Today’s career experts agree that most people experience a change of career 3 to 7 times throughout their working life. This means a complete transformation—new job, new industry, new employer. It’s a big deal. These are the kinds of changes that cause massive amounts of stress, anxiety and worry. Sure, they can be exciting at the same time. But overall, a change of career is nothing to sneeze at. It takes more planning and preparation than most people realize.
So, if you’re considering a career change, these tips will help you understand what to expect on the long road ahead.
1. Be Patient
When you’re ready for a change, you’re ready. You want it NOW. Only, it doesn’t work like that. Changing your career takes time. You can’t just drop what you’ve been doing and move on to the next thing overnight. It’s a process that can take up to several years. So don’t get in a rush. Enjoy the slow journey toward your goal. Remember that what you’re doing today still has value, even if it’s not ideal. Give yourself the luxury of time.
2. Do Your Research
What skills, education and experience do you need to make this career change? Perhaps you need to go back to school, or take an internship, or look for an interim job that will provide you with the background you need. It’s rare to be given the opportunity to do something completely new without any formal education or experience. It happens, but only for a lucky few.
3. Make a Plan
Map out the steps you will take to get from where you are to where you want to be and commit to a realistic timeframe. Look to your friends and family to help support you and hold you accountable. Or work with a career coach to create a concrete strategy and help keep you on track.
4. Get Involved
Your new career comes with a new community of colleagues. Get to know them. Learn their language. Find out what publications they read and what associations they belong to. Get to know the experts in the field and stay up-to-date on new research and emerging trends. Insert yourself into the world of this new career.
5. Be Willing to Start Over
The truth is that a career change often means you’re going back to square one. It can mean less money, less seniority, fewer benefits, and proving yourself all over again. If you’re not willing to make these kinds of sacrifices, you’ll need to reconsider your decision.
Remember that opportunities will expand as you grow in your new field. And determine what it’s worth to you. If this new career promises a greater sense of fulfillment in the long run, perhaps a little sacrifice is acceptable for now. Only you can make that decision.
I meet a lot of people who are unhappy in their career. With job satisfaction at a 22-year low according to CNN, it’s not surprising. Once these people find out what I do for a living, they’re quick to share the details of their situation. Now, I love talking about this stuff so no complaints here. But, within just a few minutes, I can usually tell exactly who’s going to actually fix the problem and who’s going to continue stewing about it without ever really taking action. And it’s this latter group that really irks me. They’ll never be satisfied and they’ll always find a way to blame something (or someone) else.
Here’s what I believe causes this:
You aren’t interested in self-reflection.
Job satisfaction isn’t all about the job. It’s about the match up of job and person and how well they provide for one another’s needs. If you don’t know what you want, you’re never going to find it. It’s not enough to know what you don’t want. The process of finding fulfillment involves rigorous self-exploration and, if that makes you uncomfortable or if it strikes you as unimportant, prepare for more of the same.
You aren’t willing to invest your time or money.
Finding career fulfillment isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes an investment of resources. But it’s surprising to see how many people aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is. They say it’s important but their actions suggest otherwise. The way you spend your time and money are direct reflections of your values. If career fulfillment matters to you, it’s worth the sacrifice. If you’re unwilling to cut back in a few areas to make that investment possible, you haven’t made it a priority.
You expect it to be easy.
Here’s the truth: Finding a career that really nourishes you is hard work. A lot of people will say you can take a 60-question assessment and get all the answers, but I don’t believe that. I’ve never seen any test work like a magic bullet the way many people think they should. And I’ve never seen them provide the same kind of insights that come from a few well-guided conversations with an objective ally, which is why I think coaching is the best way to handle career issues.
Fear is probably the number one thing that keeps people from achieving the satisfaction they deserve in life, both personally and professionally. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of risk, fear of making the wrong decision. These feelings are normal, but they’re also dangerous. Fear keeps people stuck in horrible situations simply because they’d rather fight the enemy they know than venture out and face the unknown. It’s a sad waste of human potential.
You’re unwilling to take responsibility.
At the end of the day, career fulfillment, job satisfaction, whatever you want to call it…is all about YOU. Nothing else controls the situation. No one else is responsible. Hold yourself accountable for your life and the choices you make. Stop blaming external forces. That’s a victim mentality, and you’re not a victim here. The situation is 100% in your hands. Sure, it’s a hard reality to face, but it’s also empowering. Once you’re able to see that you hold the cards, a world of opportunities will open up.
This article might have been hard for you to read. If I struck a nerve here, I apologize…kind of. But you obviously kept reading so something made sense to you as well. Congratulations for letting yourself see the hard truths in your situation. Sometimes, that’s all you need to push yourself over the hurdle. Now go take action. Change the way you think and behave. It’s not too late to get some satisfaction.
A little while back, I wrote an article called How to Work For (or With) a Perfectionist. And it got me thinking…I could probably write a whole series of these. I could substitute perfectionist for almost anything: control freak, micro-manager, procrastinator…the list could be endless.
We’re surrounded by flawed individuals in everything we do. That’s what it is to be human. Working with humans requires patience. It’s an art form, you might say.
