There are some great motivational stories out there about people changing careers, sometimes quite late on, but what does a career change mean and when do you know the time’s right? Determine whether you’re just having a rough patch at work or whether it’s time to change track with our tips.
What do you like and dislike about your current role?
Sometimes we confuse hating our jobs with hating the company we work for. Make a list of the things you like about work and the things you really hate. Even if the only thing you like is having a regular salary, write it down. Now try to work out whether your issues are with the role or the company. Sometimes it’s the structures that management put in place that make our jobs boring and frustrating, not the tasks themselves. Can you imagine doing your job and enjoying it? Do you like the people you work with? Do you get on with your clients or customers? Before you embark on a career change it’s really important to know what you want and this is a smart first step.
Do you have a dream career or is it ‘anything but this’?
Most of us harbour a fantasy career, be it running a restaurant, teaching people to surf on a remote island or running a media empire. Some dream careers are more achievable than others and if you’re over 30 it’s probably time to put your prima ballerina plans to the side. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking other jobs are more fun. Most jobs have their deeply boring parts, however exciting they seem. Teaching surfing involves completing quite a few risk assessment forms. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do (within the boundaries of possibility) start researching the realities. Talk to people in the field and try to get a picture of the day-to-day tasks involved. If you haven’t a clue what you want to do then it’s time to explore!
Be realistic about the skills you need and go for it!
You need to be realistic about changing your career especially if it’s a dramatic venture into a totally new field. We know that embarking on a medical career takes years of education and moving from an amateur illustrator to making it your career takes a dramatic shift in practice. Remember you’ll be competing with people who have several years more experience than you. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it but you’ll have to put in the hours. If you’re passionate about your chosen career then you’ll power through the hard times but if you’re having doubts then perhaps you need to spend some more time considering your options. You may decide that your current role is not all bad but you’d rather work for a different company, then start applying.