additional professional or continuing development; this will help you decide if you really like the subject. If you know your future direction, and can afford it, you can go back to college full time, pick up your new graduate degree, and move on to your new occupation. If you can’t afford that option, you can enroll in a part-time graduate or certification program or take individual professional courses, classes, and seminars from a professional association in your efforts to change your career.
Also, don’t forget to check out your local community college’s continuing studies courses as well as adult education courses.


Go on a Vocation Vacation

If volunteering doesn’t work for your schedule or commitment, you might want to consider another option. Vocation Vacations ( is a company that organizes career-discovery vacations that allow you to spend several days with someone working in an occupation you might want to pursue.


Organize your own Vocation Vacation

The founder of Vocation Vacations, Brian Kurth, has written a wonderful book on this concept (link below), which describes how to use this avenue to test out a dream career. In the book, he discusses how you can organize and plan your own Vocation Vacation, should you wish to take this approach.


Take a hobby and start charging for your services

Another way to see if you might like doing something on a full-time basis is to take a hobby you have and start charging for your services. I once worked with a client who was an amateur photographer and totally loved this work. She would take photos at all of her friends’ parties, weddings, and events. When she was thinking of going into this field on a full-time basis, I encouraged her to try this out slowly by charging minimally for her services to road test the concept. As soon as this client told her friends, the word-of-mouth circuit worked its magic and my client had more work than she could handle. This, of course, raises other issues and challenges, especially if you are working full time, but it is certainly nice to know you have backup options.


Work Part Time

A similar method would be to keep your current job (or a reduced-hour version of your current job), and then start working part time in a new field that you want to explore. So much work is contracted out that you can get experience working in a prospective career through freelance or temp work. It will make your schedule busier, but it also will bring in some money and give you experience to add to your résumé.