It’s very easy to start thinking about a complete career change if you’re not feeling satisfied with your current position. A lack of future goals, the boredom that’s inherent when you feel you’re not doing all that you could be, and a drop in work interest are all common reasons why a career change is most often considered. Many people believe that they have reached an age where a career change is impossible. However, age is no longer a barrier to a complete goal shift, and by being aware of the possibilities and pitfalls, you could be interviewing for an entirely new career much sooner than you think.
Although it’s never been easier or more accessible to up sticks and move into another career, there are some key questions to ask before you hand in your notice. Quitting your current job may not be the best first step to a new career, and you may be better off remaining where you are and taking the right steps while staying at your current role.
1 – Why? What is it that’s making you feel unsatisfied in your existing role? There are many reasons why your current work role could be unsatisfying. They include:
- Lack of career prospects
- Losing interest in the sector
- Feeling unappreciated or undervalued
- Toxic workplaces
2 – Is it the job? Have a think about what it is that you don’t like about your job. If it’s the role itself, the lack of respect from your boss, or the lack of benefits that you are entitled to, it may be that it’s not a career change you need but a simple change of employer. Consider what factors would make you stay in your existing role. You may find that quitting and aiming for a new career is unnecessary, and there may be alternative options. You could find a similar role in the same sector, change sectors entirely, or even simply modify your current role.
3 – What do you want to do? If you have a set idea of what it is that you want to do in your workday, then you may not have to change careers at all. It could be a simple matter of talking to your employer and changing some of your responsibilities and benefits. Negotiate so that you:
- Have less paperwork
- Work with a wide variety of people
- Have more guidance (or less) from your employer
- Shift to remote work, or balance office and home more often
These are all elements that can be negotiated with your employer, and if you get the results that you hope for, you may not need a career change at all.
4 – What can you do? You need to know your strengths and weaknesses if you’re considering an alternative career. The process will be much faster if you have existing skills that will be of benefit to your new career plan. Look at your transferable skills as well as the hard skills necessary for your potential new field.
5 – What do you want to do? This is the big question, and will determine the chances of success if you make the leap to a career change. If you already have an idea what you want to do instead of what you’re doing now, you need to make sure that it is viable.
If you’re planning to launch your own business, then you need to be aware of the pitfalls, and if you’re planning to head back into education, you need to know about the costs and lifestyle changes that may be involved. Of course, there are ways to ensure that you can get the required education that you need to move into an entirely new sector or career choice.
Online learning is one of the most obvious and popular. You can now take a wide range of Degree-level and Masters-level courses that could be the first step to transitioning into a new career. When you can integrate online learning to your existing timetable, you may be able to carry on working even as you get a degree like a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering online. That makes it much easier to cope with financial disruption and allows you to take more time to consider your next steps.
Career Change Mistakes
It might be tempting to hand in your resignation and leap straight into job-hunting or business plan creation before you’ve even clarified that it’s the right choice for you. There are some common blunders that are easy to make if you’re feeling unhappy in your work, and it’s vital that you avoid them. They include:
Lack of patience: If you hate going into work every day, then you may be tempted to just quit. The key is going to be patience. If you have recognized that you are unhappy at work, then you should start looking at alternative options. Don’t wait until you’re desperately unhappy, as this will encourage you to make potentially damaging spur-of-the-moment decisions.
Financial planning: If you’re planning to return to education or run your business, then you’re going to need the money to support you while you transition to your new career. Do an in-depth financial impact study and assess your outgoings. You may need to change your lifestyle or remain at work until you are able to take the next step into a new career.
Know what you want: If you’re currently unhappy at work, then you need to identify why. It’s not going to be a great end-result if you make serious changes to your career only to find that you’re just as unhappy in your new role as your old one. Identify what you want and don’t want from your new career, and strive to meet your goals.
No matter your age, it’s never too late to make a complete career change. Whether you’ve been working in retail all of your life and want something more office-based, or you’ve been staring at a screen for thirty years and you’d prefer to be outside, there are always going to be options. Prioritize your future and plan well, and you could even end up looking forward to Monday mornings.
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