To err is human, so switching careers is perfectly natural for someone who might have made a mistake when initially choosing a career path. If your current career does not make you happy, if it is not what you pictured it to be and there is nothing worth salvaging, the next logical step is to move on and find a new one.
See Also: The Career Change Report [Infographic]
Unfortunately, changing careers is about so much more than changing your job. When you change your job, you can end up doing something similar or the same as you did at your previous workplace. Switching careers, on the other hand, may result in doing something entirely different, and everything you have learned during your previous employment is made null and void, although this is not always the case.
Clearly, you cannot change your career over the course of one day or a week – it is a process that should take at least five weeks. The following guide will guide you through the initial process of this decision.
This is the most important thing on your list. It refers to wisdom itself, or to be more precise, whether you are making the right decision. The introduction of the article may have encouraged the decision to do so, but you should do so only if you are adamant about your dissatisfaction. There is a big difference between being dissatisfied and being a daydreamer.
The former refers to the scenario in which you really make constant endeavours to be good at your job, but your chosen career doesn’t seem to resonate with your personal ambitions. The latter refers to the case when the grass seems greener in someone else’s yard, because you are a daydreamer who constantly strives to lead an ideal life.
If you used to love your job, but you simply got bored of it at some point, and you want to switch careers, it is a wrong move. It is perfectly natural for a repetitive lifestyle to get tedious, but the same thing will happen to you at your next job as well. You’d be better off finding a way to make your current job more interesting, than trying to change careers. So, the main thing to remember here is to closely scrutinize the source of your sudden urge to switch professions.
2. Do your homework
If you don’t want to become dissatisfied with your new career as well, do a thorough background check first. See what is expected of you, and what the most valued skills are. Make sure that you can master them in a timely manner, and try to find something you are familiar with to some extent. Throughout our education we tend to have more than one aspiration, so we pay special attention to particular classes, since we find their topics interesting.
When changing careers, see if you can go for something that was once among your fields of interest, and reignite that spark. Moreover, you can find a career that resonates with your hobbies. For example, if you are a shopaholic who is obsessed with clothes and footwear, you can choose fashion design.
3. Contingency Plan
Since this is a huge change for you, there is a chance it won’t work out as you originally thought, so prior to going through with your decision, you need to have a contingency plan in place. What will you do until you find another job that pays bills? The best thing to do is create profiles on different freelancer platforms and keep them going. Do a couple of jobs to get good reviews, and to ensure someone else will pick you, in case you need to do that kind of work in the future.
You can also dig out good websites that pay for completing surveys. Lastly, find some other companies in your area that have job openings that you are already qualified for. In the event you end up unemployed, reach out to these companies first, so that they can have you in their database as a possible candidate. After all, you already have experience in that field.
4. A New Beginning, a New Location
Have you considered working abroad? There are many benefits to this arrangement. You get to meet new people, experience different cultures, get far away from your family, acquire that lone wolf vibe etc. Plus if you ever decide to return, you’ll have something new to put in your CV. Besides, when you decide to change careers and quit your job, you might not leave on good terms with superiors, so the recommendation letter might be out of the question.
If you change location, you won’t need one, probably. Besides, some careers require you to move out in order to pursue them. For example, you can’t be a surfing instructor or coach if you live Amsterdam – you’ll probably have to move to Sydney, to pursue this dream.
5. Every Padawan Needs a Jedi Master
When you are new at something, it would be for the best to have a mentor. When someone can show you the ropes, and tell you all the tips and tricks you need, your career shift will be significantly more pleasant. Regardless of how much you know something in theory, putting your knowledge into practice is an entirely different thing.
In other words, finding a tutor is a must before changing careers, as it will increase the chances of you keeping the new job. It would be ideal if the mentor is one of your future co-workers – that person can have the best insight into what is required of you, and you can develop the whole master-student relationship along the way.
6. Crash Course
If, for some reason, you opt for a career that you know nothing about, you’ll need a crash course on that topic. This is very uncommon, but when you live in an environment where the skill sets you possess cannot be monetized, this maybe your only option. Whatever the case, make sure you find some online tutorials and ebooks to get a glimpse into your future, and spend as much time as possible in finding an adequate mentor, as mentioned previously.
7. Possible Outcomes
Have you considered what switching careers says about you as a person, and how it can impact your future? Well there is a positive and negative version, of course, and they both make sense. The good version is that people see this as an attempt to improve yourself, as an important moment in your personal development journey, and a step that a true professional would take. The other version is that you are immature, and won’t take your job responsibly. You might be perceived as an unreliable worker, since you are prone to getting bored of your job.
The first option is more likely to occur if you’ve already achieved a higher rank in your current job, and switching careers is actually a step back at the moment, but a good investment for future. If you are still a rookie and decide to switch careers, you might come off as a child who can’t decide what it wants.
There it is, a quick guide on how to go about planning this decision. As you can see, it is a bit of a risky decision, but it may bear great benefits. Just make sure that you take the necessary precautions before making the final step.