Time for a Career Change?
If you are thinking about a career change, you are not alone. A study undertaken by the University of Phoenix found that around fifty percent of professionals are seeking a career change up until the age of sixty. The reasons include dissatisfaction with one or several areas of work, including work/life balance, salary, working conditions, stress and opportunities for advancement. Finding your true calling and meaningful work are also high on the agenda for career changers.
When you think that we potentially spend 40 years working, it is inevitable that, at some stage, a career change could be on the cards. Yet a change in career can be daunting, and not to mention challenging – particularly when you have spent your entire working life to date in one profession. So, how do make the move into a whole new career path but also get to leverage the body of skills and experience you have cultivated thus far in life?
Take a gradual approach
Severing ties with the old and jumping in with the new is not always the best approach for some. Quite often, taking small steps towards a new direction may be the best way forward. For example, if you enjoy your workplace but have outgrown your job, consider career planning through your professional development plan. Speak to your manager and indicate that you are open to taking on new projects, secondments, or identify people in roles you would like to shadow.
Carly Jenkins was a successful accountant in a large services firm in Melbourne, Australia. Five years ago, she discovered a passion for photography. She decided to start her own photography business, but kept working as an accountant until she was ready to make the transition. “One of the difficulties I experienced in making the shift from the corporate world to my own business was the shift in my own mental conditioning, particularly in relation to my identity. I had identified with being an accountant for the past nine years, that it was hard to then re-brand myself as a photographer.”
Drawing on her solid accounting background, Carly was able to establish her own business quite seamlessly. “This was a huge bonus for me,” explained Carly. “Most small business owners struggle with the accounting and administrative end of their business. For me, it was really quite straightforward, which was great as it allowed me to focus on the photography side of things and growing my clientele.”
The value of education can never be underestimated. These days, however, employers are increasingly looking for stronger credentials and up-to-date skills and knowledge. Going back to university can enhance your job prospects, or it may assist in developing a new career path. It is not uncommon these days for professionals to have completed multiple degrees or diplomas to build or strengthen their subject expertise and skills.
Nicole May was a qualified nurse with almost fifteen years’ experience. She loved her job and her working environment, however, she was tired of the shift-work and hours which were taking a toll on her health and wellbeing. After spotting a job ad for a Training Manager at a hospital, she knew that was what she wanted to work towards. So, she undertook a six-month Training and Assessment Diploma. “Once I decided on undertaking this course I started talking about it to everyone. I was excited about it but also wanted my manager and colleagues to know that I was after an opportunity for career development. By the time I completed my course I was informed of a position within our hospital of a Training Coordinator. I applied for the position and was successful!”
Networking with people in your new industry, sector or organisation could be beneficial for many reasons. Aside from the usual contacts and rapport that networking allows you to establish, it provides a real sense of insight to gain familiarity with the new environment. Perhaps your change in job may be ideal, but is the workplace or industry the right cultural fit for you? Networking allows you to test the waters without making a solid leap, or at least when you do decide to take that leap, it won’t be into the unknown.