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Last Updated on June 12, 2020

How to Make the Career Change You Need (The Complete Guide)

How to Make the Career Change You Need (The Complete Guide)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret your career decisions? Are you happy?

If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine the next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by saying, “I am surviving” when a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know If You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain, and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire for true happiness. Here are some common signs that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a paycheck, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that your colleagues or boss takes advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety due to the fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference because I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel that your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life, such as friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

It is important to think about the work situation because some people decide to change careers for factors that are insignificant – factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

1. The Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe that they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one expects. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

2. Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is that the negative and positive points are overlooked.

3. Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds like a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

4. Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a repetitive job, it is normal to feel bored.

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You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work, or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, and education, and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations helped, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area.

After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family, and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person who was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry, but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem, or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in new activities, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a deadline for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking, or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used for a variety of roles.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds as a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work, or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars, or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about your desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

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    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials, or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve-wracking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, there are other roles that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person who wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget, and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague, or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance.

    Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching for images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design, and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit for your skillset.

    Master these action steps and to make changing career paths on your terms so you can make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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    Last Updated on October 28, 2020

    How to Set Long Term Goals and Achieve Success

    How to Set Long Term Goals and Achieve Success

    Have you ever wondered what you life is going to be like in 5 or 10 years? Will you be doing the same things you are today? Have you taken the time to envision the future through long term goals?

    There are only three possibilities for your life in the future:

    1. It will be the same.
    2. It will be worse.
    3. It will be better.

    There really is no other choice, so realizing this, which option will you choose?

    If you choose option 3, then being able to set long term goals is the best way to ensure that you’ll get to where you want to go.

    What Is a Long Term Goal?

    A long term goal is what you are planning to achieve in the long-run or in the future.

    Where do you want to be in five years[1]?

    Everyone has a plan for their life. We all imagine what our future will look like, what we will be doing, how we will be living, and even who we will be living with.

    While things rarely work out exactly as planned, it is nonetheless important to set long term goals and work toward them. Without long term goals, we are just wandering aimlessly through life.

    The most successful people know the power of goal setting and how to break down larger goals that may take years to achieve into a series of smaller, short-term goals that will keep you focused and motivated.

    How to Set (and Reach) Your Long Term Goals

    Do you suffer from paralysis by analysis? It’s a common condition that happens when people are faced with a lot of options.

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    When faced with too many options, they become obsessed with choosing the “right” one and never make a decision.

    Likewise, when faced with a seemingly overwhelming task, they may never even start because they “just don’t know where to begin.”

    Before we get started with some tips to help you, you can check out this video on setting goals for success:

    By following these 7 easy steps, you can set and achieve almost any long term goal, no matter how big or small it is.

    1. Make Goals, Not Wishes

    Who hasn’t thought about winning the lottery or inheriting a lot of money from a rich relative? While there is nothing wrong with daydreaming about these things, they are not goals.

    A goal should be something that you can work towards during a period of time, not something that falls into your lap through luck.

    A goal is “I want to have a business that makes one million dollars a year within five years,” not “I want to win the mega millions within five years.”

    2. Be Specific

    Remember when you were young and a grown up would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    No one ever said I want to work in the medical field or in government. You said I want to be a doctor, the President, or a policeman. These were specific goals that we had as kids, and while most of us didn’t end up astronauts or presidents, we still pictured ourselves in these very specific roles.

    When you are setting long term goals for your life and career, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Get into detail about what you want, and think about it in very concrete terms.

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    Instead of saying “In five years, I want to be rich,” think about what that really means to you and what it would look like. Having a more specific goal would be, “In five years I want to own a Ferrari, live in an upscale neighborhood, and be making enough money to take a two week vacation to Europe every year.”

    Having specific goals makes measuring your progress more easily. You know you reached you goal to have a Ferrari if you look in the garage and see one. It’s much harder to gauge if you are “rich,” as rich is always a moving target.

    3. Write Down Your Goals

    A goal that’s not written down is just a wish. Please do not neglect this step!

    As humans, we are prone to daydreaming and wishful thinking. We need to take concrete steps to realize our goals.

    When you set long term goals, you need to write them down. This single act will take your goal out of the realm of the mind and into the physical (real) world[2].

    Just by taking this step, your odds of achieving your goal go up tremendously.

    4. Break Down Your Long Term Goal Into Smaller Goals

    It can seem overwhelming to say, “In five years, I’ll have a business that makes one million dollars per year.”

    How do you get from not having a business at all to having one that makes a million dollars per year? The answer is the same way you’d eat an elephantone bite at a time.

    Once you have decided on your long term goals, you’ll then need to break them down into a series of short term goals.

    In our business example, you’ll first need to do some research on a business you can start in your spare time. There are a lot of options out there that don’t necessarily take a lot of time or money to get started.

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    Then, you’ll want to get competent in the business by taking training courses and networking with others who are already successful in the business.

    Once you have a good foundation, it’s time to get started. Launching the business will be the scariest and most rewarding day of your life, but you’re still not close to making a million dollars per year, so break it down some more.

    Your first-year goal may be to earn $50,000. Your second year, you’ll want to earn $150,000. From there, you’ll basically need it to double each year in order to reach one million dollars in five years. 

    Each of those years can be broken down into smaller goals until you realize you need to make $149 per day. You can break it down even further to say you need three sales per day to make the $149.

    At first, you may have no sales, but by experimenting with various marketing strategies that you learned earlier, the sales will start coming in. Then, it’s just a matter of fine tuning your marketing efforts and building on your successes.

    5. Remember Your Long Term Goals

    You have set your long term goals and even written them down.

    Now, don’t just put them in a drawer. We need to have a constant reminder of why we are doing this. Your long term goals should be displayed somewhere prominent (for you). You don’t need to hang them over the fireplace, but they should be placed where you can see them every day.

    Things go wrong, and issues and problems arise that no one can see. It’s during these times that remembering your long term goals is important.

    6. Reevaluate and Adjust

    You should always be looking for ways to improve what you are doing, but it’s especially important in this new internet age. We don’t have to look very far to see how quickly things can change. You must be willing to change course or be left behind.

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    Setting long term goals

      Getting back to your growing business, the marketing that got you to $600,000 per year might not be the marketing that gets you to your long term goal of one million dollars per year.

      Always keep your goal in mind, but always be willing to adjust course to get to it.

      7. Don’t Give up

      Realize and understand that the road to success is never straight. You will inevitably come up against obstacles and barriers to your goals. This is not the time to quit.

      In fact, coping with the obstacle or finding a way around the barrier leads to more success than anticipated. Always remember, the only sure way to fail is to quit.

      You can learn more on how to overcome challenges you may face in this article.

      Final Thoughts

      Fear of failure

      is the number one reason most people will never become as successful as they could be. Change is a scary thing, and it’s not easy for people to get out of their comfort zone. Most people won’t unless they have to or they perceive that the reward is worth the risk.

      By setting long term goals and then breaking them down into smaller goals that are easily achievable, you have created your own personalized road map to success.

      And while that long term goal of making a million dollars a year seems insurmountable, the short term goal of making $149 is easily doable.

      While the road to achieving your goals is never a straight line, and there will always be detours and bumps in the road, embrace these things, as they are all part of the journey.

      More Tips on Setting and Achieving Goals

      Featured photo credit: Bench Accounting via unsplash.com

      Reference

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