How to embrace a career change?

You wake up every Monday morning, grunting and cursing under your breathe. Reluctantly, you board the bus to your office, and find yourself staring at the same office building, stuck in the same rote of work that you have been doing for years, devoid of any passion or desire. Sounds like a time for a career change?
A friend of mine recently declared in an evening get together, “Enough of this number crunching and mindless excels sheet work.  I just can’t take it anymore. I am going to resign and do something I love; play guitar”.  None of us was surprised. We had been a witness to this display of emotions earlier also. Everyone one us knew it’s always easier said than done. Changing companies in itself is a tough task, full of uncertainties and possibilities. In that case, changing the entire career can be imagined to have far-reaching repercussions, too important to ignore.  However, we still hear stories of how people left their well-paying jobs in favor of something they loved doing and are now financially, mentally and physically in a much better state. The question that arises is how to successfully change tracks?

Why do you want a career change? Or do you really want it?

Even as you start thinking about how to go about the entire process of changing career, the better question to ask yourself is why you want the change. Is it because you have been there stuck for too long and now do not find any innate interest in the subject of work or is it simply because you don’t get well along with your manager and co-workers?  Once you have the answers ready, think whether a change of career is the only solution.

Collect all the specifics about what you love about the current career path, the first place why you chose it, and how it is prohibiting you to lead a better life.  With the gathered answers, compare them and see if a less drastic step such as changing the company can work in your favor.   Give a quick glance to other areas of your life to find if there is something else that makes you hate your work. May be you have committed yourself to a great number of activities, more than what you can handle.  If giving up some of those activities can make you feel lighter and refreshed, then don’t hesitate in doing so.

Figure out what you really want

Are you looking for something more challenging? What makes you happy? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Such questions and more will give you a fair idea of where your new career is headed. Another easy way of gaining an answer to all these questions would be to undertake a self-assessment test. The results will reveal your true calling. Sometimes what we like really doing isn’t what we are best at. A dicey situation indeed, but when it comes to choosing between heart and mind, its best to go with what your heart wants, albeit mindful of what exactly you lack to be the best and how are you going to cover all those shortcomings.

Balance your passion with logic   

Most career counselor will advise you to play against your strengths instead of blindly pursuing your passion. It can indeed be a one hell of a ride searching for your one true calling, wasting a lot of time and money in the process. However, what is the use of doing of something if you don’t enjoy it. Without the fire in belly, you won’t put hundred percent efforts and that would keep you from achieving the best. The bottom line is to find a middle way out.

Planning your career change

Research your new chosen career path. How much research is required depends on the quantum of change you are making. Switching from a chef to a food critic is much easier than switching from a web designer to chef.Now that you have the idea of what you would like to do for the next 10 years or so, at least, plan how the transition would take place. Research the different type of careers that span around your passion. This first phase of career change will be full of fear of uncertainty.  However hard you try, the natural instinct of being fearful of the unknown will keep overpowering rest of your emotions. To minimize the debilitating effects do the following:

  • Make a list of your current skills that can be leveraged from in the next job. You will be surprised to know that many life skills such as communication, leadership, interpersonal skills are transferable.
  • Before getting your resume up there in front of recruiters you may want to strengthen it by pursuing some educational course or training.  Besides, a career change is more of a gradual process than a knee jerk reaction. You have all the time to prepare yourself through evening courses, or weekend classes without having to leave your current job.

Getting work experience

A perfect instance of a lopsided situation is when most employers look for experienced employees but are not willing to risk themselves to provide that experience. You also might be in for tough luck while finding the first job in the new chosen career field. The easiest way to mitigate long terms of unemployment in such a condition is to obtain a part-time job or volunteering for some nonprofit organization that can provide you with valid experience. Apprenticeships are also a good way of gaining qualifications and experience, both at the same time.

In the end, flexibility is a key factor that will decide how far you are willing to go for your new career. Whether it is your employment status or location or salary, you have to be flexible while starting out in a new career field altogether.

Author Bio: A writer by profession, Saurabh Tyagi is currently focusing his writing on the extensive domain of job search. He has written various articles, news stories and blog posts for the employment sector. The above article is a compilation of latest facts and discusses about how to embrace for career change.

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