Looming change is scary- especially when you can’t be sure if you are making the right choice. Career changes are by no means exempt from this- perhaps even more affected by it than many other changes. However, fear is not always grounded (though it isn’t always irrelevant either) - and sometimes it is necessary to fight through our fear of change in order to grow. Today we are going to look at some healthy ways to think about career changes and ways to talk to that fear in order to emerge a more well-rounded and productive person!
What scares you most? When we are thinking about career changes there are two fears that routinely appear- fear of change, and fear of stagnation. Are you more afraid of having to learn a whole new set of skills- or are you more afraid of working the job you have for the rest of your life? The answer to this question varies with everyone, so you will have to search within yourself to come up with an answer. If you find the idea of stagnation more terrifying than the fear of change, it might be time to switch careers- if not, you might be better off staying where you are.
Start something good- don’t leave something bad. If you are changing careers because you don’t like your current job- you probably will not find what you are looking for. Attitude and outlook are incredibly important when we think about big changes- if you are looking for something good you will find it, if you are running from something bad you may be running for a while. Remember that your job and your field are two separate (but related) entities- don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and scrap your career because you don’t like your job. The best thing to do is to wait until an opportunity that actually sounds good comes up, and not to make any big changes before then.
Don’t just follow the money- A bad job that pays well is still a bad job. If you get an opportunity that sounds rough but pays well, focus on the fact that it sounds rough. Your paycheck can only go so far in making you happy.
Be prepared- A career change is a big project- not something to be done on a whim. If you really want to change your career you will need to formulate a plan. You need to think about a lot of things. How are you going to go through training? Which companies do you want to work for? How do you become an ideal candidate for those companies? How will your budget be affected? etc. etc. Making big changes without planning for big changes is a recipe for disaster- make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before putting in your notice.
Big changes require big commitment- but that does not mean they shouldn’t be attempted. If you understand your motives, do your research, and plan out your course of action- you could make a career change that enriches your whole life! Be thorough and honest and the rest will follow.