If you’ve been feeling down about your current career and want a way out, it could be easier than you think. Switching careers is not only possible but also well within the reach of most people nowadays. Even if you’ve been at your current job for a decade or more, you don’t need to consider it your permanent future.
Many people walk around with a huge burden on their shoulders that’s primarily caused by their attachment to their careers. While having stable growth is obviously important, you should never sacrifice your personal wellbeing for it.
It’s Never Too Late for a Change
Age and seniority are two of the main factors behind many people’s unwillingness to change tracks these days. It’s not rare to see someone refusing to even consider an alternative path simply because they’re too used to what they’re doing, and believe they are too far down that road to make the switch.
That’s very rarely the case in reality though. In fact, the experience you’ve gathered at your current career may end up being the steppingstone you need to move into a different field that works better for you personally.
Think Outside the Box
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Consider options that you would normally not give a second thought. You never know where you might discover the next big thing for you. Don’t automatically exclude options that require specific education either. With the right determination, you can obtain the qualifications you need in a relatively short time.
This can be a useful strategy for getting started. Make a list of careers you don’t see yourself doing or even enjoying, and try to figure out what exactly is wrong with each of them as an option. You might discover that many of those obstacles are all in your head and that you have a better opportunity to move laterally than you originally thought.
Is Your Career Aligned with Your Personal Values?
A major problem for many people is that they work in careers that aren’t aligned with their personal values. For example, you might be the type of person who likes to help others. If you work a job that actively contributes against that, it will affect you on some internal level, whether you admit it or not.
You have to be honest with yourself in that case. You won’t get far by trying to shift the blame to other factors in your head. Be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish with your life and think about whether your current career makes a positive contribution to that or actually works against it.
Take Some Time to Reflect on the Recent Past
You should also think about your recent months and perhaps even your last couple of years. Have things been moving in the direction you’ve always imagined? If there were any deviations – and there probably were – where did they come from, and could they have been avoided?
This kind of reflection can take a while, especially if there are factors bothering you that you’ve never given much thought to. Many of us like to just glide along with our daily lives without considering the impact of certain developments on our minds. But the more you let those factors stack up, the more difficult it will become to address them once you realize that this is necessary.
A journal can be very useful in this regard. It can help you organize your thoughts better and maybe even come to realizations that you would normally have ignored completely. You don’t have to be too meticulous about the way you keep your journal. Just make sure that you keep proper track of everything about your work that affects you in some way – positive or negative – and try to revisit it on a regular basis to see how things have changed over time.
Interesting Options to Explore
What options are worth exploring for someone in your situation though? That’s hard to say without knowing a bit more about you, but there are various general considerations that you should make. If you have a desire to help people and want to put yourself in a position where you can have a direct impact on someone’s wellbeing, look into healthcare.
You don’t need to specialize as a physician to progress in that field. There are various alternative career paths that are just as viable. Some of them may be even more suitable for your specific alignments.An MSN degree is a safe and popular choice for many people.
Technology is another field that’s provided many people with great benefits over the years. You have to be careful though, as it’s definitely possible to land in a company on the opposite end of the spectrum. There are many organizations out there that use their technological capabilities to exploit vulnerable people, preying on their sensitive mind states.
Social media is a big example of that. To make matters worse, those companies also tend to have a good reputation as employers, so they can be quite attractive to specialists with a lot of experience under their belts.
If you have specific skills that are relatively rare on the market, look into setting up a service where you provide those to people in need. From legal experts to accountants, there’s a lot of open ground here and you shouldn’t find it hard to establish yourself as a professional in your related field if you’ve got a knack for it.
Keep Your Approach as Flexible as Possible
Having a strong commitment to a specific career path is great, but you should try to keep your approach as flexible as you can until you’re completely sure that this is what you want to do. Don’t overcommit to a career choice that was mostly based on random ideas floating around in your head. Have a plan for how you’re going to enter the field and progress through it, but also maintain the option of backing out if things don’t move in your expected direction.
