Several people consider a career change after years in the same position/sector, while others may experience transitions which are not expected. Career transitions can result from a number of factors, some of which might be in the individual’s control, while others are not (Boulmetis, 1997), as many have experienced in the past year. Nevertheless, it is never too late to change careers. Career transitions offer an opportunity, a challenge and financial rewards, but at the same time might offer stress, depression, and financial problems (Boulmetis, 1997).
Many believe that one’s career is a linear trajectory from when you start working to when you retire. This is actually a myth. People change, industries change and sometimes certain careers even actually disappear. Like our life’s journey, our career journey is multifaceted and transitional (Brimrose & Hearne, 2012).
The important thing is to reflect about where you have arrived and where you want to go. Unfortunately, many do not really know themselves, so this is an exercise in self-reflection. Your job and life experience are very valuable as they present your talents and skills in different scenarios. However, to find meaning in your work and to keep growing you need to look toward continued opportunities to reinvent work, which is as a central part of yourself (Boulmetis, 1997).
Start working towards the next step. Find different ways of updating yourself, with for example different part-time/online courses. Networking is also very essential at this stage, as you never know enough people in the world of work. Try expanding your horizons beyond those acquaintances you know. In addition your online presence is critical at this point in time as it will get many to take notice of you and what you are capable of.
Be conscience that you are taking decisions carefully and from a place of trust in yourself. Take things one step at a time, until you know your plan and are ready to make the move, with confidence. Resilience and adaptability are vital factors to manage challenges in one’s career development (Brimrose & Hearne, 2012). In fact, “a strong commitment to an ultimate career goal can be fruitful if an individual is resilient and develops career adaptability over time” (Brimrose & Hearne, 2012, p.343). It is therefore crucial to be mentally prepared. It may take some time to sort your thoughts and the tasks you need to do in order to change career, but don’t panic.
Be aware of those people who will offer their advice, but to discourage you. Those closest to you, who are usually the most influential in your life decisions, will feel more comfortable to be vocal in their thoughts and opinions. In most cases, they are not questioning your judgement, but are looking out for you. Remember that you are not the only one stepping out of your comfort zone, but those closest to you too.
Last but most imperative – pursue career satisfaction and fulfilment. To make a career change is not an easy decision, but if you prepare yourself for this change, it will pay off into a successful career and a well-lived life. Hold on to what is working for you, let go of what is not, take on new learning opportunities and move on towards new experiences.
Ann Julene Hili is a Career Guidance Practitioner with Willingness. She specializes in working with teens and young adults who are in their educational and career transitions. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
Bimrose, J. and Hearne, L., 2012. Resilience and career adaptability: Qualitative studies of adult career counseling. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(3), pp.338-344.
Boulmetis, J., 1997. Helping Adults through Their Career Transitions. Adult Learning, 8(3), pp.11-15.