Are you tired of your work routine, burned out on your occupation, or struggling to please your boss or coworkers? Maybe it is time to seriously consider a career change. Here are 5 Action Steps to help you get moving:
- Evaluate your current life situation and how your work fits into it. Do you live to work or work to live? Are you staying in a job that you don’t like just to pay your bills? If so, how is that impacting your family, your health, and your precious time? How do you want to spend your days? Where you do want to live? What lifestyle is desirable and what are your most important values? Optimally, you want to have meaningful, purposeful, satisfying work that energizes and enlivens you as well as pays your bills.
- Look beyond your occupation. Just because you’ve always worked in an office as an administrator doesn’t mean you have to stay in this field. What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies and interests? What are you doing when you feel most exhilarated, alive and engaged? Do you love to cook and fantasize about being a personal chef or having your own restaurant? Well maybe you can! Just don’t go after “hot jobs” because they might be lucrative unless they are truly a fit for your skills, talents and personality.
- Do the research. One of my favorite sites to share with clients is http://www.onetonline.org/ You can browse occupations by industry, by employment outlook, by how much education or training it requires, by industry or career cluster. This Department of Labor website links with others to provide wage and data info, hiring trends, and growth patterns. You can even find out the prevailing salaries of workers in an occupation in your geographic area. (Handy to know when you receive a job offer and want to negotiate your paycheck). Another consideration is the physical demands a new line of work may require. For instance, it may not be practical to become a massage therapist if you have joint problems. Find out before you enroll in a program.
- Identify your transferable skills. What skills and abilities do you already possess that are valuable in a different line of work? We all have them but often overlook them. I’m talking about non-occupation specific skills such as public speaking, writing concisely, gathering resources, implementing new systems, mentoring others, translating complex information, and building consensus. Here’s a checklist for you.
- Examine the market. The bottom line here is who needs what you have? Where is there a problem you can solve? Does your community need another coffee shop or chiropractor or whatever it is you plan to do next? Consider the timing. If you need to go to a 4 year degree program to enter a new field, better be sure it is in a growth mode. New occupations are arising all the time. Five years ago “Social Media Consultant” wasn’t an occupation. Today, it is a promising field along with distance learning coordinators, GPS systems developers, nanotechnology engineers, and about anything in the green industry. Again, check out Onet for info on emerging careers, as well as the outlook for careers you are considering.
“You don’t have to do any kind of work, there is choice. Get the information you need to chose well.”