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Is it Time for a Career Change?

Published by: LifeWorks,

After trying to get some career coaching, enhancing your skills through training, and pursuing lateral moves and promotions within your field, you may still feel unfulfilled in your work. It may be that you’ve fulfilled what you needed to on this path, and it’s time for a new career. While this can be a daunting thought, especially as we get older, it’s important to recognize that this can be an exciting new phase in your working life, allowing you to recapture feelings of excitement last felt in high school, university or college. There are many things to consider when making a career change, particularly if you have to balance a career change with other responsibilities.

Here are some things to consider as you make your plan:

Reflect and Research. Start with reflection: what do you like and dislike about your current career? What do you like to do for hobbies? What do people tell you you’re very good at? Know more about you to start. Then, start seeking out the types of careers that use these strengths most commonly, and that have some of the positives you’re looking for. Take stock of your career and find out what opportunities may be available within your present company. If various options are available, consider further training or job shadowing to meet the requirements of the job.  If you need to move on to something different, consider volunteer work outside of your current job and some networking within your field of choice to learn more about it. Research to find out what skills and or education you will need to enter this career path.

Seek a mentor in a field that you are interested in. Networking has significant advantages when pursuing a new career. You meet people in the field and get the benefit of their experience, opinions, and suggestions. You can even find a mentor in your chosen field: a senior leader, an immediate peer, a professor, or instructor in the subject area. Mentors will equip you to identify, ask for, and begin a new career. It does not always have to be a formal request, if you know your potential mentor well, or are comfortable with the one you’ve met, you can ask for a recurring meeting over coffee or lunch. Just make sure to be clear about what exactly it is that you are asking of them.

Set a goal and timeline. You’ve reflected on your wants and needs, researched your options, done some networking and consulted a mentor. You know what you want, and how you can get there. Great! Now, you’ve got to set the actual plan in motion. Figure out your key milestones along the journey to your new career, and document them. Then, pick your target date and work back from that to know when you need to achieve each milestone to achieve your goals and objectives. Follow the SMART objective method to ensure you are setting achievable goals.

Commit. There may be small adjustments that have to be made along the way, depending on life events or circumstances. Change the route, extend or shorten the timeline, but remember to stay focused on your commitment. Go to your source of motivation, whether inside or outside of yourself, to remain passionate about your goal when life becomes challenging.

Changing careers can be hard, especially if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed by conflicting responsibilities. Identify your support system – the people in your life who will cheer you on and help you out – and get them engaged in your journey. And most importantly, celebrate your successes along the way while treating any obstacles or missteps as learning opportunities. This will help keep your wellbeing in check, keep you excited about the journey, and ensure you have the capability and resilience to meet your goals. And, if you’re having trouble getting started, your EAP can help!

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