Optimistic real world advice versus optimistic delusion thinking

” I have been working in human resources for 30 years.  I’m sick of it and want to try something new.” So began an e-mail exchange with Judy, a 55 year old HR executive in Hartford. I have absolutely no interest in filling my calendar with people that I cannot help so I often ask a few preliminary questions when I receive e-mail inquiries that present something that might be complicated. A 55 year old with singular expertise who wants to do something else is easy enough if the person is willing to deal with whatever transition costs and paying dues needs to occur.  Helping career counseling clients with such work is exactly what I do.  In this case, however, Judy added: “I can’t make any less than $120,000 and also need to have full benefits.” She emphasized that she couldn’t earn even a dollar less because of college costs for her two children and indeed was hopeful that she could earn more than $120,000.
After further confirmation that she didn’t want to merely switch companies – her company was fine – but wanted to get out of HR entirely, that she had no interest in any entrepreneurial path, and that she had no willingness to pay her dues with a lower salary for a period of time with the hope of getting a higher salary sometime later, I declined meeting with Judy and explained why.
While I’m not sure if it ever was the case that someone earning six figures due to a specific expertise could simply transition fields without earning less money, I know for certain that in 2015 companies are not seeking to add high salaried 50 something executives in areas outside their expertise.
I am a positive optimist and routinely come up with out of the box suggestions for career counseling clients seeking to switch fields. I live, however, very much in the real world of jobs and careers. I deeply understand the Connecticut job market as well as entrepreneurial possibilities in Connecticut. I will provide career guidance that leads to real world success. That’s what you should seek in 2016.