Career Advice

Q&A Part 1: Questions and Answers About Changing Careers | Ep #123

March 4, 2024

Q&A Part 1: Questions and Answers About Changing Careers | Ep #123 Join Host and Career Transition Coach, Shannon Russell, on a transformative journey of career clarity in this episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast. Shannon answers questions from women inside her recent Breakthrough Bootcamp group, as she offers advice on personal and professional […]

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Q&A Part 1: Questions and Answers About Changing Careers | Ep #123

Join Host and Career Transition Coach, Shannon Russell, on a transformative journey of career clarity in this episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast. Shannon answers questions from women inside her recent Breakthrough Bootcamp group, as she offers advice on personal and professional growth while giving practical strategies for overcoming doubt and fear while pursuing your second act career. From battling imposter syndrome to finding time amidst a hectic schedule, Shannon provides invaluable insights and actionable steps to empower you on your path to success. Whether you’re considering a career change, launching a side hustle, or stepping into entrepreneurship, this episode is your guide to breaking through barriers and making your second act dreams a reality. Tune in and embark on your journey to a fulfilling and rewarding career transformation.


Ep #123 Questions and Answers About Changing Careers


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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - Breakthrough Your Second Act Career: Questions and Answers About Changing Careers
Episode - #123
Host: Shannon Russell
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon Russell: Hey, you are you feeling stuck, desperate for a career change or thinking of starting a business, but you're just not sure how to make your first move. I'm television producer turned career coach Shannon Russell, and this is the Second Act Success Career Podcast. This is where you will not only get the career advice you've been craving, but you'll get tips from career and business along with inspiration from others who have made a career transition to find Second Act Success.

Let's get started.


[00:00:33] Shannon Russell: Hey there and welcome back to the Second Act Success Career Podcast. On this episode of the podcast, I am taking you inside my recent breakthrough bootcamp. I was joined by an amazing number of women who were just looking for clarity about their second act career and the move that they're going in. I did a couple of Q and a sessions during this bootcamp.


I found it to be really interesting because there was such a wide array of [00:01:00] questions that these women brought to me. So I thought it would be great to compile those question and answers. And share them with you on an episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast.

So here we are. Let's dive in. This is Q and a session.

Number one from my recent Breakthrough Bootcamp.

[00:01:17] Shannon Russell: I want to thank everyone for submitting questions.

Here's the first one. I feel like an imposter just thinking about a career change. How can I overcome them? This way of thinking. I for one can say that I have felt this way. I have clients that have felt this way. I have friends that feel this way in just thinking about it. So this is a very, very normal way to feel.

Imposter syndrome is definitely a thing. I think it's a way of kind of reframing that. mindset. So why are you feeling this way? Are you feeling unsure about the field that you're thinking about going into? And if that's the case, then you can start doing your [00:02:00] research and educating yourself about that field so that you can be more confident in it.

So maybe it's about Really knowing what the day to day is in that role. A lot of times we'll think, Oh, it sounds great to be a marketing exec. It sounds great to be a vet tech, whatever it might be, but we actually don't know what that person does on a day to day basis. So the more that you can have those informational interviews.

The more you can have time to really go to the library, read books, listen to podcasts, do your deep dive into what that role is, the more confident you'll be. And it goes back to what we discussed a little bit yesterday in our coaching session about that thread that really goes from our first act to our second act.

It allows you to kind of think of your Experience where you are now or experience from your past and what skills will lead into this new role. And once you start thinking about that and you start seeing that list compiled in front of you of this work that you know how to do and [00:03:00] all that you can contribute to this new company into this role, you'll get that confidence and you won't feel as much of an imposter.

Also It goes back to thinking about why do we care what other people think in a sense, right? If you're thinking that you want to better your life by making this career change because it's going to better your circumstances for one, two, three reasons. That's really all you need to know as far as making this leap, right?

You can be confident that you're doing this, that you're going to succeed because you're going to educate yourself, you're going to get confident about it, and you're going to make your move and learn that new position, that new role, that new industry. , leaping into a business. For example, if you've never owned a business before, that's all going to be new to you.

