Changing careers can be a very difficult and emotional time in your life. Experts in the generation debate tell us that the Baby Boomers very rarely changed their career, Generation Xer’s (my generation) will change their career 3-5 times, and the Gen Y or Millennials will change their career 5-10 times in their lifetime. Most people are very resistant to change and, when they do take that action, unprepared for the path in front of them. I have been asked by many people; “what can I do to make the change easier?” While there are things that will work for some people, others may not find those tactics work for them. Below are some suggestions to help you prepare for and deal with the career change.
If you already know what you want your next career to be, great! You are a few steps ahead. If you do not know or are unsure here are some tips to help.
- Write a list of the things you like and do not like to do in your current position. Think about all the aspects of your job. This list will help you to identify possible new careers.
- Research positions that have the tasks you like to do and figure out which of those positions might be of interest to you.
- Determine what transferable skills you have for the positions and what courses or education you would need to complete to get yourself in a desirable hiring position.
- Talk to people who work in those positions (either in your company or outside) and ask them questions. The most important question to ask is not “What do you like about your job?” it is “What don’t you like about your job?” Let’s face it; there will always be things that you do not like. The point of this is to prepare you for that, to determine whether or not you feel like dealing with the things that other people do not like about that particular job.
- Take some time and talk to employers or managers who hire for these positions. Ask them about the hiring requirements and discuss with them your plans to see if you are on the right path. These people are the ones who can tell you what kind of salary you could expect, the prospects of getting hired and the demand for the positions.
- If you are struggling to determine what career path to choose there are companies that can help you, they will do personality testing, extensive interviewing and come up with some suggestions for you.
When I was in my mid 20’s I was working as an Assistant Manager in the Restaurant industry. I loved the hiring, training and health and safety aspects of my job, but was tiring of the customers. I stumbled upon a college program that someone had left behind and started to browse through it. I read each description of the programs being offered and got very excited when I saw the Human Resource Management program. I already knew that these were the aspects of my job that I loved; I registered for full time classes two days later and quit my job. Now not everyone can do this, I had some money put away and the support of my family. This was the start to my new career. But it is only the first few steps in this journey. Finding work was a whole new challenge.
What challenges have you experienced in your career changes?