Some tips to get you feeling confident (and excited) about what’s to come!
Advice on Changing Careers
So you are ready to quit your job, or maybe you already have. You’ve tried week after week, or *gasp* maybe even for years to learn to love it. You have a list of all the reasons you should stay but you begrudgingly drag yourself into work each day, putting on your best happy face while inside you’re like a child kicking and screaming in the grocery isle because you didn’t get the cereal you wanted. At one point this job fit and now you’ve outgrown it and it’s time for something else. You’re done. Now what? You may have spent a decade or more of your life getting the schooling and qualifications for this position, in a field you thought was meant for you and now it’s the last thing you want to do. The only challenge now is you aren’t entirely sure what it is you do want to do. The first thing to remember is that lots of people decide on a new career and are successful at making the transition. At one point you did too! The second thing to remember is that this is part of your life journey. You have consciously made a decision that the path you want to go on isn’t the one you are on and are now taking the necessary steps to get on one that is a better fit. Feel good about that!
Now, the part where you get some answers to that looming question: What career is right for me? Here are some tips to get you feeling confident (and excited) about what’s to come:
Get a pen and paper or a fancy app because if you aren’t going to write these things down and actively answer them then chances are you’ll be heading back to your old job or a similar one in a few months and that’s not why you left.
You just won the lottery! I’m not talking a few thousand dollars, I’m talking money ain’t a thing for the rest of your life kind of money. Now that income isn’t a part of the equation and you’ve already bought the toys and done the trips, how do you see yourself spending your days in a constructive way? Remember you don’t have to worry about money anymore, the rest of your life is about finding satisfaction in the work you do. What goals do you have? What values are important to you that could be translated into work?
Create short term and long term goals and objectives. In the short term what are you going to do each day in order to move closer to understanding the job you want and then acquiring it? In the long term what does the completion of this adventure look like to you? What is your definition of career success? Create the prize, set your eye on it and plan for how you are going to get there.
Get passionate! What makes you feel most alive? What upsets you? A satisfying job is one where we feel useful and effective at what we are doing and want to go back for more. Reminisce about times in the past when you had the biggest smile on your face and felt most satisfied and those where you felt bored, irritated and useless. What jobs, paid or unpaid, did you enjoy the most?
Don’t feel limited by what you’ve done in the past. Skills and experience are transferrable. Even if all of your jobs had similar titles or were exact replicas of each other you still acquired skills and experiences that can be used elsewhere. Make a list of what these are.
Imagine yourself in different careers. Think about what your day would be like from start to finish. Do this for jobs that seem entirely unappealing to you and those that seem out of reach. This will help you to imagine yourself outside of the role you have been in for so long. Keep track of the features that are attractive to you and those that are not.
Job shadow or volunteer doing something you think could be a good fit for you. You will never know how something feels unless you try it on. Get out there and try on as many jobs as you can while you are in this unique and opportunist position.
After you have a better idea about what you want to do, go out and tell the world! Share with your friends, family and networks and see what suggestions or people they may know that can help you get that first foot in the door.
During this process you will likely have doubts. Is this the right time? Maybe there isn’t a perfect job out there or it’s a problem with me? Like a relationship you second-guess, you will have times when the idea of going back or finding something similar seems like an easy and comforting solution. Recognize these fears and doubts but promise yourself a commitment of a certain time period and effort before you step foot back into the same suit you were wearing. Set goals. Do something every day that moves you in the direction of your new career. Don’t see the challenges as limits see them as opportunities for growth. Be kind to yourself. Above all enjoy the journey!