So you're going to learn along the way. It doesn't mean you're an imposter. It doesn't mean you can't do that. It means you're starting a new adventure, and you're learning as you [00:04:00] go, and you won't know if you're going to be good at it until you do it. Take that first step towards it. So just try to work on maybe your mindset piece for this because I want you to feel confident and not worry so much about what other people might think if that's where your mind is going or just knowing that you can learn along the way.

No one knows everything on day one. , so, yeah, I hope that helps a little bit. This is definitely a question I think so many of us have felt or are feeling. So you're not alone. All right.

Question number two. I have a lot of responsibilities at home with two kids and their activities, a long work commute that makes me exhausted at night plus making dinner, homework, et cetera. So how can I find the time in my day to take steps towards my next act? I raised my hand at this because I feel like even if you know your next act and you're settled with where you are, you still feel all of this [00:05:00] craziness, right?

Dealing with so many different aspects of your life that really can overwhelm you. So I agree. You are extremely busy. You've got your kids and their priorities plus your commute that makes you tired and you have all that work to do when you get home, right? It's like you never stop working. So I would say the The way you can find the time are in a couple of different ways.

So if you are in your work day, I suggest maybe finding that lunch hour if you do actually take a lunch. Many of my jobs I never took a lunch. We would just eat and keep on working at our desks. so if you are lucky enough to have a lunch break, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever it might be, how about you dedicate that time to eating while you're researching.

Maybe you do eat at your desk and you use that time to Google or to reach out to people in your network that can help answer questions for you. Maybe you can grab a book or listen to a podcast and start learning more about that role you can start [00:06:00] mapping out your year and start kind of figuring out when you want this change to take place.

So you're going to look at your calendar here's your calendar. You want to make your move in six months. Let's work backwards and think of all the things you need to do to accomplish this goal in six months. So you can start working on things like that over your dedicated lunch hour, but this takes dedication on your part, so you have to be willing to spend your lunch hour doing these tasks.

If it's not your lunch hour, I would suggest Maybe 15, 20 minutes when you first sit down in the morning, a lot of us sit down at our desks or our computers and we just scroll or we catch up on emails or we drink our coffee or we talk to our coworkers, whatever it might be. I always feel like that's like that time where we're kind of zoned out, kind of starting to get into the work day.

So if you feel like you do that, let's use that time submitting those resumes or looking over your own resume or doing your [00:07:00] research, finding whatever little small downtime breaks that you might have during your work day can really add up if you're willing to dedicate and say, okay, this is when I'm going to focus.

on my second act. Another time would be on your commute. If you're taking public transportation, like a train or a bus, then you have that commute time to really get to work and to really.

dive into what it is that you want to do. I have a client a past client of mine who actually did that. She took an entire course. She studied for it. She enrolled in this program and got her certification during her hour and a half commute from Manhattan to where she lived in the suburbs. So it can be done again with that dedication and that mindset of I'm going to focus.

During that time, if you are driving for your commute, then I would suggest going the podcast route or the audio book route where you can actually get yourself in that mind frame of learning and thinking about your second act [00:08:00] while you're driving. So maybe it's a book about your field that you're thinking about going into a book about entrepreneurship.

Maybe it's an audio book about someone who's already in your role that you want, and you're listening to them tell their story. There's so many things that you can listen to. And again, podcast. You can literally go to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and type in any field that you're interested in and scroll and see a podcast that would be, informational and beneficial to you.

Really just dive in and try to take that commuting time and turn that into productivity time. Of course, just to answer your other question of being home and being exhausted and still having to work with your children and the household duties. What I would suggest is Get all of their stuff done first, right?

Do the dinner, do the homework, get them showered, bathed. If there's any downtime, sometimes my kids will veg out on the iPad for a little bit or they'll watch a show and [00:09:00] if they don't really care if I'm hanging out with them, I'll take that 30 minutes to go and do something I need to do for work. I don't do it all the time, but I am very aware.

If they're watching something that they don't care if I'm enjoying it with them, I'll sneak away or I'll read a book or I'll try to do something during that time. Just last night, I was at my son's basketball game and I know this is awful, but every time he wasn't actually playing, I was reading this book.

book that I've been trying to get through this business book. And I kept telling him when we got in the car, I was watching every time you played. But when you were on the bench, I was reading. So just so you know, I wasn't reading when you were playing, but it was just about being that multitasker and trying to get things done in the time that we have because we do a lot and there isn't a lot of free time.

