A late career change isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t make it any easier to embrace the next chapter. Switching up your role, workplace or industry as an established professional brings with it a unique set of challenges to overcome.
Before taking a leap of faith, it’s crucial to consider your quality of life and the financial impact. Chances are if you’re looking to transition to a completely different industry, an entry level position and reduced salary are waiting for you.
So, feeling a little restless? Read on to find out the five key points to keep in mind for an easy change.
1. What’s Really Wrong?
Most professionals don’t wake up one day and decide, completely out of the blue, that it’s time for a total career change. The signs are always there, but can be hard to recognise and voice early on. So, how can you tell the difference between a bad week and a bad job? The first step is to understand whether your stress stems from a personal or professional problem.
Take a step back, write down the source of your anxiety each day and at the end of the week, review your notes. Often, there is a clear pattern emerging which will give you a great roadmap for what needs to change and how to go about it. In order to find the right solution, you need to identify the problem.
2. Is a Gradual Change Better?
Change doesn’t always need to be all or nothing. Starting with a smaller shake up can actually leave you better in the long run. Reinventing your career is a radical approach that requires a firm time commitment and investment. For some mature professionals, it works. But for most? It’s more realistic to work towards a new job at a pace that reflects your living situation and needs.
If you’d rather take the plunge, be prepared to give up some of the things you’re used to. Learning a fresh set of skills for a different industry often means you’ll re-enter the workforce at an entry level position. Job hopping can boost your career if you do it right, it is all about compromise and balance.
If your income is intrinsic to your daily life, then consider applying to a different role at your current workplace. This gives you a stepping stone to launch the next phase of your career and can minimise the negative disruption to your personal life.
3. Get Educated for the Next Step.
Set on that new career pathway? Give yourself the best chance to thrive in your new role. Adult learning isn’t exactly groundbreaking, yet remains so intimidating to many established professionals. There’s no doubt about it; testing your knowledge in an unfamiliar environment can be stressful. But it’s important to recognise that the education sector is diverse; filled with people of all ages, backgrounds and various levels of experience.
Look into an opportunity that fits around your life. This could see you enrol in an internal media workshop, learn project management online, or join a social group to gain insight from those already in the industry. Refresh your knowledge with current trends and practices to not only bring your skill set up to scratch but your networking as well. Meeting new people will give you the confidence to take on a different position.
4. Network with the People in Your Sector.
A fall in job satisfaction can often be attributed to your workplace, rather than your profession. If you’re thinking about moving across to a different company, facilitate this by talking to other professionals and get a feel for where the best opportunities lie.
Building your understanding of the workplace culture for compatible businesses will help to offer direction when it comes to narrowing your choice. During the recruitment process, promises and claims are often made. Present employees are more likely to offer you a realistic expectation of the working environment and structure. By utilising your professional network, you could also come across those prized closed-door opportunities that aren’t advertised to the public.
5. Believe That it Can Really Happen.
Get rid of the misconception that career changes should be few and long apart from each other or that we can only have one singular dream job. The mounting pressure on professionals to select just one profession for the rest of their life is misplaced and can only serve to limit your career growth.
Remember, you’re free to change your mind as often as you like. Career shake-ups happen at every stage of life, for a multitude of reasons. If you move to a different business and aren’t enjoying your time there, don’t give up. Learn from the experience and try again! That elusive dream job can take on many different forms and titles, and in the process, you might find something great.
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