Have you been waiting for the ‘right time’ to focus on a career change? There never is a ‘right’ time. So maybe now is the best time... You have around two months until children break for summer. Now is the perfect time to get clarity on exactly what is next for you, so you are all geared up to move forward by the time they are back to school in September.
So, how on earth will you decide what your next ‘thing’ is? You know you’re unhappy. You know you don’t want another 20 years working in the career you're in... but you also fear it’s too late. Too late to go back to square one in a new career. Too expensive to re-train. What if I told you, you don’t need to re-train or start at the bottom in order to change your career?
A study by Indeed found the average age to make a career change is 39. It also found only a third of those career changes undertook educational training to help achieve that – and that doesn’t all equate to lengthy degree programmes. For some it was a short course to increase their skill set.
I spend my working life coaching people to achieve career changes – so I know with certainty, it is possible. I also know how my clients – and how I, before my own career change – spin themselves in circles looking for an answer. My top tip is to stop! Stop trying to find the career or job. Instead do these things first:
There is a high chance you are experiencing mismatch in your work values. It is critical to understand what’s important to you in work... A supportive boss? Being challenged? Autonomy? Work-life balance? Knowing this will help identify what is missing in your existing situation. Your new career must fit with your top values. If you struggle to figure this out, this test will help: www.123test.com/work-values-test
What are all the skills you have (developed both inside and outside of work)? Which do you want to continue to use or develop further? This will also give insight of what is going wrong in your current role – are you using skills you don’t enjoy using any more?
Stop looking for the solution
Bear with me - I haven’t gone crazy! Constantly looking for the answer is what is keeping you stuck. It’s like trying to put the roof on a house with no walls. You need to figure out what the walls are made of first – what will bring you happiness? Aside from the above two points, what are you interested in? What are your non-negotiables? What do you need to feel satisfied at work? Once you are clearer on all of these areas you can start thinking of options.
Get new input
When the answer does not lie in your own head, you need new input. Take responsibility to find this. Talk to new people, attend workshops, engage with people with different, but interesting, jobs. Google research is great, but there’s a high risk of getting sucked into a black hole, watching cat videos before you know it! Nothing is better than actual human connection to gain new input that will be of real value. Expanding input will open you up to new ideas you didn’t even know existed!
Have no filter!
When considering options look out for “I would love to... but” thinking. When we instantly shift to all the reasons something won’t work, you are filtering, validating and deciding all in one go, based purely on assumption. Instead, write all possible ideas down – crazy and sensible. Research those you’re most drawn to. Once you have researched and understood what that career change would entail then, and only then, you rule in or out. This will allow you to truly understand why something may suit you – or not. Your brain will then be more inclined to look for ways to make it happen – rather than reasons it can’t Deciding based on fact – not assumption – is the key.
Taking control of your career when you are stuck and unhappy is nothing to feel guilty or self indulgent about. The cost of ignoring it will be way higher. You deserve to be happy. You are most certainly worth it!
This process is not easy or quick, but definitely possible. If you need help working it all out, I’m here and happy to chat – here’s a link to my diary.
Rebecca Amin can be found via her website: www.rebeccaamincoaching.co.uk; or in her Facebook Group, Career Happy Mums. You may also like to listen to her podcast to draw on inspiration from those that have navigated change: Career Happy Mums - The Podcast.