While the thought of career change is a daunting one, it is an everyday reality for a significant portion of people. In fact, research suggests that between 33% and 56% of the adult workforce actively hate their career and desire change. Considering we spend, on average, 40 hours per week at work during our 45-year careers, not to mention the 24/7/365 connection with work through technology, it is unsurprising that hating your career, is a source of anxiety and upset.
Adopt a Career Change Mindset
If serious about a career change, you must adopt a career change mindset. Think about your career in a more flexible, open-minded and dynamic way. Rather than thinking about career choice as a singular lifetime event, based on a qualification started at 17 and completed before you became an adult instead press pause on your fixed mindset.
Forget the idea of taking a big leap and walking into work tomorrow, handing in your notice and making a dramatic exit. Stop self-talk like ‘I could never do that’, or ‘What would people think’ or ‘It’s easy for other people because they have X, Y or Z’. Career change is a process. It takes personal and professional time, energy and commitment. With the right mindset change is not alone practical it is possible.
Dedicate yourself to slow change
By understanding that career change doesn’t happen overnight you give yourself the opportunity to explore your options. Unless you have the financial means to walk away from your current job change is a strategic process during which you must ask yourself big personal questions and commit to answering them honestly. Without doubt, you will feel self-doubt, worry and anxiety to say otherwise would be grossly dishonest. But remember that nothing worth doing happens without hard work.
The Basics – Get a notepad and use it
Buy yourself a beautiful notepad one exclusively to map your career change. A place that you record notes to keep track of your thoughts and write down your ideas. Choose one that you like the paper in, one that has motivating quotes on different pages and/or one that you like the cover on. You don’t need to be Shakespeare, but you do need to write. The process of writing helps consolidate your thoughts and identify patterns that may not otherwise emerge.
Be Honest with yourself
For one minute consider the myriad of exciting career opportunities in existence today that didn’t exist when you were making your career choice. Irrespective of your age or stage why should you be excluded from finding your place in the 21st-century workplace. Forget about fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown or fear of what others think and be deeply honest with yourself. Sit with your thoughts and peel back the layers of influence of what you think others expect of you. Use your time to listen to what has been on your mind for years. What careers keep coming up for you? What would you do if money was no object? What skills do you want to practice? Don’t limit yourself to practical things, instead, dream big and think broadly.
Catch yourself thinking
For three weeks set aside one minute (yes just one minute) at the same time everyday day to write. Set your alarm and commit this time to the process of career change. Brainstorm, use mind maps, jot down words, write sentences or draw diagrams, whatever works for you. Recall what you enjoyed at work, what you achieved, a compliment you got or something you felt went well. Then follow up with what you didn’t like, what frustrated you or what you hated doing. Always start with what you enjoyed keeping it separate to the more negative thoughts. This is a hard enough process without dwelling exclusively on the negative. This information gives insight into the everyday things that you deeply dislike about your career and need to avoid going forward.
By Sinead Brady