At some point in our lives most of us will consider making a career change. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we are unhappy with the path we have chosen, but is often a product of our fundamental desire to seek out pastures new.
However in many instances, thinking about or planning a career change becomes much more than simple curiosity, but is borne from a deep-seated desire to change our lives for the better. The benefits which can come from a well considered career change can be wide reaching, but the consequences of failing to properly plan and prepare can be equally detrimental.
There is little point in leaving one career, only to find that your new path is equally unfulfilling. To help with making this critical decision, here are 3 harsh truths that you need to accept to avoid career change disappointment.
If you are setting out to find a career which is ideal in every aspect, then you are setting yourself up for failure. As disheartening as it may sound, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect career’, only those which are more suited to you than others. This common notion of ‘the one’ puts an unnecessary pressure on you, and suggests that unless you are blissfully happy in your career then you are missing out.
This internal pressure to find the right job can act as a catalyst, increasing your haste to make a career change without due consideration. In this case you risk having your expectations dashed and being left in a much worse position than when you began.
Alexander Pope offers us some uncharacteristically succinct advice which applies rather well to this situation “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread”.
If you have been working in a particular role or a specific industry for a long period of time, it is unlikely that you will be able to implement a sweeping and immediate career change. Skills, experiences and attributes are important, no matter what career you are entering. You must bear in mind that you will be in competition with people who have been working in the field for many years and will therefore be more qualified than yourself.
Do not let this phase you though, since there are many ways that you can slowly and methodically increase your suitability for work within your new career discipline.
Think about the key skills and competencies which are required for your chosen career path…how can you ensure that you demonstrate these effectively to a potential future employer?
Think about things like;
- Further education such as night classes or distance learning
- Volunteering in a role which give you relevant experience and demonstrate your commitment to a career area
- Hobbies and interests which might help fill the gap between your current career and the one you wish to have
There is often a temptation to try and make your career change as fast as you possibly can; to close the book on one chapter and open on another, so to speak.
But as we have discussed such haste can lead to a number of concerns further down the line.
Rather than thinking that you need to make one monumental career change, consider instead whether a series of smaller and more manageable changes could help to ease the process and improve the overall results.
Do some research into jobs which could provide a bridging point between your current job and what you ideally want to do. It can really help to think ‘outside the box’ in this respect, since the specific skills that you need to gain, could be available in a role much closer to your current position than you think.
If in doubt, have a chat with a career advisor, who should be able to point you in the right direction.