This can be challenging with some career choices that require a significant initial investment to even break into the field. This can come in the form of extensive studies or other commitments that you can’t easily throw away. If you’re not careful, you can easily find yourself in a situation where you’ve spent a lot of time on something, only to realize that you don’t want to do it in the end.
One of the best ways to do that is to avoid burning any old bridges as you transition out of your previous career. Just because you want to leave that behind you doesn’t mean that you should immediately drop all connections you’ve established in that field. Keep your options open, because you never know if you might end up deciding to go back to what you were doing before. You would be far from alone in this scenario.
Don’t Get Discouraged if It Doesn’t Work Out on the First Try
Remember that a major career change can take a lot of time and it’s not guaranteed to work out on the first try. Have a few alternative options lined up and don’t lose motivation if things don’t work out right away. You’re going to need some time to figure out what exactly you want to do, and some of the options that seem most attractive at first might end up completely unsuitable for you, depending on how things work out.
It’s a good idea to keep adding to your list of options while you’re still exploring your current ones. That way you’ll never be out of things to check out if your new career choice doesn’t end up working out for you. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities and keep building new connections.
Track Your Progress
As we mentioned above, keeping track of your progress through all of this is going to be very important if you want to stay sane in the long run. It’s easy to fool yourself into believing that things are going nowhere and that you’ve made a mistake. But if you maintain an objective overview of your situation and revise it every now and then, this will strengthen your conviction.
A journal isn’t the only option to consider here. You can approach this in many different ways, as long as you retain some overview of how things are going. A simple Excel sheet can go a long way towards providing you with some clarity on your situation and helping you avoid things you’ve confirmed aren’t suitable for you. If you have any ideas for more advanced methods for tracking your progress, definitely go for them. Just make sure that you don’t make things too complicated because this could end up having the opposite effect and could drain your motivation.
Talk to People in Your Chosen Field
There’s no better way to figure out if a specific field is good for you than talking to some experts with an established track record. They can tell you all about their experience and can help you align your expectations for the future better. This can be very helpful when it comes to avoiding some common beginner mistakes or going down the wrong path when you’re still fresh in your chosen career.
It can be difficult to get in touch with the right people, depending on your current situation. Good networking skills can always come in handy when it comes to career growth and switching to a new career is no exception. See if you can’t leverage any existing connections from your current job. You might have access to more relevant people than you’d assume.
Never Stop Learning
Once you’ve settled in, you should never stop learning and always keep pushing forward. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who immediately fall into a mode of complacency as soon as things have settled down around them just a little bit. A new career requires much more determination to push through than something you’re already established in, so you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and put some serious effort into this.
Surround yourself with as many learning materials as you can and try to always be on top of your game. Follow your field for any new developments and talk to specialists like we described above. In fact, keep networking as much as you can. This will improve your prospects for the future even further.
The internet can be a great resource for this, as it will provide you with no shortage of materials to explore. Some of them might be beyond your grasp at the moment, but just keep attacking the lower-level courses and you’ll eventually get there. Take advantage of any free learning opportunities, especially when it comes to joining communities of like-minded people.
Keep a Reminder of Why You’re Doing This
Last but not least, try to remember why you’re doing this at every step. You started this whole plan with a specific reason, so don’t forget what that was. It may sound cheesy but writing it down on a piece of paper that you always keep close to you can go a long way towards helping you address any internal conflicts that might arise in the future. It doesn’t have to be that specifically – as long as it’s anything that you can personally relate to and will help you navigate the chaos of your career transition better.
It can be difficult to start, but once you’ve got the ball rolling, your momentum will keep you going quite nicely. Just keep exploring as many options as you can until you’ve landed on something that aligns well for you. And if you feel that you’re not moving in the right direction at any point, don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-evaluate your situation. It’s possible that you just need to make a few small changes and you’ll be good to go again.