Make us your home page
Jobs | Changing careers

To switch careers, lean on resources

If you want to switch careers, join a professional organization in your target field, and read trade magazines and websites.

If you want to switch careers, join a professional organization in your target field, and read trade magazines and websites.

More than 8 million Americans between 44 and 77 are embarking on new careers. And new research from the nonprofit Civic Ventures estimates that by 2018 there will be 3.5 million more jobs in health care and social services, 800,000 new education jobs and 400,000 nonprofit ones. These jobs build on work and life experiences, making them good matches for career changers. • But career expansion takes place in every sector, and many are following their passions into creative fields. • Take Rick Mofina. The former journalist became a novelist and has since written 11 thrillers. It helped, of course, that he was able to draw on his reporting experiences, including covering a serial-killing case in California and an armored car heist in Las Vegas. • "We've all had adventures that could turn out to be useful in our work lives," says Mofina, whose latest novel, The Panic Zone, features a reporter sent on a dangerous assignment investigating the murder of two of his colleagues. • But you don't need to be a jet-setting journalist to consider an encore career. Here are some tips for anybody deciding what's next:

For love or money: Determine if your savings will allow you to embark on a new career without return on investment. If so, be adventurous and follow passions. If not, seek to use your existing skills in new ways.

Narrow your search: Ask for informational interviews with different organizations to determine where you might fit within a new field. For example, business-minded professionals seeking to help kids might be ideal for nonprofit management positions.

Dig deep: Draw creatively on previous experiences. "Our lives might seem compartmentalized, but every experience informs the others," says Mofina, whose interaction with two CIA agents in Jamaica turned into a fiction plotting device. You may be surprised at how many experiences you've had that you can leverage into a new career.

Find a mentor: Just as you have helpful knowledge for someone starting out, someone younger may be able to teach you a thing or two. For example, a senior could learn computer skills from a recent college grad in return for sharing knowledge of an industry.

Tap resources: Join professional organizations in fields that interest you. Subscribe to newsletters or trade magazines. Websites like also can help with free career resources.

Know thyself: Do you want to work a few hours weekly, or are you willing to toil hard to launch a business or writing career? The beauty of an encore career is you now have a choice. "My alarm is set for 4:30 a.m.," says Mofina, who also works as a communications adviser and writes on the bus to work. "But I wouldn't be able to stop doing this if I tried."

To switch careers, lean on resources 07/19/10 [Last modified: Monday, July 19, 2010 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]
  2. Calling it a 'dangerous precedent,' Tampa chamber opposes city tax increase


    TAMPA — Calling the possibility a "dangerous precedent," the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce on Thursday took the rare step of opposing City Hall's proposal to raise Tampa's property tax rate because of its impact on business.

    The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce voted against supporting a city tax hike on commercial property. Pictured is Bob Rohrlack, CEO of the chamber. | [Times file photo]
  3. Did Hurricane Irma speed the end of Florida orange juice?


    Hurricane Irma plundered Florida's orange belt, leaving a trail of uprooted trees, downed fruit and flooded groves worse than anything growers say they have seen in more than 20 years.

    A large number of oranges lie on the ground at the Story Grove orange grove in the wake of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 13, 2017, in Lake Wales. [Photo by Brian Blanco | Getty Images]
  4. St. Petersburg's newest hotel opens with craft beers, cocktails and Cozy Corners

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Last spring, Ryan Tarrant applied for a job with the new Hyatt Place nearing completion in downtown St. Petersburg. Among the questions an interviewer asked:

    What does this hotel need to succeed?

    Hybar, a bar area with outdoor seating  that will feature craft drinks and Sunday brunch starting Oct. 1, is ready to open at the new Hyatt Place hotel at  25 2nd St. N in downtown St. Petersburg. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. Culver's crosses into Brandon near Selmon Expressway


    BRANDON — Like many children, Theresa Hutchins recalls pleading with her parents to take her for ice cream.

    Theresa Hutchins and her fianc? Mike Carelli opened the Tampa Bay area’s newest Culver’s August 28 in Brandon at 2470 S Falkenburg Road.