By Sunny Simon

     My new client, Iris, a highly successfully professional is facing a dilemma. She currently works for a high tech firm as VP of Sales. Although her work brings her the opportunity to lead the charge at selling the company’s products, a sizeable compensation package and some pretty cool perks, Iris wants something different. She is willing to downshift into a less demanding job allowing her to have a better shot at work-life balance.

     At some point, many executives who want to slow it down making more time for family and other priorities are willing to take a pay cut and a lesser job.  Those making the trip back down the career ladder often encounter a few obstacles. Many hiring managers take issue with a job candidate perceived as overqualified. Resumes get rejected without a second thought.

     What is the best way to eliminate barriers prohibiting a high level professional from scoring a position requiring less experience? Iris and I agreed that due to the company’s outlook on stepping down, staying with her current company is not an option. My first piece of advice starts with discovery. Begin where all job seekers start, come up with a list of target companies. Iris must thoroughly investigate company cultures and find baby boomer friendly organizations who support work-life balance.


     Connecting with her network is the next step. Over the years my client created an extensive following of clients and colleagues. Spending some time having conversations with others who could provide assistance and information can open doors to getting interviews with the companies on her target list.  The object is getting people on her team and engaging them in her job search.

     Once she networks her way into an interview providing positive and well thought out reasons for her career move is paramount. For example, Iris spent over 75% of her work-life traveling. Explaining to a hiring manager that her goal is finding a position with reduced travel and more predictability makes sense. She must also convince any potential employer that she is passionate about working for their company and provide them with a list of valid reasons. Lastly, Iris must be persuasive regarding the many skills and knowledge she brings to the table.

     If, like Iris, your desire is to downshift, don’t get discouraged. It took some dedicated work to climb up the ladder, stepping down will probably not be a slam dunk. It may mean not going radical. If need be, take measured steps. Bottom line, be humble and flexible and you will accomplish your goal. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at