5 Huge Screwups Career Changers Make

Jeff Altman
5 min readSep 25

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

When I graduated from college, I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to become one because I used to watch the old TV show, “Perry Mason,” and was able to figure out the murderer every week for years on end. I also noticed that Mason only took two checks — one was from a little old lady whom he saved from a death sentence and she paid him something like $25. The other check he took made his eyes light up when he read it. “Thank you very much,” he proclaimed. That was why I was interested in being a lawyer.

I never spoke to a lawyer about what it was like to be one. I didn’t research the schools where I could get my degree. I wanted to be Raymond Burr in “Perry Mason.”

As I speak to career changers, I find many have their version of my immature reasons for wanting to change to their new profession. One recently told me they were interested because of a movie they saw. Like I said, not very different than my thinking.

So here are a few of the mistakes career changers make when they proclaim their desire to change careers.

  1. Like me, you have never spoken with anyone about what it is like to work in their new field. They don’t know what the day-to-day work will be like. They have a romantic notion about what to expect. What to do instead? Like changing jobs to something related, informational interviews are a golden way to do it.
  2. They have magical thinking about what their new salary will be. “I make $120000 and I cannot work for anything less, “one career changer told me. Unfortunately, very few beginners are able to command their current salaries in their new positions. What can you do instead? Get clear about what compensation you can really afford to make this change. You may have golden handcuffs.
  3. You don’t make time? “I work a full day. I don’t have time to (take training, talk to people, start a side business, learn what it is like to work in this field, etc.). They act like big babies who want everything and aren’t willing to make sacrifices. What can you do instead? Turn off the tv for 1 hour per day and…
Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you