When it comes to changing your career, there’s never a ‘right’ time. If your heart isn’t in it and you want to do something different, it is so hard to wake up every day and do something that you feel indifferent about. I changed careers because I felt unfulfilled. I wasn’t enjoying my work, I felt like I wasn’t using my full potential, and I longed to wake up feeling like my work was making a difference – to someone or something.
The thought of changing careers was scary. I felt uncertain about myself, my skills and whether I could really do it. And, if you have no idea what else you could do – or where to start, then what? I grappled with these feeling and it was quite sometime before I had a break through.
If you’re stuck in your career change, there are three main challenges that you’re going to come up against.
It’s you that wants to make a change, but it’s also you that’s your biggest obstacle. You could be unsure about what to do or where to start or how to go about the career change process. You could also be scared about taking a cut in salary, concerned about what your family or friends will think and then there’s the stress of losing the status you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
You can’t figure it out by figuring it out. You are paid to think and to solve problems at work, yet you feel you haven’t you been able to determine what else you want to do. The reality is that if the solution to your career change lay in more analysis, in making more lists, reading more books, taking more surveys, or simply figuring it all out in your head, you would have found it by now.
You won’t find a job by looking for one. When I started to look for something different, recruitment consultants were my natural first port of call but they just offered me more of the same. I wanted to do something completely different and they couldn’t help. You may have sent off your CV / resume for jobs in different fields, but through no fault of your own, you’re simply not going to stack up against other people with experience and skills in the different field you’re interested in.
So what can you do? There are solutions to each challenge, but they are probably not what you think they are (they weren’t initially for me). Following are my 3 tips that worked for me:
Do it with others, not alone
I started to talk to some close colleagues, friends and family about wanting a change; I got a coach; and I started to meet and network with different types of people. The net effect was different ideas, different connections, and accountability – all of which led, finally, to forward movement.
Act it out, don’t over think it
In my career-change journey, it took me a couple of years to get out of a career that wasn’t right for me. For most of that time, I was trapped in analysis paralysis. The coach I worked with at the time suggested I was suffering from FOMO otherwise known as the “fear of missing out”. I had a number of options that I could take but my fear of making a mistake had paralysed me. She encouraged me to just make a choice and if it turned out not to be the right choice initially, I could just make another choice. When I started to act rather than analyse, things started to change. In short, action precedes clarity, not the other way round.
Look for people, not for jobs
When you are not ‘qualified’ in a new field of work you are not going to get a job through a conventional application process. Focus on connecting with people and show them that you have a heap of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Build relationships and offer to do pro-bono work, which could lead to more. This is how I started my career as a coach.
Making a big career change isn’t easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. But it is possible. It’s about how you feel every morning; it’s about how that rubs off on your health and your relationships; and, ultimately, it’s about the impact that you can make on the world through being alive in what you do.
Own your goal!
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