Change is not always easy, especially when it comes to changing careers.
There are questions asked. There is a sense of having had enough of the present career, and at the same time there is a lingering self-doubt. Whether it’s you yourself contemplating over these questions, or someone else questioning your decision, it is not uncommon to find yourself wondering:
- Will I be able to do it?
- Do I have what it takes to start over?
- Is it wise to make this leap?
- Am I making the right decision?
You may or may not be able to answer these questions with conviction, because after all, sometimes you don’t know until you try.
But there are some things you can keep in mind before you actually take the plunge and decide to change careers.
Why do you want to change careers? Is it because you want to take a leap of faith, or is it because you want to run away from your current job? Is it because your job has been wearing you down?
As we mentioned briefly in one of our previous posts about strategic quitting, it is necessary to think if it is the job or career itself that is the problem, or any particular assignment.
- Would things get better when that particular assignment is over?
- Would the storm-clouds clear once that difficult discussion is over?
- Is it just a phase that you are dreading, and how long would it take for it to pass?
- Are you threatening something long-term by getting bogged down by a short-term problem?
- Is quitting the assignment an option? Can you delegate it?
- Do you want to switch companies?
Making this distinction between a need to change workplace and a need to change career is necessary.
Often, we think about changing careers, and stop there. As a result, we might end up in the wrong job. Again.
To get a clearer understanding of your decision, and avoid making the mistake of choosing a wrong job, it is a good idea to think about what you want from your career change.
Think along questions like:
- What skills do I want to use or want to develop?
- What type of challenges do I want to face at work?
- What can I see myself doing long-term?
- What am I missing in my present line of work?
But thinking about the skills you want to use should go along with thorough research. Read on the next bit.
Steer Clear From Generalised Rose-tinted Research:
Do you want a career change, or do you want to use a particular skill, which can be used in other ways without switching careers?
Researching thoroughly about the potential new career is important. Each career comes with its challenges and unlikable aspects; are you prepared, or willing to learn to handle those?
For example, you may think teaching is the career you want to get into from your managerial one. You have a passion to impart knowledge to young minds. But apart from imparting knowledge, teaching can also include managing unruly pupils, correcting piles of exam papers, repetitively teaching the same material for years etc,.
Taking off the rose-tinted glasses while researching about a new career will give a realistic picture of the scenario.
Prepare a Plan:
If you do decide to change careers, it is necessary to do some planning.
This includes preparing a financial plan.
Changing careers is not the same as switching companies. Sometimes, people might not be willing to wait till they get a job and then handing the notice in the present one. Switching careers can have phases of staying at home.
One might get a new job in the new career line in days, weeks or even months. It is necessary that there is some financial plan to pass those days of transition, where there will be an absence of steady income.
It is also necessary to make a psychological plan to endure those days of transition. Psychological planning can include anything from:
- Setting up a strict routine, where you divide time between job hunting and leisure time
- Learning new skills, required for the career change or anyway for hobby.
Psychological planning is necessary to stay sane when faced with the unstructured routine and uncertainty that comes with transitions.
Before you do decide to take the leap, it is necessary to try to make things right in your present arena. One final thing to wonder is if it a career change you want or you want to better the circumstances of your current one.
Changing careers can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Setting priorities right, researching and planning are the first few steps towards making that necessary change in your professional life!