How can you tell when your career has passed its expiration date?

In 2009 when the market first crashed, I remember being interviewed by ABC News in San Jose on Labor Day about what a job seeker should do after having been with a company for 10-20 years and then getting laid off?

The answer I gave them then, still holds true now. You have two choices:

1) You can spend 10 x the same amount of effort to get the same job back that you may have disliked or not been excited about.

OR

2) You can find something that you are passionate about, reinvent yourself and spend that same energy pursuing something that brings you joy and happiness.

The first step to figuring out if it is time to reinvent yourself is to figure out if you are still passionate about your current career. One way that you can do this is by asking yourself the following question:

“On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, how would you rate your interest in returning to the field that you have been in?”

If you rate your interest at a 7 or lower, it might be time to start re-evaluating what it is you want to do with your life. If you do rate your interest in your career a 7 or lower, the next step is to make a list of the pros and cons of your career.

In order to be able to move forward to pursue your passion, you first have to take inventory of what you are good at and what you enjoy focusing your energy on. Was it the industry that you didn’t like? Was it the type of work? Was it the people you worked with? All of these things have to be given consideration when figuring out what is next.

I recommend taking a sheet of paper and putting a line down the middle. At the top of one column list “Duties/Skills I enjoy” and on the other side “Duties/Skills I dislike.”

Once you have a list of what you are good at end enjoy doing, you can then begin to work with a career coach to fine tune what jobs you would be best suited for. You can also use online career assessment tests (http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp) to help you narrow down what fields you should pursue. Another one of my favorite tools to use when reinventing yourself is to find 10 people who you admire in fields you are potentially interested in and interview them about what it is they like about their field.