Things to think about when deciding on a career change.
There is no such thing these days as having a certain job or career 'for life' as many of our parents and grandparents did. In fact, it is quite usual to have upwards of two or three different career changes in a working lifetime.
What you expected from your work in your twenties - experience, learning new skills and areas of expertise, may be very different when you are in your thirties and forties - security, greater responsibility, making a difference or again when you are getting nearer to thinking about retiring.
If you want to change your job or career and do something more fulfilling but have no idea where to start, here are a few things to consider before you take the plunge!
- Ask yourself why you want to change - Have you become bored or are you being stretched too much? Maybe it is a case of simply not enjoying your work any more. Perhaps you need new challenges or a less hectic role.
- Build up the components of your ideal kind of work - Forget the job title you currently have. Look at what you do at the moment and how you would like things to be different. Imagine what percentage of your day would be taken up with certain tasks that you enjoy, know that you are good at and are appreciated for.
- Is there a specific job/career you are interested in? - If there is, do some research and talk to anyone you might know in a similar line of work. If you are unsure, try some online tests (or invest in a career coach!) and decide what motivates you at work - is it money, status and power or making a difference and a need for purpose.
- Identify your existing skills - Without realising it you may have a wealth of transferable skills, expertise and knowledge which you take for granted. List all your skills and ask work colleagues, friends and family what they think you are good at.
- Is there anything you really want to do in life? - You may have regrets due to circumstances but feel you lack the opportunity, skills, qualifications or self-confidence to explore further. If you want something enough there is no reason why these things should hold you back. So look at jobs and careers you might not previously have considered due to your mindset.
- Work out what you want (and need) to earn - Know what your monthly outgoings are before you make a career move and consider whether you are prepared to make a temporary financial sacrifice for a long-term gain.
- Once you have decided on a job or career, go for it! - It is unlikely that any single job will tick all the boxes but the secret is, if you enjoy what you do, the less enjoyable bits are not so important. So work out what it is that you value in a working situation and what will give you the 'feel good factor'.'
Finally, is it better to have tried something different rather than having regrets later on in life that you never got round to it!