You’ve been working for a while, been promoted several times and have great career prospects. The pay is great, your boss is happy with your work, but something is missing.
You’re not feeling fulfilled. You’re not enjoying your work. Monday morning fills you with dread. Your heart’s just not in it anymore.
Perhaps you need a career change.
Statistics show that the average Australian will change careers anywhere between five and seven times throughout their lifetime. If you are feeling dissatisfied in your job, perhaps you need to consider a change as well.
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Deciding upon a new career
Deciding upon and navigating a whole new career can be daunting, particularly if you have to consider the financial repercussions involved in changing careers. For those with a family (and the financial commitment that goes along with that), the thought of losing income is enough to stop people in their tracks.
However, ask yourself if you would be happy doing the same thing for the next two, five or even ten years. If the answer is ‘no’, then perhaps you need to give more thought to changing careers.
I don’t know what else to do
One of the key challenges people face when changing careers is they don’t know what else they could do. This is particularly the case for people who have been in the same career or even job for many years.
To help you on your way, ask yourself the following questions:
- If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
- Are there any hobbies that you would like to turn into a career?
- Do you like working with people?
- Do you like working outdoors?
- What skills do you have?
- What are you good at?
- What do you love doing, that doesn’t seem like work?
- When do you feel most satisfied?
By asking yourself questions and giving yourself permission to dream, you open up a world of possibilities. Don’t limit yourself before you even start. Imagine for a moment that you could have anything that you want. Once you have a list of possible careers, then it’s time to examine each one carefully.
The next stage is to determine whether what you want is realistic. For example, being an astronaut is probably out of the realm of most people. However, if you have an interest in flying, or space, you may find there are careers in those fields that are more realistic, yet still quite appealing.
Remember, realistic doesn’t mean easy. You may have to take your career change in stages, and put in some hard work (e.g. going back to study). It may take a couple of years to make it happen. But isn’t that better than being stuck in an unfulfilling job for the rest of your life?
Do your research
When you’ve found some realistic alternatives that really excite you, you need to do some research.
Research what kinds of career prospects your desired career can offer. What can you expect to be paid? Do you need to undertake further study to gain extra qualifications? What does extra study look like? Will study be part-time, full-time or online? You also need to determine how much time and money you need to invest into making the change.
Speaking to a careers consultant who specialises in career change may be a great place to start. Take a look online at the kinds of jobs that are offered in those fields. Investigate short courses or degrees that you may need to undertake. You may even wish to speak to someone already doing what you want to do, to get some tips and advice.
Make a plan…and work for it
When you think you’ve figured out what your new career will look like, make a plan and make it happen. Enrol in that course and get your qualifications. Put into place some goals around when you want to leave your current job and how much you want to earn. Write these goals down, because when they are on paper, they become more real and you become more excited about them.
Finally, you need to put in the work to make it happen. Simply having a dream won’t result in the most amazing career landing in your lap. Be patient and do what you need to do. Some career changes may take years to happen, simply because of the extra study required to gain qualifications. However, don’t let that stop you. Use that time to hone your goals, sort your finances and to set yourself up for the next phase of your career.
Making a career change isn’t easy, but it is possible. The stakes may be high and it may be difficult, but when it’s a lifetime of your happiness and fulfilment at stake, making the change is probably worth it.