For anyone starting a new career, it is a time of excitement and nervousness. For people who are working in one profession and want to move completely into a new business, such as translation, or combine their current career with an old or new love in a different skill-set, it can appear challenging to start over. However, with the proper attitude and information, the transition to “double-hyphenate” status. What follows is a list of tips that will help those who are merging two professional interests experience a smooth transition:
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1. Read and research as much about the new industry as possible before entering it full-time. The tried and true saying “knowledge is power” rings particularly true for individuals who have spent many years focused on one industry, without having regular exposure to the framework of the new industry they are trying to enter.
2. Be proactive! Join as many professional associations, job boards, and list-serves as possible in order to familiarize yourself with the new industry. It is understandable to feel shy when making a foray into a new field, but the camaraderie of like-minded people is simply irreplaceable and invaluable.
3. If you still have an interest in your current or previous career, find creative ways to merge your two “professional loves”. Many clients and colleagues find it intriguing and beneficial to work with someone who has in-depth practical knowledge in more than one field.
4. Seek mentorship. Mentoring is as helpful to the mentor as it is to the mentee. The mentee receives valuable direction and can save much time by using the mentor’s advice. The mentor also keeps abreast of the current status of the evolving industry, and is able to fruitfully share their knowledge and assist someone who is new in the field.
5. Participate in discussions, ask questions, and write about your experiences. Read articles written by others in your fields of choice, and attend conferences, and seminars. There are many free print and online resources, including webinars that offer a wealth of information.
6. If you are a sole proprietor, it is very important to fight isolation and make a conscientious effort to connect with like-minded people, both within and outside of your profession(s) For example, an accountant who is also a interpreter can circulate within both the accounting and interpreting fields, but also connect with people outside of those fields who may need both of those services.
7. When faced with a challenging work dilemma, reach out to others for help. The law of reciprocal kindness never fails, and often, a problem blossoms into an opportunity for a long-term connection of mutual assistance.
8. Keep constantly on the look-out for new tools, both electronic and non-electronic, that will assist you in excelling in both your previous/current and new vocations. Build up your own personal reference library for your personal achievement.
9. Remember that there many skill-sets are transferable from one profession to another. Take along any resources and contacts from your previous or career that can set a firm foundation for your new venture.
10. Take care of your health physically with proper diet and exercise, and also allow for lots of emotional sunshine as you redefine yourself in a new role. It takes some time to determine exactly what this new role will look like, and a positive confident outlook will make the transition a pleasant and fascinating experience.
Suzanne White, B.A., LL.B.
Certified Linguist and Lawyer