Here are a few helpful hints I’ve discovered in my time on Earth.
Let It Go
People are, by nature, imperfect. It’s not something they do intentionally and it’s not personal. Spend a significant amount of time with anyone and, sooner or later, the faulty wiring will show. Don’t dwell on it. This person isn’t just trying to get under your skin, no matter how it might feel.
Every human being is completely unique. And yet, they are all so inescapably HUMAN. You’ll never find a workplace that isn’t full of them, so get used to it. The stuff you deal with on a daily basis happens all over the world. It’s the unavoidable reality of life on Earth.
Know What You Control
The most wonderful—and most irritating—thing about humans is that they don’t come with any kind of control panel. You can’t punch in a code and make them behave in a certain way. The only one you can control is you. Take advantage of it. Don’t relinquish that control to someone else. If your boss is having a bad day, it’s his issue, not yours. You can’t control his mood and his mood doesn’t have to control you. That’s the beauty of free will.
Remember Your Own Humanity
It’s easy to point the finger at others. But we’re all in the same boat, my friend. Right now, a co-worker of yours is reading this thinking about all of your imperfections. That’s cool. You’re human. You’re allowed to be flawed. There’s no manufacturer’s guarantee on your back. And, in fact, those are the things that make you beautiful. If we were all the same, the workplace would be incredibly boring. Life as a human—and with humans—is full of surprises and frustrations. But I assure you, it’s better than the alternative.
Recently, I presented a webinar for my good friends at Careerealism. Because J.T. O’Donnell, the founder of Careerealism, is so cool, she gave me permission to share the recording with all of you.
Here’s the description:
Are you a job hopper? Do you bounce from one job to the next, never feeling satisfied? You’re not alone! But you don’t have to accept this as a way of life. Everyone can find long-lasting career fulfillment…even YOU.
During this webinar, career coach Chrissy Scivicque will give you real strategies for overcoming the challenges that have kept you professionally stuck and unhappy for way too long.
Attendees will learn:
What causes job-hopping and is it really such a bad thing?
How to stop these negative patterns when you’re ready.
How to conduct a proactive job search in order to make the RIGHT career moves at the RIGHT time.
How to pinpoint what you want and need from your career (and ignore what others want or need!)
Are you ready to find and create REAL, lasting career fulfillment? Watch the webinar now!
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, February 09th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
One of my favorite parts of coaching is watching the progress that takes place. Sometimes it’s so minute, an average observer might miss it. Other times, it’s so unbelievably big, both the client and I have to step back and simply bask in its glory.
Progress can sometimes be hard to define. It’s the step between here and there. It’s the motion of doing and achieving and yet, at the same time, still striving for more. Progress is what happens when you feel the pull of your dreams, and instead of just sitting there, wishing and waiting, you dive in. Progress is that one-foot-in-front-of-the-other rhythmic plodding of hard work.
And yet…many don’t appreciate the beauty of it. Making progress means you’re still not done. You have more work to do. That’s the mindset some people get stuck in.
I encourage you to see progress for what it is—dramatically different from completion—and love it for that same reason. Progress is the epic journey from where you are to where you want to be. It can be long and irritating and frightfully uncomfortable. But that’s the nature of transformation.
Here’s how to make progress happen:
Explore with a Curious Mind
There are different kinds of journeys in life. For some, you’ll have a clear destination in mind. For others, you’ll wander until the right road appears. In all cases, exploration is a critical part of making progress. Even if you know precisely where you want to end up, the process of veering off-track with intention and curiosity can actually help you chart your course more effectively. It can reassure you that your path is right or it may help you identify new trails to blaze.
Just be sure to drop breadcrumbs as you go so you can always find your way back when needed.
Take Slow, Deliberate Action
Action is indeed a critical part of progress on any journey, but not just any action. Progress is thoughtful and measured. It’s not some wild game of “Guess What’s Next?” Each step is taken with purpose and its impact carefully dissected before taking another.
This isn’t to suggest risk can’t be taken or your pace must be painfully sluggish. Make movement with intention and let speed not concern you.
Establish Your Rhythm
Progress is methodical. It’s a steady march forward. While speed should not concern you, cadence is another matter. Build momentum in the beat of your footsteps. Keep it constant and firm. Let the sound of progress resonate in your soul and in the world.
Bring a Companion
Any journey is more enjoyable with a partner—someone to celebrate the victories and share in the frustrations. But when it comes to making progress, a companion offers much more than company along the way.
This person is not a leader or a follower; he is an ally, a teammate, a support mechanism to help keep your stamina up when the road ahead is cold and unwelcoming. In your darkest hours, he will remind you of how far you’ve come and help maintain your rhythm when every bone in your body is begging to give up. Your companion will hold you true to your highest, most magnificent self and won’t let you be less.
Above all else, making progress is not like winning a race. Yes, it requires endurance and, at times, extreme exertion. But the journey is the reward, not the finish line. Progress happens in the day-to-day. Recognize your evolution. Give yourself the respect you deserve for making it happen. Don’t brush it aside like a pesky disturbance between you and your goal. Savor it. Remember that this progress was made by you. It’s the result of your sweat. And progress itself is the epic journey.