12 Apr 2024

Is it the right time to change careers? A consultant answers common questions

6:49 am on 12 April 2024

Is it the right time to change careers? Consultants explain

A careers coach and consultant is advising people not to give up hope as government agencies plan to cut hundreds of jobs.

On Thursday, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage said it was looking at cutting 18 percent of its staff. It has been revealed the number of roles going at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has more than doubled to 286.

And more details have emerged on where planned job cuts will be at the Department of Conservation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of jobs are also going in the media industry.

Career Transition coach and career consultant Jennie Miller told Checkpoint the figures may look depressing, but job cuts had always been happening.

"There are some big changes that have been happening the whole time that the country just hasn't been made aware of but are now very much in the media eye because these are very public roles that we see everyday."

While the environment was different now, the writing was on the wall with what the government promised it would do during the general elections last year, Miller said.

"This has been foreseen for at least a couple of years, we've known we were going to go into recession, we chose to change to a coalition government that said it was going to take action on these things and they are.

"So we've got a recessionary economy, we've got a party who said they were going to do some severe cost-cutting and that's exactly what happened."

However, people were becoming short-sighted, she said.

"We go through these cycles all the time and we come out the other end.

"There is light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, you'd be surprised the number of who say 'Oh my God, I'm actually really glad this has happened. I've come out the other end and I'm so glad' because there's a big percentage of people who say actually I'm thinking about moving anyway, or who say I wasn't being very brave ... and I've actually come into something better than before."

Overcoming fear of competition

Some feared competition over the same roles would become more fierce, but people needed to remember that those made redundant in public service likely had non-government jobs previously, Miller said.

"The government's grown by such a huge amount, where have all these people come from?

For some people, it was an opportunity to change careers, but that did not always have to be the case, Miller said.

"We come back to that same picture that I just described whereby thinking about what's important to me, what's the contribution I want to make, who else is going to let me make that contribution? And sometimes it can be a big shift and sometimes it's not a big shift, but my work with people tells my that people find jobs, because they do."

'The thing to count on is yourself '

As for young people looking to go into these industry facing cuts, Miller advised them to, again, reflect on their identity.

"I'm a huge believer in looking inward, and with that young person, thinking about again, what I care about? How do I want to be in this world? Rather than what's the latest fashionable job? Where are my mates going? That's definitely a course for failure. But the idea is what am I interested in? Where can I learn more about that?

"My eldest son was interested in things at school that didn't really seem to go together, but he loved them and now he was in, until recently, augmented reality development, which did not exist when he was at school.

"So we don't know what the future is going hold, but the thing to count on is yourself - that you follow who are and what you bring to the world and we find an avenue."

It was no longer a case of wondering whether you would take the university or trades path, she said.

"It's about encouraging young people to understand who they are, what's their identity, what's their career identity and then look for opportunities, be out there experimenting, talking to people, going into workplaces."

Parents and families also needed to be supportive of young people's dreams, she said.

"All parents want their kids to be safe, and secure, and what they're talking about is financially secure - oh and happy, that word happy, how the hell do you define that? It's a big thing to put on kids.

"So parents, with all the best will in the world, don't know that much about the world or the world of work and really need to get behind their kids and kind of not lay down the rules because there are different rules now."

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