You do everything right. You're top of the class in high school. You get into your top college. You finish with a degree that you are excited about in hopes of getting a job in your chosen field. But, these days, more and more people are leaving college with an expensive degree only to fall into the first career that says yes to them. It’s no wonder people are finding themselves stuck in jobs they loathe and lives they didn’t dream about. The problem is, it takes a number of years to realize this, by which time the fear sets in and you are not sure how you can get out of the cycle. You’re ready for a career change, but you haven’t the foggiest idea where to start, what else you could do, or what to draw on that drawing board of yours. This post has Top 4 tips to help you take the leap from the job your over and into the future you want.
1. Know What Makes You Sad
Okay, maybe sad was a little strong. Maybe unhappy is a better lexicon to use. Nonetheless, the first thing you need to do is recognize why you’re unhappy in your current job. It could be the lack of progression, the culture, your boss, the pointlessness of it all, anything. But identifying the cause will a) help you understand if these things can be worked out or b) help you avoid falling into the same thing elsewhere. I do recommend trying to recognize the good with the bad though. Consider what skill set you are gaining in the current job that could help you in a future job or how the cash you are making now is helping you go to classes you need to move on.
2. Gradual Change Is Possible
A lot of people think you need to radically reinvent themselves and their career as fast as humanly possible. But this isn’t always best. It’s a lot more realistic to work toward something new over time. See if you can move positions in your current employment, find a mentor to help guide you, take on an evening course, or shadow someone you want to emulate. You might also want to move to your dream job via several jobs. A dream job comes after time - it does not often fall into your lap. I moved through law firms and in-house legal positions and now am working on social media. I would not have the insight for this blog without going through the work experiences I have had. While taking a route through several jobs may sounds long, it can all be used in your path to your dream career.
3. Throw A Hail Mary
If you don't have the patience to stick it out through the gradual change process and you are just fed up and have to get out of your current job NOW, then that’s when a Hail Mary needs to be thrown. The safest way to do is to look for jobs that require no experience, pick the one that aligns with your dream and work your way up. It’s not ideal for someone who has worked their way up the ladder, but it could be the perfect compromise if you’ve tucked some money away. I took one step back to take two steps forward because I did not want to get pigeonholed in one type of law. I took less salary when I moved jobs but it paid off later.
4. Believe In Yourself
This is a huge part of the process that no one seems to give much credence to. But one of the hardest parts of completely overhauling your career is having the belief you can succeed with a new set of tasks. This is because we let our careers define who we are. Accountant. Photographer. Creative copywriter. Whatever. That’s what makes a career change so hard. It’s redefining who you are. To help with this, try telling yourself that you are not defined by your job. You are a good friend, a good spouse, a good sibling, a good citizen. These are better ways to define your success than a career title. Also focus on the positive that you are moving toward your dream job. These three practices to find your dream job may help with that focus. And finally, remember your past and all you have learned. Whatever job you have taken on, I am sure you started not understanding all the ins and outs. But, you figured it out and you can do it again.
What is your advice to those who want a career overhaul?
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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