Looking for a change in career, now’s the time

Its nearly been a year since the idea was born to ditch the stuff and get out and see the world. Since then we have been planning, saving and getting rid of stuff frantically to make our self-imposed deadline of a new year start.

I was thinking back recently to the changes that I’ve made in my career and thought I would share some of the things I found useful. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that thinks they are meandering through life with little or no purpose. Given, we need to eat and drink and have shelter somewhere that also means somehow we need to make some money to live as comfortably as each of us would like too. This usually means a job or work of some kind that is paid. A lot of us, just do this for what it provides and not for any kind of enjoyment of the work/job itself.

                                                                 Career, what career…

Most of these are from my own experience. Some of these are from articles that I have read or advice passed on from other people.

  1.  I hate the word career


I have never really liked the word “career” it stinks of old world school careers advice and what people that are now retired or about to be retired think you should be doing with your life. Jobs for life are becoming a thing of legend and the legends from a bygone era seem to think its fine to get into a career retire with a golden watch in tow and then think about life after work. Sounds like a sure way to boredom and laziness to me. Not to be too liberal but I think we should now be using a more flexible term of address than career as future workers are more likely to work/play and make money doing multiple roles rather than sideways steps into the same job with different organisations whilst riding the salary escalator. This is my view point and I think it’s important to change your view in order to change career.

  2.  What you want to do vs what you can do


Personally I believe in this method. Find out what you would like to do (a big list of these will do) and then go out and do it. But there is also the approach that many experts would also point to as being valid. Especially if you’re not sure a career change is actually what you need to do. It might be better to use your existing strengths in a different way and change the culture you work in, or your boss or the money that your earning. These could be the overriding factors why you’re looking for a change which to me suggests you weren’t looking for a change of career in the first place but are ok with what you do it’s the weeds in the garden that you need to get rid of before your sitting in a bed of roses. It’s probably a fact that people get scared that they think they can’t do what they want to do and stick with tried and tested instead. I cover these off in more detail below.

  3.  Change the way you think


As per my rant at point number one it’s important to change your viewpoint that the work that you do shouldn’t just be about paying the bills, looking after the kids and keeping up with the Jones’. It took me a while to come to terms with changing the way I think and I’ve only been working for other people for 12 years. I still slip into the mind set sometimes that I’m not in control of where I work and what I do. You need to start thinking that you can do whatever you want to do and make a living from it that will cover your living costs and more (if that’s what you want). Once you are thinking this way you will be able to plan for the obstacles ahead otherwise they may seem insurmountable.

  4.  I have no idea what I want to do…


Drawing from personal experience, I haven’t really known what I wanted to do since I left school all those moons ago. Like many people I have been guided (or should I say misguided) by friends, family and school itself has a large influence. I fit into an increasingly large amount of people that fell into roles after going the traditional school route, then university all the while wondering what am I going to do now. You either followed everyone else at university and work in the field that you did your degree in or you fall into some kind of sales job it seems. I started off doing the first thing “using my degree” (seems to be the phrase) and then my first kind of career change came. But not really, I fell into recruitment as I wanted something more people orientated at the time that was fast paced. But my point is none of this was planned which also means that there was little or no enjoyment in my working life. So whatever your plan entails make sure you are actively doing something (ideally write it down) on a regular basis towards finding out what you would actually like to do.

  5.  Just do it


My background as an analyst means typically I don’t do things until it’s been planned to the Nth degree. This sounds great but actually it causes problems in changing career as “Analysis Paralysis” sets in. I can become overwhelmed with all the possibilities and can’t see the wood through the trees. There is a big wide world of possibilities out there and you could end up with dozens of ideas about what you would like to do next. Pick one, find out how to get into it and then do it. It may or may not work, but if it doesn’t work at least you will have found something you don’t want to do and can move onto the next one. If your worried by this, you can do things like volunteering, part time work and networking (ask someone that does the job what it’s like). Before jumping in at the deep end.

  6.  What would you like to do?


My favourite way to do this is as per point number two. The easiest way I have found to do this is to give yourself a deadline. Write a list of everything you would like to do no matter how ridiculous it may seem and then pick one. Find out what you need to get into it. If you need experience in the role, how do you get experience in the role. Get the experience and give it a try. Alongside this I would also write a linked plan. This is for the more practical stuff. Given most people aren’t the Dice Man (great story) and you’re not going to through away everything you currently have to move career overnight. But you need to have a plan of how you’re going to get from where you are now financially, family-wise, House-wise etc. To where you want to be with your new career and where that will take you. There are other methods of course that look fun and interesting. Usually in the form of some kind of personality test. Tests to find out what you like to do in your spare time etc. Feel free to use these but for me it boils down to what you would like to do.

  7.  What skills do I already possess?


As per my point two again you can do things by the skills that you have have method as well. For me this is not the right way if you really want to change your career. It’s good to know what skills you have as most people aren’t aware of everything they possess in the skills arsenal. It’s also good to know what skills you don’t have so that you can plan to get the ones that you need given you’ve know what skills you’ll need in the new role. Again ask people you have worked with, friends and family as well. There are numerous tests you can take to help to see what kind of skills you possess and what kind of role would suit you. But it is in that point that for me it doesn’t really work if you are changing careers because it disregards roles where the skillsets are out of your comfort zone and it is the safer option to slide into an industry that you already have the skills for. 

  8.  Your life depends up on it


It’s not the easiest thing to do and I know I didn’t do it properly to start out with. But it’s spend some time now doing this and change your life. Or you could be looking back later on in life where you have worked in jobs you really didn’t want to be. Your health has deteriorated and your mental state says I’ve had enough and I’m hanging on to the final bell. Just so you can maintain your life’s status quo. If that makes you happy then great, but if not do something about it and change careers.

I hope this has been informative, interesting and you liked reading it.

That’s all folks this week but I’ll be back again next week. Please subscribe to my Virtual Demon blog and I look forward to your comments and feedback.