Changing Careers? Take a lesson from a Millenial

Gotta love the millennials, those 18 – 33 year olds who will account for half of the workforce by 2020.  I envy this generation’s comfort with risk taking, always having been change and risk adverse myself.  I was just talking to an intern at my fitness center and, upon learning that she was from Colorado, asked her how she ended up interning in Florida.  riskShe told me she had several intern opportunities near her hometown of Colorado Springs; however, had always lived there and jumped at the opportunity to work in Tampa, learning about another part of the country and meeting diverse people.  As I worked out on the treadmill, I observed her with others exercising.  She is industrious, approaches members with sincere interest and has, I have heard, introduced new ideas and improvements to the center. The fitness manager raves about her and has already 

already incorporated ideas she pitched to him.  He described her as a “hard working risk taker” and was disappointed at the prospect of seeing her leave after three months.

Could this be another side of the Millennial, who is often depicted as being “entitled, spoiled and self centered”?  While we all have heard these complaints of this youngest generation in today’s workforce, we can’t also help but notice their refreshing perspectives.  While they may, indeed, expect recognition programs for things we assume we need to do just to maintain our jobs, they also worry less about recognition because they know they will receive it.  As a result, they experience more freedom to explore new ideas, approach problem solving more open mindedly with far less worry and approach new risks with a can-do attitude.

How does that relate to some of us, who upon reaching the mid to later points of our careers, wish we could make a change but fear doing so or don’t know where to begin?  I was at that point a few years ago:  feeling “stuck” and wanting to pursue something new, where I could play to my strengths and find a new interest – dare I say passion?  Here are suggestions for getting “unstuck” and pursuing that yearning for a new challenge:


  • Overcome your hesitancy and fear by making a list of all your achievements and accomplishments.
  • Which accomplishments brought you most satisfaction, most pleasure?
  • From this list, what were the common themes? How did you accomplish what you did?  Just as many successful companies conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis to determine strengths and weaknesses, you should know what you do best and that may give you a sense of your directional change.
  • What careers are aligned with your strengths and preferences? Or how can you add new opportunities to your existing situation? 


  • Volunteer work, using your strengths and passions, will give you an opportunity to dip one toe in the water while keeping your “day job” (exactly what I have done with my career coaching practice).
  • Be inspired by others who have made the transition.  More and more seasoned professionals are leaving the security of the corporate world and venturing out as entrepreneurs.  Most will tell you they never regret the decision.  Others, who worked for one organization for decades, were rejuvenated when they left for another company.
  • LEARN, LEARN, LEARN and READ, READ, READ. Pursue your interest by self study, online classes or classroom experiences.  Consider a certification that complements what you are doing now or in a totally new area.

Career transitions can be intimidating so stay energized, recall your past positive experiences, surround yourself with inspirational people and your tendency to be fearful will be replaced with a boost of confidence.  If all else fails, have coffee with a Millennial.

(Patricia Edwards, founder of, bases her job search strategies and career coaching on over 25 years as a Human Resources Leader, selecting and developing high potentials to their success at all stages of their careers.  She coaches others to find a purposeful career through identification of key strengths, talents and gifts.)

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