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From technician to teacher – career transition case study

From technician to teacher – career transition case study

Switching from technical to non-technical field (or contrariwise) is probably the most common career transition people experience. It’s a 180 degrees change, and it can often bring new joy and motivation to your everyday routine. Times when people stuck to the same career for their entire lives are long gone. Now you always have a chance to start afresh, to try something new…. But what steps should you take to transit your career smoothly?


Not every technician can be a good teacher

Skills required for a technician differ strongly from those required for a teacher. While one deals with machines (computers, assembly lines, electronics), the other one should not only deal with people, but actually lead and teach them. Before you decide to make a move to teaching, you should realistically consider (or hire someone who is able to consider it) whether you have inside of you the potential to become a good teacher, and whether you are ready to improve on your weaknesses.

If you had a chance to attend twenty different lectures at any University in the world, you would observe a common phenomenon–teaching technicians. Those are people who are extremely skilled in their field, but can’t really transfer the knowledge to another person. It’s a sad spectacle indeed, and you’d find it in every single high school or University.

In fact, if they wanted, they could have worked more on their communication skills, trying to improve their emotional intelligence. They could have learned various teaching methods, and actually became better teachers. So, even if you feel like not having the right teaching skills at the moment, you can still succeed in changing your career to teaching. It will just take you a little longer to realize your dream, and you should hire a career coach to suggest you the right steps to take.


Starting with your field, preparing for an interview

You’ll have much better chances if you opt for teaching your field. That means, if you are an IT guy, you should try getting a potion of an IT teacher. If you lack formal qualification required by law, your best bet at the beginning will be a private educational institution. Since not regulated by government, private institutions don’t need to stick to the laws regarding teachers’ qualification.

Once you get a job there you can work on your qualification simultaneously, completing a bachelor degree in education, and start working in a traditional school later. This path is often followed by technicians who decided to change their career, but lacked the degree in education.

Now you may ask the following question: Why would they choose you for the job, if there were many other applicants with the degree in education? Qualification isn’t the only deciding factor in an interview, especially if you apply for a job at a private institution. You should do your best to prepare for this meeting. Websites like can help you to understand which question they will ask you, and how to answer them. Be sure to study the most common questions and to practice your answers.


Alternative way

You can eventually avoid all the hassle with job interviews and earning a degree. World is full of private teachers (language teachers, math  teachers, IT teachers) who give lessons to students from all levels of society, ranging from children to adults, from school pupils to corporate leaders.

All you have to do to start teaching privately is getting a freelancing license, and preparing some marketing strategy to get your first clients. Nevertheless you’ll need to improve your teaching skills, so you not only get the students, but also retain them….

Entrepreneurship to employment transition

Entrepreneurship to employment transition

Many people start a business nowadays, following their life-long dream. But things don’t typically turn out well. The statistics show us that from every ten  companies, just two will survive the first five years of existence. Of course everybody hopes to end up in the right group, prospering with their business. But most often than not, it just won’t happen….

Coming back from entrepreneurship to employment is one of the most difficult career transitions. Business people are used to carry out a variety of tasks, and prepare their own schedule. And they often work in pajamas :). What a stark contrast to the trends one can observe in mid-size and big corporations. The companies aim for specialization, leaving you with ever-lessening variety of duties, and ever-diminishing freedom of choice. The question is how to manage this difficult transition successfully. Since, and this is something you need to understand: if the business failed, you likely have no other option than returning to work!


Opt for small business, or leadership roles

Finding right answers requires right questions at the first place. You should understand why you had decided for starting a business years ago, and also why things didn’t work out as planned. The information will help you understand the next steps you should take.

If you stared the business because you wanted to be your own boss, you should look for leadership or consultancy positions. In those you’d have as much freedom as possible within the thin borders of employment. And if you aren’t qualified enough to one of those, there are still decent options, such as a traveling salesman for example. Sales representatives are pretty much independent in their choices and have very little control from the boss. If they bring in sales, nobody cares what they do. What’s more, former businessmen often posses decent sales skills–it would be impossible to make it in business without having them.

On the contrary, your lack of marketing and sales skills might result in a fail of your business. Or, perhaps, you lacked the discipline. Suddenly no one told you what to do, and so you did nothing all day long, hanging around in your pajamas. If it is a case, you should look for a role with clearly specified duties. Big corporation will be a good choice in this case.

You might s well quit the business yourself, since you lacked the social contacts from the workplace. I think it is self explanatory which job you should.