Maybe you can relate to that. And of course, if you do have energy left when the kids do go to sleep. then that is a time to give yourself a good hour or so to work on this. Maybe it's not every night, maybe it's once [00:10:00] a week, , but just trying to carve out time in your schedule that is for you.

This is part of what you need to do to feel better and to put yourself in a happier position. Even if it's on the weekend, if you Find a little block of time that maybe you would be doing something else, but instead you can say, okay, well, every weekend I'm going to now do research and work on me for one hour.

It's really looking at your schedule, your week and figuring out what works for you. But dedicating that time is, is the major key. All right. Question number three. After baby number two, I decided to stay home. Now with my three kids in school, I want to get back to work.

How do I explain that long gap in my work experience on my resume or while I'm in an interview with an employer? this is another really great and very popular question because so many people worry about that gap in Employment [00:11:00] so it can be when you're on maternity leave It could be if you were laid off and you had those, months or time span when you were looking for work, whatever it is.

We need to get creative there is most likely a valid reason for that time off in your work. Maybe you were taking care of a sick parent. Maybe you were choosing to be a stay at home parent during that time.

Maybe you were laid off or you were let go. And you were having a lot of trouble finding work, or maybe that is when you were trying to figure out your second act and really pivot. During that time, I would say to use it in a way that serves you. So, on your resume, it is completely okay to post that during this break.

I was a stay at home parent. And during that time I did X, Y, and Z. I volunteered at school. I organized the PTA fundraiser. I was a class parent. I did [00:12:00] X, Y, Z, whatever it might be, list those because that is what you worked on during that time. Maybe you homeschooled your children during that time, list that out.

That is a Job opportunity a work responsibility that you had and that can go on your resume It really does explain it rather than have someone worry and question why there's a gap if it's a gap You know for a more personal reason you can list that there that you took a sabbatical Or a personal hiatus during this time.

If it comes up in an interview and they want to ask you about it, then you can have the conversation. But if it's on your resume and documented and kind of bulleted like that, you don't have to go into detail, but it's there for that hiring manager or recruiter to see that and know that, okay, that's why you were off.

If it is that you have, you know, been let go from your job or there was a situation where you had to leave a job and you were in that limbo of trying to find your next. role. [00:13:00] I would explain that as well and you'll explain it better. Obviously, when you're in an interview and having that conversation, you can be truthful.

But during that time, if you were volunteering, if you were taking any certification classes, you can list that time off where you were doing self education. So there's ways to add that in there again, so that the time is documented and you explain what you were doing and you can explain it creatively.

You can explain that you were doing. Certification, you were visiting your local, unemployment agency and working with them. You were taking different, workshops locally in your community to learn more skills.

And honestly, as we all know, looking for work is a full time job in itself. So I think being able to list that there and explain what you were doing that was Productive during that time is really a key in explaining that time off and more importantly, be confident with why you have that gap and what you were doing, doing during that time, because [00:14:00] when you are face to face or speaking with someone and explaining that you want to be confident.

You don't want to be floundering and kind of saying, uh, This is what I was doing. Be confident. This is why I took this time off and I think I am better for it because of this.

Industries are really changing and hiring managers are a lot more open to the idea of sabbaticals and time off. It's a lot more acceptable. One of my best friends is actually taking a sabbatical from his job for about six months and he's traveling Europe and there's a lot of personal reasons why he's doing it.

And then there's also reasons he needed to step away from work and he had, , or has a company that he works for that was very understanding. And so, if he were to leave his current company and go somewhere else, he can explain. This is what I did during this time. This is why I was productive.

This is why I chose to do it. So it's not as scary of a situation to be in as it may have been in the past. Just be [00:15:00] confident about it. All right. Question number four, I have had several unpleasant work experiences, and after this latest one, I don't think I can handle working for someone else ever again.

I have been thinking about starting my own business, but I don't even know where to begin. Please. Okay. , I'm sure some of you who are here with us can relate to unpleasant work experiences, and they really can drive us to say, okay, I want to be my own boss. And if you are feeling that way, I think.

