Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to change career/job whether it is due to work life/balance, the culture in the workplace is toxic, you’re not feeling challenged enough or your feeling burnt out. It is a very personal decision. Yet, many people remain unhappy in their work for longer than necessary.
Why is that? Well from coaching hundreds of clients to date, in making a career change that works for them. Here are the common factors that tend to hold people back from making a career change:
I am not going to ignore the fact that it is a privileged position to be in, to decide you want to change career and just do it. Most of us are restricted by our financial situation. If you’re applying for a mortgage most lenders won’t lend to you unless you are in permanent employment for at least 6 months. If you are barely able to make rent each month but hate your job, it is hard to see a way out.
From working with clients in similar situations. I find creating a long-term career plan helps them to see light at the end of the tunnel. That could be planning for after mortgage draw down or making sacrifices to create a savings buffer to rely on, when making a career change. It is also worth looking at Springboard courses which are subsidised.
Fear is a very valid factor. Whether it’s fear of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire from one toxic culture to another. Or if it’s fear that the reality of the new career won’t live up to your expectations. Or fear of failing. If you are afraid acknowledge that fear and know most people who have made a career change have also felt the fear. But nothing changes if you change nothing. And ensuring you do the correct research can help mitigate many of these risks.
Firstly, I don’t believe age is a factor, however I often hear from my clients – I want to change career, but I am 30/40/50 years of age. To this I say whether the process is going to take you 6 months or 6 years (if completely reskilling) this amount of time is going to pass regardless, so in 6 years’ time you are still going to be 36/46/56. Do you want to be this age with the qualification/ new career or in the same position. What is your answer.
Whether it is the time needed to put into the job search, application, and interview process etc. Or the time commitment needed if your career change requires returning to study. In today’s society time is the most valuable commodity and it is limited for most of us. And yes changing career is likely to take up a chunk of your time, consider where you can make changes to allow yourself more time or make a long term plan for carving out your new route.
Now that you have considered all of the above and you are motivated to make a career change, Now what? Well, here are some initial steps I would advise my clients to take.
Take stock: make lists.
- List of what you do and don’t like about your current and previous jobs. See if you can see a common thread and evaluate what is and isn’t in your control. For example, if you love the people you work with, that’s great but that’s not to say they wont leave or change department in the future. But if you love doing budgets then maybe you want to pivot to a role that includes more of this.
- Then list your skills areas that you feel you are strong in or are regularly commended on in your work. Do these skills relate to other disciplines or careers.
Research, Research, Research
- If you have identified a career you are interested in, invest time in researching the career first before you sign up to a course. Search for YouTube videos or articles from professionals who work in this area and see what their day to day is like. CareersExplorer is a useful tool for this.
- Try free or inexpensive online courses from Udemy or Coursera in your area of interest and get an initial insight before committing to a diploma/degree/masters.
- If your change requires further qualification research the local or international association for this profession and see which courses are recommended or accredited by them.
Utilise your network:
Speak to your trusted friends and family, what areas do they feel you strive in and take careful consideration of their advice. If you can, connect with someone working in your field of interest this could be through friends or via LinkedIn. Then have a frank conversation with them about the ins and outs of their role.
Engage with a Career Coach:
a professional Career Coach can guide you in all the above steps and give you qualified advice and useful tools to help you to pivot your career.
Then it is time to make the leap!
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