How often do you ask a friend how work is going only to be greeted with a non-comital shrug and a mumbled, ‘Okay, I guess…but what I really love to be doing is…’
How often have you said this yourself?
They pay the bills, the hours are okay, you even get on with your colleagues but still, it doesn’t light you up inside, it doesn’t spark your imagination, your passion, it’s just…work.
Monday mornings with dread, the bottom drops out of your stomach on the drive to work and doesn’t come back until Friday, you crawl through the days, staring down the clock, desperate for the weekend, yet when it final arrives…it’s gone in an instant.
You’re left with the nagging sense that you’re wasting your life but you feel like you shouldn’t complain. After all, you’re lucky to have a job, right? It’s ungrateful, unrealistic, to expect to actually enjoy it. Work’s not meant to be fun…
Feeling stuck and confused?
It’s one thing to contemplate a career change when your job is hell. When the hours are killing you, you’re paid a pittance, you’re depressed from the stress and it’s just not worth it. Switching to another job in that situation is obvious, because there’s no way it could possibly get worse. It’s safe, not scary.
But when everything’s just a bit ‘blah’ making that leap to your dream career is terrifying. It’s insane. What if it doesn’t work out? What if you can’t pay the bills? What if you end up is a lot of debt? What if you end up unemployed? Surely the grass is always greener on the other side? You should just stay put. Be grateful. Life could be worse…
Life could also be so much better.
So how do you make a confident career change?
Don’t let fear hold you back
If you’re contemplating a career change you can’t let those fears hold you back. They are justifiable, but only to an extent. There are ways to minimise the risks. It’s natural to be uncertain, but even the worst case scenario isn’t as bad as you think it will be.
Your fears aren’t as relevant as you believe, and a career change could be the best decision you ever make. If you’re feeling ‘blah’ about work, or if you out right hate your job, it’s time to re-evaluate the parameters of your personal and professional life.
You need to reframe your fears – what if you could have your dream job? What if you could live more comfortably? What if you could build a career to suit you, with the hours and pay you wanted? What if the grass on this side is dead and will never be green again?
Weigh up your options and test your ideas
It’s time to reconsider your work-life balance. Where are you? What inspires you? What motivates you? What lights that fire in your belly?
What gives you a sense of achievement, or growth, or pride?
What’s your passion?
Career transitions are a process of weighing up your ideas and options, testing them with real-world experience, reassuring yourself that ideas will work, possibilities really are possible, and using the new parameters you have set yourself to shape your search for a new career path.
Even when a new job is an obvious fit, even when it’s a no-brainer that this change – no matter how big – will be beneficial, it’s still tough to make that leap.
How do we know we’re making the right decision?
Here are a few practical steps to soothe your fears:
- Set aside some time to think, plan and reflect upon your career and future prospects.
- Find a sounding board – a friend whose opinions you trust, a career change coach, a mentor, or a spiritual leader you can turn to in times of confusion.
- Save a realistic buffer before you make the switch, to tide you over while you get on your feet.
- Don’t take on debt unless you absolutely have to. If there’s no option, keep it to a minimum, ensure you can make the repayments, and check your terms and conditions carefully to avoid paying a fortune in interest.
- Don’t give up your current job until you are certain you have secured another.
- You don’t have to do it all at once. Step change your career with a plan to reduce your hours or change the nature of your role at your current workplace while you decide what you’re going to do, retrain, gain work experience, or start your own business. That way, you retain some income and security until you’re ready to make them move to your new career or business on a full-time basis.
- Make sure you gain any new skills or experience required before you take the plunge – that way, you’re starting from a strong position and you will have gained confidence in your abilities.
- Make a phased plan: break it down into stages, create your own measures of success and don’t feel pressured
- Put together a backup plan, just in case – it will make you feel safer knowing what to do if something goes wrong.
Are you thinking about a career change? What are you afraid of? What’s holding you back? Share your blocks in the comments below.
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