You need to go for it. You need to research and you need to start thinking about what you can do using your skills to create your own company, to create your own business and be your own boss. Here is where I would suggest that you start. Researching, try to narrow down your idea and find other businesses that are similar to the one that you're thinking about and really do your market research and learn as much as you can about that company.[00:16:00]

By just Googling following them on social by looking at the post they make by looking at the offerings that they have by looking at what they sell, how they make money and you'll learn a little bit more and get ideas that you can pull into the idea that you have for your own business.

Second, I would suggest meeting with your local SBA, your small business association. They have them all over. If they're not in your town, they'll be in a larger city or town close to you and they will set up appointments with you. They will give you an advisor where you can sit down with them and just tell them that you are starting with a blank slate and you want to learn about creating a business.

They will want you to have at least an idea of what it is that you are thinking about going into. Okay. So is it an online business where you can sell products or services? Is it an actual brick and mortar business like a gym or a store, you know, have your idea before you're meeting with the SBA. [00:17:00] But then when you're there, they really have resources and people who can assist you and guiding you along the way.

They can introduce you to people to talk to other business owners in the area. They really have all the resources to start when you're, when you're brand new to this. Other ways is just to do your research online. When I began my business, my first business was a franchise. So a franchise business is where you're joining into someone else's business.

You're buying the rights to build a business, kind of like a McDonald's, right? If you buy into a McDonald's, they're giving you everything you need to run that McDonald's. And so you're getting that infrastructure of that business. You're getting everything you need. So I often say that franchises are actually a great business business model in the sense that you can go in with no experience in the business world and they will give you everything that you need to start fresh and to really follow their, [00:18:00] dictated path that they've already found to be successful.

If you're not thinking about a franchise, then a regular business, you just want to do similar. Research online. As far as what kind of business entity do you want? Do you want an LLC? Do you want an S Corp? Are you going to be a sole proprietor? You can research this. Once you know what kind of business you are, you're going to need to set that up.

You're going to need to do all the proper paperwork, get yourself incorporated. and then it's the process. Accounting part of it, finding a bookkeeper, opening a business bank account. All of these little steps.

But, it really is starting slow and steady. The SBA again is a really great place. Google is your friend, but I think if you know for a fact that you can't go back to working for someone else, That's okay. And it's a great realization to have because now you know how you can move forward just spend a little bit of time thinking about the experience that you [00:19:00] have that you'd be bringing into this business.

Maybe you want to open a business using those skills or a business that's similar to the one that you're leaving. But definitely, go for it, I would say. All right, question number five. My husband and I both contribute financially to our family, so I will have to keep my paycheck while I work on my second act idea.

How much time would you suggest I spend on figuring out my next career move? Will I be able to do this and work full time too? this is a great question and I feel like we answered this. In a previous question, a little bit about having, a chance to really look at your day, your schedule and figure out when you can work on your second act during the day while you're working, while you're earning that paycheck.

Start to do that. Start to find time, whether it's at the beginning of the day, at your lunch break, when the kids are asleep, , on your commute, any of those ways that we discussed a little earlier in this [00:20:00] session, , on how you can work on things while you're working. Also, I would say as far as how much time to spend, I mean, ideally, if you can spend an hour a day, you are golden because that's a great amount of time a day to not.

The overwhelming that can actually be doable and you can get a lot, a lot done in an hour. If you can't do an hour a day, I would say if you could give yourself two hours throughout the work week and even two hours on the weekend, right? So you're going to aim for Anywhere, I guess, between four and ten hours a week would be ideal.

And you can start off slow. It might be, okay, my partner is taking the kids out for two hours to a birthday party on the weekend. I'm going to be the one who's staying home and using that two hours to work on my second act idea. So it's finding the time within your day. If you are a scheduled person, very type A like myself, [00:21:00] you're always looking ahead.

For the next days in front of you. So try to schedule it in whenever you can because it's important for you. You're not going to be able to move and really make that career change without dedicating the time. So it doesn't have to be a full time job to do this necessarily. It just means for you to be.

strict with yourself on when you're scheduling the time and to make sure you stick with it. so It's very, very much doable working full time. It's just finding that time outside of your nine to five to get stuff done. I want to just add one more thing here as I'm thinking about it.