Explain everything on your cover letter

From my experience, employers are rather reluctant to hire former freelancers and entrepreneurs, especially if they didn’t have a job for more than three years. Therefor it is crucial to clearly explain (on your cover letter) why you opted for a change, and ensure the employer that you know what you are doing, and won’t leave the company to start another business in six months time (what you still can do, but employer should not have the idea).


Prepare for the new challenges

This transition is quite challenging, especially if you’d been your own boss for a long time. Waking up each morning and going to the same place, observing the dress code, the working hours, and the orders isn’t easy for a former entrepreneur. You should prepare yourself for these challenges upfront, writing them down on a piece of paper, and analyzing them in your mind.

If you find it hard emotionally, focus on the positives. Job security, steady salary each month, no need to take care of bookkeeping …. hmm, that’s about it :). But there are some positives, and maybe you can find even more than I could find. I wish you good luck in this difficult career transition!


Career Transition Example – Social worker to accountant

Career Transition Example – Social worker to accountant

Social worker definitely belongs to the most important roles in our society. But the job often takes its toll on a person. You devote a lot of energy to your job, often working with the people on the fringe of society. Working hours can extend anytime, and you sometimes hear a load of bad words from people you are actually trying to help.

What’s more, in many countries social workers just don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s not uncommon that a stockroom worker earns more than a social worker does in Europe. Combining all these factors, no wonder that many people opt for a career transition. Some have worked in the field of social work for more than a decade, considering it their calling, but eventually the fire burned out….

Accountant, on the other hand, is a very perspective job. Everything changes once you make that career move–people you meet, your working hours, the principal nature of the work. Carla, one of my former clients, wanted to quit a social worker job, and looked for an alternative. After interviewing her, and understanding that she already knew some accounting, and couldn’t afford studying a completely new field, we decided to give it a try.


Steps I took with Carla to prepare her for the career transition

  1. Carla started to visit weekend accounting seminar, and polished her knowledge from the high school.
  2. We improved her resume, and wrote a very authentic cover letter, where she explained why she decided to change her career, and emphasized the strengths that should put her in a prime position to become a great accountant.
  3. We made of list of twenty companies in her neighborhood, that might be looking for an accountant, ranging from individual consultancy firms, to big corporations that advertised the job offers for entry level accountants.
  4. We prepared a strategy for the job interviews in these companies, using mostly the interview guide we found at website.
  5. Meanwhile, Carla kept her social worker job, to not struggle with her cash flow (she was a single mother of two back then).
  6. Once she completed the seminar, and felt ready, we crafted an individual application for seven from the twenty employers we identified earlier, and Carla brought it directly to the company. While waiting for a possible interview invitations, we once again went through the process of career change, and everything Carla should expect on her new journey. Soon enough, she got two interview invitations.
  7. Since she was well prepared, and knew how to answer even the most difficult questions (those about her decision to make a career change, and how she planned to handle the job she had never held before), Carla succeeded in both interviews.
  8. She terminated her contract with the previous employer and started her new career in a small consultancy firm, on a position of an assistant accountant. Once she gains some experience, she plans to open her own accounting company–something we talked about from a beginning, a change that will finally allow her to spend more time with her children. But that’s the next step….


Be realistic about your chances

Job market works like every other market – some positions are in demand, and some are not. Once you plan your transition to a highly technical field, you should consider how realistic your chances are. If the demand is very high and there’s no adequate supply in your area, you may manage to secure a new position even without previous experience. Juts as Carla did. But in order to do so, you need to plan your transition properly and prepare for the interview better than the other applicants.

Internal Transition – Career Transition within the same company

Internal Transition – Career Transition within the same company

Many corporations have grown huge in the recent decades. New phenomenon has developed with their growth–internal career transition. If you work for concerns like IBM, Siemens, General Motors or a company of a similar magnitude, you may change your career completely without applying for a job at another place. This kind of transition has both advantages and traps. We will try to look at them in this article.


Why people opt for internal transition?

Internal transition has many advantages when compared to the traditional one.

  • You have built some reputation already, and you know people that lead the company (or at least one department). Your closest superior should know your strengths and weaknesses, and can provide for you a bullet-proof reference.
  • With this transition, you won’t lose your social circles. You can theoretically still dine with the same folks, and possibly even discuss the company problems with them in the meeting rooms. Just your role on the meetings will differ to the original one.
  • Since the employer knows you already (and you, hopefully, managed to convince him of your value as an employee) he may be more benevolent regarding your education and experience relevant to the new field. When you opt for a traditional career transition, you may be often asked to advance your education, or even graduate from the new field, before being able to take the job. When applying for a transition within company, however, they may not demand so much from you. They may actually offer to sponsor your distant studies, while you will be already enjoying a new career.


