Change Careers: Your New Life Path in 5 Easy Steps

by on March 9th, 2015
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I don’t know when it happened. Not exactly, anyway. What I do remember is waking up one rainy March day and realizing that I wanted to change careers. It was as though my thoughts and feelings over the years had culminated into an epiphany, and I knew it was time for my life to switch gears.

The job I had once tolerated was now intolerable. During the course of a few months, my job had reached a dead end. I wasn’t feeling intellectually stimulated, the worked lacked challenge, my coworkers (while great people to talk to) were getting increasingly lazy and I started feeling mildly depressed every morning when I realized that I had to go to my job.

So I took a step back and tried my best to objectively evaluate my job. Was this a career that I wanted to continue to pursue? Could I see myself doing this type of work 10 or 15 years down the road? Was I satisfied? The answer to all of these questions was a resounding “No!”

I had taken the job solely for financial reasons, and now the faults in my plan were beginning to show. That said, I didn’t want to just abandon my job without thinking things through, so I did what I do best – I made a list and devised a plan of attack. My ultimate goal? To seek and find career happiness. So what was on my career plan list?

1. What do I enjoy?
First and foremost, I wanted to find a career that I loved. I was seeking a career that I could be passionate about and could tackle every day with enthusiasm. I made a list of my interests and objectively looked at each one for career and earning potential. Yes, I enjoy singing in the shower, but would someone pay me for that? That would be a huge “no.” So, crossing singing off my list, I moved on to my other hobbies. I knew that writing could become a paying gig, and it was a hobby that I could get excited about every day, so writing became one of my viable career options. That said, I do still plan on trying my hand at a few other hobbies for extra income!

2. What do I dislike?
There are some jobs that you know are off limits. The trick to this tip is figuring out why some jobs would be considered off limits to you. For example, if you love dance but hate exercise, choreographer would be a much better fit than ballerina. Or you may hate the thought of being an accountant because of an aversion to math or finance. If that’s the case, you’ll know to think twice before taking on a career that involves a lot of number crunching. Knowing the “why” of your dislikes is an important part of discovering the perfect career for you and your future.

3. What will the new career pay? How much do you need?
So, by now you have a general idea of the types of careers that interest you. Now you need to zero in on what type of work, specifically, you want to do and figure out if it is financially feasible. Take into account your monthly budget, how much income your household will need and whether or not you can be flexible with your lifestyle. In other words, if you absolutely love a low paying career, figure out a way to live more frugally. Make your dream happen, even if it means living a bit leaner than you were before. Trust me, your happiness is worth it!

Also, keep in mind that some careers take a little time to get going. If you dream of being a trend-setting blogger, know upfront that it can take a while for your blog to pick up steam. You likely won’t be rolling in dough right away, so be prepared to take the time to establish and grow your new career.

It is also worth researching niches within your chosen career. Writing, for example, can encompass a wide variety of earning potential due to the types of writing jobs available. Copywriting, fiction author, blog writer, ghostwriter – all of these niches pay differently from one another, and involve different types of clients and fee schedules, so it is worth taking a little time to do your homework.

4. Take advice with a grain of salt.
Within your family and social circle, there are undoubtedly a wide variety of opinions and ideas. Friends, family and even acquaintances may all have thoughts and comments about your future plans. Some comments may be positive and upbeat, some may be on the negative side and some may be unintentionally less than supportive. Advice provided out of love and concern is always appreciated, but keep in mind that you do not have to take the advice given (despite the intention of the advice giver).

Every person in your life has had unique experiences that lead them to their own, individual conclusions about various situations. If people are supportive of your new career choice, great! If not, listen and evaluate their comments. If there is some sage wisdom there, put the words to good use. If it is simply envy or negativity talking, let it go, and don’t look back.

In short, make your own decisions, and follow your heart. This is your life, your dreams, and it is up to you to make them happen.

5. Stay passionate, focused, and curious.
As with anything in life, a big part of staying interested is passion, excitement and enthusiasm. Being passionate about your career, focusing on your craft, keeping an open mind for new ideas, and committing to being a lifelong learner are all important to maintaining your career enthusiasm.

Talk to other professionals in your career field, read books, study up on the subject, give talks, take classes, get involved in industry groups. In short, stay involved in your career and your enthusiasm for it will only grow stronger.

Keep the fire burning, and stay positive – with a lot of focus and a lot of dedication, your career dreams can come true!

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