Career changes aren’t something we’re prepared for. After all, when it comes to leaving school, college, university etc – do we even know what we want to do? More often than not, we’re guided to the career we end up in by circumstance or established abilities. A wealth of experiences over life changes this.
For example, we might find ourselves a decade older, ticking the “average” box for everything with a growing feeling of unease about our lot in life. Are we then stuck for the rest of our working lives in the confines of a teenage idea or suggestion? Required to stay put until retirement?
No! Not at all.
Life is change – constant and oftentimes unexpected, but change it is. Work opportunities, relocations, new markets and ideas appear regularly. Career changes happen all around us on a regular basis, ask around. Things we would never have thought possible just a few years ago have become household favourites virtually overnight. Consider how covid changed our approach to video-calls.
Who would have thought it was possible for the biggest taxi company in the world to own no taxis? Who would have thought that the biggest online retailer doesn’t have a single product of their own to sell? Who would have thought a whole new industry could be born simply from fast-food delivery?
Is a Career Change right for you?
Changing direction is totally fine and something we should all consider from time to time. But the most crucial part of that process is making sure it aligns with your values and what you want from lie
- What interests you?
- What excites you?
- What do you feel passionate about?
For each of these questions, make a list. Add anything and everything – we’re looking for connections and overlaps, not necessarily end career options here.
when you start to analyse your lists, you’ll hopefully see some correlations and suggestions which highlight if and where a career change will be functional. But the priority is to make sure you still feel fulfilled and happy wherever you end up.
Exploring a New Career
When you’ve put together a list of career options and ideas that you feel will tick the happy/content/fulfilled boxes, it’s time to examine them through a slightly different lens.
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is it financially viable?
Passion is important but we’re still talking career not hobby here How will it become an income capable of supporting you as you need it to? Will you get an existing job in this field? Start your own business? Find another entry point?
- With the advent of social media and internet marketing, it’s possible to reach out to thousands of potential customers or clients all over the world without ever leaving home.
- Do you currently have the skills, abilities, accreditations or licenses to do this work? Even when the passion and financial elements are met, there may need a need to retrain and learn new skills.
2. How will others react?
I bet you can imagine how often that question holds people back from potential career changes. Be aware though, that we’re not examining this question to meet expectations of other people – but to help see the issue from other positions. Especially where it affects other people.
- Don’t let fear into this question. Yes, it can be risky to fall into the pattern of thinking of others first but the point here is not to adapt for others, nor ignore them. You’re adding their considerations to your thought processes. A healthy macro view.
- Remember that it’s not your responsibility to influence what others think of you – lead your best self which hopefully includes being good to your fellow humans, and allow the chips to fall where they may. It is not our responsibility to make people like us. You owe justification and support to yourself first and foremost. Everyone else can wait in line.
3. If I want to create something amazing, what am I willing to give up?
It’s almost impossible to embark on a new career without having it impact the rest of your life. To do this, something is likely to get let go of. Weigh up the pros and cons – keep in mind that time, money, effort, quality of life, and work-life balance are all worthy concerns to add to the list, not just happiness/fulfilment.
- Would you sell your car to create start-up funds or pay for training?
- Can you lose your weekends or regular social time for professional gain?
- Is there going to be a period of working two careers simultaneously?
- Is a new career worth the loss of family time in either short/long term?
4. Can I make this work?
This is a question hard-wired into reality and perhaps a little cynicism. Apologies if positivity is your go-to handler, but there are times when forced optimism can be detrimental, and this is one of them. However – the fact that you’re here, now, reading this suggests that you want to do things right. A great start!
- Have you considered that there’s more to life than you are currently living or experiencing? Is this the best way for you to get the most out of the life experience you want?
- Do you have the motivation/discipline to push you through harder times or troubles?
- Have you weighed up the consequences if things don’t go to plan and are you willing to accept those risks?
You are the master of your destiny – and ultimately, the decision is yours alone. Don’t go rushing these steps, and don’t skip them just because they’re difficult. In the long term, they can be valuable to have right upfront.