You should think twice before opting for internal transition

On the other hand, there are some risks associated with this type of a career move. Among the most common belong:

  • You can be at risk of getting fired. If you aren’t in a good position with your superior, or generally aren’t sure about what the management think about your work performance, you should try and find out what they think about you before you apply for the new role. If you apply outside of the company, however, you can do it in secrecy, and don’t risk losing your original job in case things won’t go your way.
  • If you have any secondary plans, however, such as getting a raise, or changing your benefit program, opting for career transition within the company can deliver a serious blow to them, unless your name is in a good standing.


Combining internal and external

Another option is applying for the new role in the same company, but different country/territory. This one is quite common within the biggest corporations, since they run their offices all around the world. It is especially advisable if you like the company culture, but look for new people/places, look to start afresh.

And If you don’t like to bet all money on the same horse, you can work on more transitions simultaneously. Look into your network and start casting nets. Maybe it won’t work with your employer after all….. If that’s the case and you’re determined to make a career move anyway, it’s better to have something else going on.

From Teaching to Special Education – Career Transition Case Study

From Teaching to Special Education – Career Transition Case Study

Transition within the same field of industry is a specific one, and many would call it rather a job change. That would be a misconception, however, since even within the same filed, different jobs may require completely different education and competencies.

Experience of one of my latest clients, Masha, demonstrate it perfectly. She wanted to move from general teaching to special education, a transition that may seem easy for someone who hasn’t experienced it, or someone who considers all teaching jobs the same. However we can point out few crucial differences in these two careers, on both operational and emotional level.


Differences  between general teaching and special edu

  • Special education teachers must regularly assess student’s learning progress using critical thinking skills and work with students struggling with dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities or mental and physical handicaps. They prepare individualized learning plans based on each student’s needs. General teachers, on the contrary, work with students without a special condition, don’t prepare individual lesson plans, and interact with lesser number of bodies in their job.
  • Special education teachers need to obtain a license and bachelor’s degree in education and special education. On the contrary, bachelor in general education is enough for a teacher. Some states may offer an alternative special education licensing program for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, in a subject other than teaching (this was the case of Masha). Some states and/or employers require even more education, with a master’s degree requirement in special education for all special education teachers. Individuals interested in working with special needs children must check the specific degree requirements of their state.
  • Teaching is emotionally challenging, but special education takes the pressure to entirely new level. Dealing with special need children, one needs an increased level of patience and empathy, to be able to understand their needs, some of which they aren’t able to express. Consulting general teachers and parents also becomes more difficult for special education.
  • Special education teachers may choose to work with students bearing a specific condition or disorder. For example, students with autism,and those who are visually impaired require very unique needs. Choosing to specialize on one type of student can provide an advanced skill set and specialized knowledge to prepare more comprehensive and effective teaching plans. When in a process of transition, you need to choose the field (or opt for general) for your specialization. General teachers don’t face this obstacle, since their degree allows them to teach on all levels outside of special needs.

The differences are plenty, and it’s important to talk about each one. One thing is to follow a mission in your life, and believing that special education is your new calling, another one, however, is understanding the impact the change can have on all other areas of your life. Life is not only work and a wrongly chosen filed can prove costly at the end.


Steps on making a transition within the same job area

  1. Understanding all the nuances of the new field, as well as differences to the old one. Discussing the impact the change will have on other areas of life, and the family of the prospect.
  2. Planning necessary educational changes, looking for the easiest possible way to obtain required qualification.
  3. Making a plan with milestones, starting with taking final decision (for special education) and ending with being successfully established in the new career.
  4. Preparing for the process of job application. Helping with resume writing, internal/external application, preparing for an interview (in Masha’s case we used to practice interview answers).
  5. Once the job is acquired, understanding all formal needs, and supporting the client emotionally, with regular phone calls, discussing the emotional challenges the transitions brings.
  6. Final establishment in the new setting.



Many people underestimate career transitions from one related field to another. However, as you can see, even transition from teaching (general field) to special education (specialized filed within the general field) presents a lot of challenges. Having someone around who understands the challenges will help you to navigate through the process safely and sound….