CAREER TRANSITION COACH MIMI DARMSTADTER TELLS PROFESSIONALS HOW TO DEVELOP A ‘PLAN B’ IN THE AUGUST 8, 2011, ISSUE OF WASHINGTON POST EXPRESS
“People sometimes need to ask themselves some very tough questions,” the owner of Mylifesworkcoaching.com told Post reporter Nevin Martell
August 15, 2011, Washington DC — Career transition coach Mimi Darmstadter knows the statistics. Since December 2007, 8.8 million people have lost their jobs, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
While devising a plan for an alternative “safety net” career is easier said than done, she told Washington Post Express reporter Nevin Martell this week that you can take steps now to find the perfect next career—even if you haven’t lost your job.
“Soul-searching is hard,” Darmstadter says. “I force people to ask themselves the tough questions: ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ ‘What’s important to me?’ ‘What are the implications for other people?’”
Consider her previous client, Joshua Lynsen, a former news and multimedia editor of the Washington Blade. While he liked his job, he didn’t think it was the perfect fit. He also didn’t want to be jobless in an economic downturn. So he took a proactive step and hired Darmstadter to help him consider his options.
Darmstadter believes that before leaving a job, the best approach is to:
• Have strong ideas about a Plan B (or Bs),
• Get your professional house in order (e.g. resume, elevator speech, strong network, interviewing skills), and
• Ensure that you have a resource “cushion” (e.g. finances, people, dedicated time).
“I have seen people make incredible changes that landed them in careers that they are much better suited to—even in this turbulent economy,” Darmstadter says. “The key is to stay calm, be strategic, and get a little help from a coach who can assist in the process.”
Darmstadter encouraged Lynsen to take stock of his skills and interests, and recommends the following approach to all of her clients: If you have some ideas about what you want to do and the skills required to do it, dip your toes in the water before plunging in. For example, take a class or do some volunteer work—even if it doesn’t seem like a viable career option or will lead to anything. Then evaluate your experiences with that new identity.
Her support helped Lynsen decide to leave his job, even without having a new one lined up. It was an important but hard step for him, Darmstadter observes, but the good news is that a few months later he landed a job at Chase Communications as an account executive and social media manager.
“It just goes to show what can happen when you follow your instincts and do the hard work of defining what you want to do,” she concludes. “I truly believe that everyone can have the job they want, so long as they do the hard work to figure out what that is.”
About Mimi Darmstadter
Mylifesworkcoaching.com owner Mimi Darmstadter has a passion for helping people experience success and satisfaction in their work—however they define it. The University of Michigan graduate, who is certified by the International Coach Federation, is also a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching program. She is the co-founder of Working MAMA (Metropolitan Area “working” Mother’s Alliance), which offers group coaching to working moms (www.workingmamagroup.com).
“Nothing is more important than professional fulfillment, particularly at a time when work requires higher levels of energy and time than ever before,” she says. “Supporting an individual or an organization’s capacity for work empowerment, excellence, and engagement matters most to me.”
For more information, visit mylifesworkcoaching.com, or call Darmstadter at 301–728–6487.