For those of you who know you might be switching to a field that's completely different and you might need some training or extra education or maybe it's a new degree or a certification of some kind that you can do that. Online, you can find so many programs online now, and you can do that again during breaks during your actual workday job [00:22:00] or at night.

As an example, I was working towards my master's while I worked full time and had a newborn and a three year old at the time. So. You can figure it out. I would just work an hour or so at night when the kids went to sleep on my program. And if you're doing like a shorter workshop or certification course and you can find one that you can do online, then you can find the time to really work on that while you're working full time as well.

Question number six. I have been considering taking the crafts and art projects I make for fun on the side and turning them into an online business on Etsy.

For some reason, the fear of what my friends and family will think about this stops me. Any advice? First off, I love arts and crafts. I love that kind of world. I'm a huge Etsy fan. Online shops like Etsy are amazing and it's a great way to start a business on a smaller scale and then you can grow it.

When you're [00:23:00] ready and as you're ready, so I love that you've already been making these projects. It sounds like on the side I don't know if you've been like charging money and making money from them But I love that you're already working on this So you obviously already have the time in your week to make these projects So if you're going to start making them into an online business on Etsy What's stopping you other than the fact that?

That you're worried about what other people think. Let's take that out of the picture first and talk about the idea for the business that you have. You already have an idea about what you would want to sell and you have an idea of where you would like to sell it. Those are two really huge Boxes that you've already checked.

Etsy has great ways of just walking you through to set those up as well to set up your own shop. So that is something that you can very easily do and wouldn't take a whole lot of time to figure out. And if you are into arts and crafts, I'm sure the whole idea of designing your shop, making your logo, [00:24:00] taking the pictures of your crafts.

I'm sure all of that is right up your alley. So that could be a really fun undertaking for you. Now, as far as the fear of what other people think, I can't tell you how many people I talked to about this issue. We talked about it earlier with the imposter question as well. It's very hard to say, Oh, just don't worry about what they think you're starting this with very little time investment or money investment, most likely.

So if you're starting this business, you can ideally start it. If you have another full time job, you can ideally start it by offering only a couple of products or, projects, if you will, at a time. You can open up a shop with five items that you have ready because I'm assuming if people buy these, then you need to make them to, sell them and distribute them to your customers.

So you can start off small where if you all of a sudden opened your doors and you had. 20 [00:25:00] orders in the first hour. That would feel exciting but overwhelming, I'm sure. But you would be able to make those 20 items and ship those out. You don't want to start with 100 items and then have 100 orders right away.

That might be a little overwhelming. Start it small launch this without really letting people know that you've launched this, you can set this up. You can do all this work in the background and when you have it up on Etsy and whatever it is that you're doing to promote You can do it in a way where you're not posting on your personal social media and when you feel confident You can start telling people and they're going to not be shocked and surprised that you didn't tell them.

They're going to be shocked and surprised at how exciting this is that you created this and you did this without telling people. don't worry about what they say. Your friends and family can actually be your best supporters. Again, if you do it in a way where, hey, this isn't too much skin off my [00:26:00] back.

I am trying this. If no one buys anything a year from now. Then I can close the shop, but you're trying it and I think people will be very supportive of it, especially if they're already liking the projects and the things that you're creating now. I hope that that fear can kind of dwindle when you think about how realistic this actually could be for you.

There's another thing I often tell my clients, when they tell me that, they may have a partner or a family member that is not supportive. I often say, and I truly believe that you can keep your dreams or your goals or what you're working on close to your vest and get the confidence, get your education, start moving things around along, along the path.

And when you're ready to tell people you're that much more confident that the naysaying Things are the negative comments that you might get from them won't hold as much weight because you're confident in what it is that you're creating. you don't have to tell people right off the bat. You can get [00:27:00] it all up and running.

You can have 100 sales and then. Share the link on your personal pages and start telling people it can be completely However, you feel most comfortable But it sounds just from the look of this question that you're really on board and excited about this idea And I would hate for you to not pursue it because of your fear of what other people would think So I hope that helped a little bit

[00:27:26] Shannon Russell: Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act success. To view show notes from this episode, visit Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much.

Thank you again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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