Switching Careers (Part 1)

Deciding to change careers is not an uncommon choice.  Many career experts say that a typical person will change jobs at least 13 times during his working life. People usually think of changing their careers due to chasing their life dream, emerging interest in a new evolving field, seeing a successful example (a relative, a neighbor, a friend, a celebrity… etc.), or mismatched expectations of the current job (outcome from the job, declining industry, increased level of stress, looking for more challenge… etc.).

Making the Decision

First you need to distinguish between a job and a career. Some people hate their jobs (occupations, employment) but love their career. This article is targeting people who think that it is not the problem of the current job, but rather a whole career/function.

Second, you have to understand what turns you off currently. Imagine if you have all the money, what would you be doing? Ask yourself, are you happy to be supervised by a manager? Or do you enjoy working on your own?  Do you have the talent of leading other people? What hours are you willing to work? How do you cope with stress? Are you creative? Are you organized? Does helping others make you happy? Do you like techy stuff? Handcrafts? Is just moving to another job, not changing the whole careers, a solution? Open your mind to various possibilities, but be realistic.

Third, having all on paper can help to visualize matters. Make a list of all the things you would strive to achieve with a new career. Write down all of your interests and hobbies, remember, you should have a career that is both interesting to you and makes you excited about going to work each day. The new career should naturally match your personality, lifestyle, interests, talents, beliefs and values.

Review Your Current Financial Situation

Since starting a new career may encounter having you unemployed for some time, especially when you are starting a new business, it is crucial to be financially secure. How much does it cost, on a monthly and annual basis, to support your current standard of living? Are you willing to lower your standard so that you can take a job that pays less? It takes a great deal of courage to do something your heart desires at the cost of some financial loss. Distinguish between your wants and your needs. Go for it if this will make you happy. If you are not financially secure enough, you need to save/budget for however long you think it’ll take to find a job in your new career, then start the switching. To make due in the meantime, you’ll have to either remain at your current job or find a short-term job that will help support you while you find a job in your career field.

Career/Talent Assessment

When you want to change career ask yourself one question do I know what I want to be? If the answer is NO, then you need to start with a career/talent assessment. If the answer is YES, you still may be surprised to know that you are not suited for your dream career at all. Rather than finding this out the hard way and being forced to make another career switch, you can undergo a career and talent assessments.

We are all born with lots of natural talents. As we grow up, progress with studying, change jobs, our interests and talents keep changing. Career/talent assessments will help you to discover what your hidden natural and developed talents are, and what type of jobs that can fit them. Look for a professional career consultant or a specialized institution. Online assessment surveys such as The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS), Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and Holland Self-Directed Search, can be of good benefit too.

You should be aware of the skills that can be transferred from one job to another, transferrable skills, that can help you market yourself. For example, the ability to learn, ability to meet deadlines, being a team player, communicating and dealing with the public, researching skills, negotiating skills, computer experience and adaptability to change.


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