Monday, September 14, 2009

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CAREERS - MAKING IT WORK - New Career? Joyce Schwarz: another Los Angeles Times interview

Another one -- this one I believe was from the careers and want ad section of the LA TIMES -- want ads-- email me and I'll explain what those were or what they are (if they still exist by the time you are reading this story! joyceschwarz(at)


September 12, 1994
Switching from a career as a computer systems designer to a financial planner may seem like a huge jump. And it would be if it were taken all at once.
Some recareerers know exactly what field they want to move into--they may have had a dream gnawing at them for years. But many, especially those pressured into making a move, need to delve into their job histories--all the way back to those lemonade stands--to get a fix on the things they are not only good at, but actually love doing.

"It's essential to have an open mind and get out of the (career) box they're in," says Kate Pope, director of counseling for Women at Work, a job and career resource center in Pasadena.

Janice Plessner, 31, of Irvine learned the value of identifying her passion. After several years working for her father's fund-raising company, she knew she wasn't being fulfilled. She sought help from a career counselor at Cal State Fullerton, who told her: "Don't think of a job. Think of what you love."

Your antenna should be up to gather information," she says. "Go with specific questions as if you were an outside consultant trying to get a fix on issues in the industry."

When you can start posing sophisticated questions, begin interviewing experts in the field. People who are active in professional groups are especially inclined to be helpful, but don't aim for those at the senior-most rung yet, because you're still testing your wings.

As you talk to more people, position yourself as someone bringing talents from your old career into the new area, says Joyce A. Schwarz, author of "Successful ReCareering" and a counselor in Los Angeles who helps professionals through career transitions.

What qualities do you bring from your old position that will make you stand out in the new one? Did you develop great writing skills, problem-solving skills, a feeling for a certain market that would be greatly valued in this new field? You don't want it to seem like you're starting from scratch.

"You're not starting over, you're starting better," Schwarz says