When you’re young it seems as though destiny beckons with a pointed finger, urging you on the straight and narrow path towards the mountain of your dream job.
And then you turn 30, and realize that you’re just as confused as ever and that this is simultaneously both confusing and liberating; good and bad. We often get sucked into the ideology of having a single career path that is consistent throughout our lives—but this is not necessarily realistic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has no recorded data on career changes because job shifts are too numerous to keep track of, but standard theories predict seven career changes in a lifetime. It is rare to find someone who sticks with one career for their entire professional lives. Having a change of heart or a new inspiration can be life-changing in a very positive way.
If you do have stroke of spontaneity and feel like a new direction is right for you, there are a few important things worth keeping in mind. Managing a career change, especially in the middle-aged years, can be tough. But if you stick to some basic tenets of wisdom, it can be done.
Make Sure You Really Want It
Sometimes we’ll get sudden pang of envy when we see a movie star on a billboard, or someone else doing something we consider our “dream job.” But they say that the grass is always greener on the other side. And they’re probably right.
When considering a career change it’s important to question your motives. If they are based on fame or prestige or wealth, it’s worth considering how far down the professional rabbit hole you will have to chase these incentives before you are finally satisfied. Chances are, the rest of your life. Make sure your motives are pure and the benefits are attainable and not superficial before you decide to pack up what you already have going and jump ship.
Use Social Media
Social media is becoming an increasingly effective way of marketing yourself, showing off your CV, and making important connections in whatever field you may be looking into. Recent statistics show that LinkedIn has almost 250 million users and 3 million companies. Facebook is a good way to find out about jobs through social connections and company pages. Using these tools, you can really give yourself a boost in the direction of that new job. Let the Internet be your friend.
Aside from all of the information about potential jobs you can find through intelligent web browsing, you can also use the powers of the almighty Internet to make yourself a more attractive employee and get you going in the right direction within your new field.
If money is tight and you are working a day job to support the transition period between careers, you will want to look into home learning courses and other ways to educate yourself online. Online education has the benefit of being available from home, often on your own schedule. So take the time to invest in your own education, and the career rewards will be great.
It is important to be well versed on exactly what type of career change you want before you make it, and your deep personal reasons for switching things up. It’s best not to rashly make these types of decisions, but to sit on them to make sure they feel right.
That being said, when life beckons, and it seems as though the time is ripe to switch lifestyles, don’t let hesitation and fear hold you back. Focus on these tips and you’ll be awarded with an exciting new professional experience.
Photo credits: grant cochrane