Are you thinking of choosing or changing your career? Maybe you have been dreaming about a career change but don’t know where to start. Perhaps you’re getting increasingly bored at work or realizing that opportunities for growth are limited. Or, like many in this economy, you may be unemployed or facing unemployment. Regardless of your reasons, the right career is out there for everyone. Discover how to find the best career path for you, including finding the courage to make a change, researching options, realizing your strengths, and learning new skills.
Finding meaningful work in today’s world
You may have fallen into the trap of thinking the sole point of work is to bring home enough money to live comfortably. While adequate compensation is important in any job, it’s not the whole story. If you are unsatisfied with what you do every day, it takes a toll on your physical and mental health. You may feel burned out and frustrated, anxious, depressed, or unable to enjoy time at home knowing another workday is ahead. What’s more, if you don’t find your work meaningful and rewarding, it’s hard to keep the momentum going to advance in your career. You are more likely to be successful in a career that you feel passionate about. Whether you’re looking to enter the work force for the first time or contemplating a career change, the first step to choosing a fulfilling career is to uncover the activities that get you excited and bring you joy.
Discovering new possibilities
The first step in considering a career change is to think carefully about what really drives you. You might find it hard to get past thinking about “what pays the most” or “what is most secure,” especially in today’s economy. However, it’s important to first discover your primary interests and passions. This can open doors to careers that you might not have considered. Once you have that foundation, you can start fine tuning your search to the right career. You may be surprised at how you can fit your passions into a certain career!
Overcoming obstacles to career happiness
It’s always challenging to consider a huge change, and there may be many reasons why you may think changing careers is not possible. Here are some common obstacles and how to overcome them:
It’s too much work to change careers. Where would I ever begin? Changing careers does require a substantial time investment. However, remember that it does not happen all at once. If you sit down and map out a rough plan of attack, breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones, it is a lot more manageable than you think. And if the payoff is a happier, more successful career, it’s worth it.
I’m too old to change careers. I need to stay where I am. If you have worked for a number of years, you may feel that you’ve put too much time and effort into your career to change midstream. Or you may be concerned about retirement and health benefits. However, the more you’ve worked, the more likely you are to have skills you can transfer to a new career. You may also consider planning a transition for after retirement if you are close to receiving a pension or other benefits after a number of years.
I don’t have enough skills to consider a new career. You may be unaware of the skills you have, or underestimate your marketability due to low self esteem. However, you probably have more skills than you think. Consider skills you’ve learned not only from your job but from hobbies, volunteering or other life experiences. And gaining skills is not an all or nothing proposition. You can volunteer once a week or take a night class to move forward, for example, without quitting your current job.
In this economy, I’m lucky to have a job. I don’t want to rock the boat. In today’s climate, it might feel like too much of a risk to consider changing careers. However, if you’re unhappy in your current job, doing research on other options will only benefit you in the long run. You may discover a career with a more stable long-term outlook than your current career, for example. And you don’t have to quit your current job until you are confident of your new career path.
Final tips for career changers
Pace yourself and don’t take on too much at once. Career change doesn’t happen overnight, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the steps to successfully change careers. However, you will get there with commitment and motivation. Break down large goals into smaller ones, and try to accomplish at least one small thing a day to keep the momentum going.
Don’t rush into a change because of unhappiness in your current job. If you are stressed and unhappy in your current job, or unemployed, you might be feeling a lot of pressure to make a quick change. However, if you don’t do enough research, you might end up in an even worse position than before, with the added stress of a new position and new learning curve.
Ease slowly into your new career. Take time to network, volunteer and even work part time in your new field before committing fully. It will not only be an easier transition, but you will have time to ensure you are on the right path and make any necessary changes before you are working full time in your new field.
Take care of yourself. You might be feeling so busy with the career transition that you barely have time to sleep or eat. However, managing stress, eating right, and taking time for sleep, exercise and especially loved ones will ensure you have the stamina for the big changes ahead.