Are you feeling sick and tired of your job? Maybe you are ready for a career change but frozen by fear of taking the leap into something new.
You may be fed up where you are, yet still not allowing yourself to move forward and do something that will make your work more satisfying. Maybe you think you’re too old, or are worried you will have to go back to school and earn a new degree to move on.
From my experience in guiding hundreds of people through career transitions, the way to your new career may be shorter and easier than you think. The key is to get really clear on what you want to do and plan properly. A properly planned career transition can shave months – if not years off the time it takes to reach your goals and save you money in the process.
Below are 8 steps to consider before making a career transition:
1) Find out what you want to do. If you’re not clear on what you want to do, it’s going to be really hard to get there and you’ll likely waste both time and money in the process. If you don’t know what you want to do, it may be wise to invest in working with a career coach who can help you in this process.
2) Make sure you are clear on why you want to make a transition. Not getting along with people at work may not be a valid reason for switching careers. There are probably other and better ways to solve this problem. If the tasks you are doing on a daily basis bore you, or you’re not getting paid what you’re worth in your current role, you may want to consider a transition. But before you do, find out if switching jobs, company or industry will solve this problem. It’s also wise to look within to see if there could be other personal problems that are interfering with your satisfaction at work.
3) Find out which steps you have to take to transition into the career you want. You need to speak with other people in the industry, make informational interviews and research the career, to make sure this is both something you want to do and to get a clear sense of what it takes to succeed in this career. Maybe you need certain certifications, experience, training or schooling before you can start working in the role you desire.
4) When you’re making a transition, it’s always important to have a clear understanding of your finances and how you’re going get by during your transition. If you’re planning on going back to school, you need to make sure you can cover your basic living expenses while you’re in school. If you’re planning on starting your own business, you need to know you have funds to live off until your business becomes profitable.
5) Find out if what you want to do is realistic. This is always a hard question and a reason why so many people choose to work with a coach through this process. We can’t see ourselves objectively, so getting the feedback from a coach can be very valuable. I’ve worked with so many people who are more capable than they think, and if I didn’t support them in the process, they would have given up, yet they turned out to be really successful in their new careers. However, there are also people who think they can do anything, but who lack the stamina, skills and experience to pull it off. Make sure you have the right expectations and that you understand what it takes to make a successful transition.
6) Make sure your immediate family supports you along the way and that they understand why it’s important for you to make the change you’re making. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make a transition without support from the people closest to you.
7) If you have decided to go for it, make a plan for how you’re going to make the transition. Depending on what kind of transition you are making (going back to school, starting a new job or starting a business) your plan could entail different projects and steps. Make sure you are realistic in creating your plan to not cause frustration down the line.
8) Adjust your course along the way. It doesn’t matter how clear your plan is, most likely not everything is going to turn out the way you planned it. Stay open minded in the process and look for opportunities along the way. Don’t be afraid of adjusting your course, if necessary.
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If you have gone through a career transition I would love to hear what you think was most challenging for you. Please comment below, if you feel inclined.