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Pulling the Trigger on an Encore Career


I often work with clients who conduct the research necessary to determine an encore career (see last month’s blog), and then they decide that they want to stay where they are. I have had many conversations with my clients on why they don’t pull the trigger on moving ahead with a different career. Here are some of the reasons they choose to stay…

encore-career· Their current job is now viewed in a different light because they have taken the time to list all the benefits (using their skills, enjoying the work and colleagues and the steady paycheck). The coaching process has revealed that the job isn’t as bad as they thought it was. A renewed appreciation for the job certainly is a viable solution. One of my clients, a banker, realized that the newly instituted selling quotas that he was so upset about, were easy enough for him to meet and exceed.

· The golden handcuffs are just too alluring. Sometimes, when you get to age 55+, starting at the bottom with a new career is a jolt financially, particularly if there are pension benefits that could be affected. Many are willing to go the extra 7-10 years and mine the field they are in. One of my clients searched within her company for a new position. Because of her long standing track record, she was able to fill a gap and create a job. Another client applied for a different position and was willing to move.

· Back to school is a financial hardship or just not worth the effort. A total wholesale change into a new career often requires several years to obtain the appropriate certificate or university degrees. One client overcame this by staying at her current job and going to school at night. Two years later she had a Masters in school counseling and gainfully employed, loving every minute.

· A lack of courage prevents them from taking the plunge. Gremlins are in full force to tell us that “we are not good enough”, “we are too old”, or ask us “who do we think we are”. This is normal. Working with a coach to overcome that sabotaging self talk is helpful. Having someone in your corner cheerleading you all along way is key.

· Lack of support from family and friends. When clients reveal their dream job to family and friends they often get pushback and as begin to listen to the negativity, it makes them question what they are doing. It is not easy to go against the tide of those who think they know what is best for you. One client made an announcement on her birthday to her family and friends that it was important to her to have their support in her new venture of developing a catering business. She assigned each of them a task in launching her company so they understood that she wanted their help, and they realized this was not a passing fancy.

· Not enough money to start your own business or buy a franchise is often a deal breaker. The fact that clients conduct the due diligence and come to the conclusion that the financial timing may not be perfect now is critical. Walking away from being over your head in financial debt always makes sense. Not enough money is another reason when the encore career pays less than your current job. One of my clients, wanted to pursue a new career knowing he would make 50% less teaching. I encouraged him to review his budget to determine what he could cut out and then to live on that 50% less for three months to give it a test drive. Fortunately for him, he went on to become a high school math teacher and managed just fine financially and got is psychic kicks out of teaching and making a difference in student lives.

All the reasons above make sense to not pull the trigger on an encore career and it is totally okay to do so based upon your research and careful deliberation. It destroys the myths circulating in your head years later about “what if I had done this?” You can say you made an informed and conscious choice. However, if it is your dream job and it nags away at you because you really want to do it, I encourage you to think about ways to make it happen like some of my clients above.

We hope this is helpful to you! Katie Weiser, Career Coach at

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