Thinking about a Career Change? Start Here…

You’re not sure how it happened; days turned in to weeks, weeks turned in to years. Before you know it, you are in a tiresome routine job that bores you silly.

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. That’s about one-third of your waking time on this earth. In my opinion, work is a passion. It’s something you should love, at least most of the time.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

– Confucius

If you are unhappy in your current job, it’s time to move on to something different. Making a career change can be a challenge in the best of times. Sadly, many people become discouraged before they even start. They think about making a change, decide it’s too much trouble, and end up stuck in a rut. Although it can be tough, changing careers is possible, as long as you have passion, drive, and patience.

Five steps to changing your career:

1.    Know Thyself

This first step is crucial and frankly, the hardest. Does anyone truly know thyself? If you take the time to ask yourself a few questions, you’ll know more than you think you do. The rest will come with trying new things and discovering if they interest you. So start by writing down the answers to a few introspective questions.  Here’s some to get you started:

  • Why do I do what I do?
  • What do I like about my job?
  • What do I dislike about my job?
  • What would I rather be doing?
  • What do I find interesting and will spend long hours doing without even noticing it?
  • What do I get excited about and look forward to doing?

Your answers may surprise you and even spur more questions. The more you discover about yourself the clearer you’ll see a new career path. Next, make a list of yours skills and match them to your passions to identify a career better in line with your values and goals.

2.    Do Your Research

Once you have discovered or rediscovered your passion, research the types of careers that center on your passion. Check out company websites posting jobs that interest you. Read the job descriptions and desired skills. Write down the skills you see repeatedly across different sites. Take note of skills you may need to brush up on. Enroll in classes for the additional skills you need. See if you like it. If you don’t, you may need to rethink your path.

3.    Network and Make New Connections

Talk to the people you know about your new interests. Some may have job leads or can offer you advice about a particular industry. Some may introduce you to others to expand your network. Use social media to learn more about your new direction. Join groups pertaining to your passion on sites like LinkedIn. Ask questions and interact with the group to discover more. If you prefer more face-to-face interaction, join professional organizations in your community to broaden your network.

4.    Gain Experience

The best way to know if you truly like something is to try it. Get a part time job or volunteer in your new career field to gain experience and get a feel for your new career path. Try a temporary position in your new field by working nights or weekends before you pull the plug on your current career.

5.    Have Realistic Expectations

Expect the unexpected. There are bound to be obstacles along the way when changing careers. Imagine what obstacles you might face and how you’ll overcome them. For instance, you might need to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder. And that’s okay because you’ll be doing something you enjoy.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

– George Eliot

A career change may seem overwhelming at first. Just know it’s possible. The opportunities are out there. All you need is a game plan, act on it and don’t give up. The only way to do great work is to love what you do, so don’t settle for anything less!

Have you successfully changed careers? What other advice would you give to career professionals looking to switch up their profession?