I have been contemplating a career change. Not immediately but in the next 5 years.
So far the advice seems to be:
1. Save money. Any career change will involve some loss of income – whether temporary or permanent.
2. Give it time. Give yourself months or years to make the change. Don’t quit your current job until you have a plan in place. Running away will not solve your problems.
3. Research you. Write it down. What parts of your current job do you like? What are your interests and hobbies? List your skills – writing, presenting, teaching, questioning. List the things you don’t like. What frustrates you? Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to work from home?
What kind of person are you:
– A delivery person – Are you all about getting the job done?
– An idea person – Is it all about working on interesting ideas?
– A recognition person – Is it all about reputation and working your way up the ladder?
– A people person – Is it all about liking the people you work with? Do you want a good work life balance?
4. Imagine all the possibilities. What jobs are out there? Create a list of all the jobs that interest you. Don’t rule out ideas that you really like (yet), because they seem too hard, too scary, too unrealistic. Look at jobs websites. Talk to everyone about their careers.
5. Test out your ideas. Before deciding, try out a few ideas. Interview people doing that job. Volunteer to do related jobs at work. Do a short course. Research the industry. What do they pay? Are there many vacancies? Is there too much competition? Is it a dying career?
Modify your idea – maybe within your big crazy dream there is a realistic idea? Alternatively, at this stage it might occur to you that you want to change companies rather than career.
6. Choose. Don’t procrastinate forever. The sooner you make a decision, the better. Failing fast is better than faffing about.
7. You need a plan. Consider a gradual transition – shift to part-time work or moonlight. Enrol in a part-time degree while still in your old job. Do a financial plan – how will you fund your career change? What will you do in the next 30, 60, 90 days?
8. Act smarter, not harder. The job hunt has changed. Use your existing contacts to find work (most employers would prefer to find someone via their existing, trusted contacts, rather than placing job ads). Use LinkedIn. Build your online profile to support your new goal.
Enjoy the journey.