Many years ago, one would start a job and be in that job until retirement. Nowadays people regularly do a career change. This can be for a number of reasons, but mostly I think it comes down to doing something that one loves and finds truly meaningful. After all, you spend so much time at work, you don’t want to be stuck in a place where you don’t feel valued.
Changing career does not mean you have to move to a new company or start your own business. It could also simply mean moving to a different department in the same organisation. Example in one of the first companies I worked for, I went from being an armed guard to electronic security sales manager, in the same organisation.
Career change – Find your passion
Are you working to live or living to work? Do you love what you do? Does it fill you with enthusiasm to go to work, or are you simply going through the motions so that you can make ends meet?
Imagine you were laying on your death bed. What would your greatest regrets be if you were to live your life as you do now? What would be some of the things that you truly wish you had done? What would make you happy to know you have done or achieved?
What is it that you truly want in your career? What would make you happy to do? What do you have to do to achieve that? What new skills do you need to learn? How can you use your current skill set to do the thing you love doing? How committed are you to do what it takes to do what you want?
Are you doing what you want to do, or what somebody else expects of you? Many people have dreams of a career change and doing something that gives them meaning. However few people actually take the bull by the horns and make it happen. They get stuck in a rut and simply go through the motions of working to survive. That is not what we were made for. We were made to thrive. To soar with the eagles and live our lives with passion and inspiration. So ask yourself, “What is preventing me from doing what I truly want to do?”
Choose your career path
• What do you do better than anyone else? Is that your passion? Could you make a career out of it?
• You need to become totally clear on what you want. It is very useful to set yourself a goal for what you want to do. Start with the end in mind. By when do you want to have had your career change? Then move backwards to set the little mini outcome s that need to happen so as to make it a reality. Make sure your goal is SMART.
• Be prepared to change. Growth requires change. It is not always easy or comfortable, however if you truly want it, you will persevere.
• Do you want to work for somebody or do you want to be your own boss?
• Assess what skills you have and what skills you need to acquire to achieve your career change.
• Tap into your real “WHY.” Why do you want to do what you want to do? If your why is big enough you will find a way. If it is not, you will find excuses why you did not succeed.
• You must be totally committed to pursuing your dreams and to do what it takes. Do you know he story of how Sylvester Stallone came to be a famous actor?
Changing career in the same organisation
If you want to follow a new change career choice whilst staying in the same organisation, one suggestion might be to find a mentor in the business. Ask them more about the role. What it entails. How did they get there? What did they have to study or learn? Speak to your manager and ask for their help and advice. Speak to friends or family who might be in the same career as what you want to pursue.
People often get promoted to their incompetence. So just because they were good in one role, does not mean they will be good in the next. Example, somebody who gets promoted to a manager, but has managerial skills. You may have to put in a lot of work and effort to get the opportunity or become a proficient in a new position. One does not ask for a raise and then promise to work harder. You work harder so that you deserve the raise. Similarly, you might need to prove yourself worthy of taking on the new role. Circumstances will vary from role to role and organisation to organisation on how choices are made for promotion or changing of job roles. Some companies are happy to promote from within, or support people in changing career path. Others prefer to bring in somebody who is already proficient in the role.
You can ask for training that the company provides. Alternatively ask grants or assistance in paying for any courses you need to take to assist you in your new role. Being prepared to pay for your own career advancement, shows your commitment and seriousness.
Remember that during your first few months in the new role, everyone will be watching and forming their impressions about your abilities. Checking to see if you will make it. There might even be jealousy from peers, who may have wanted the role. Keep your head down and do your best, giving nobody any reason to doubt that you are the best choice. Working with a business coach can really help with ensuring success.
Midlife career change
More and more people are making changing careers in midlife. Reasons vary from looking for new challenges, to wanting to give back to society. Some people are forced to change career due to redundancy or business closures. Some people want to fill something that is missing or lacking in their life. They often ask, “Why am I stuck in a job or career that is not fulfilling me?” There is nothing stopping you from making the leap and changing career. Many people come to do the coaching courses, because they have a passion for, and desire to inspire other people. The wheel of life is a great coaching tool to create awareness for how satisfied you are in each area of your life.
This can be an exciting time as new opportunities arise. A fresh start and knowledge that the younger version of them had yet to learn. Life purpose can change as we get older. From wanting to make as much money and have flashy cars, to doing something that fulfills us. Living our passion, or having more free time as self-employed or small business owners. Having the time freedom to spend with the children or grandchildren; or be able to follow other passions. Not having to work for somebody who demands every last drop of blood, with little reward.
The romance of working for yourself is beautiful and very inviting.
However, there are some very important things to keep in mind if you have never run your own business. Just because it says “director” or “owner” on the business card, does not mean you will be a successful business person. Running your own business takes a lot of effort and there are many new skills to learn. From book keeping and invoicing, to websites, networking and marketing. With so much in between. Of course you can outsource much of this. Remember that it all costs money and make sure you have forecasted and created a proper business plan. A good business coach or mentor can be invaluable here. Having your own business can be so rewarding if it is done right. If not, you can very easily sink all your savings into it.
For many people it is a good idea to start your new business part time, whilst still working and getting a salary. This way you have an income to pay the bills, whilst your business is getting off the ground. You can do business and see clients after hours and on weekends, until your business is strong enough to support you full time.
Having a new career in retirement
That sounds like an oxymoron. Why would you want a new career in retirement? Some people retire quite young. In fact as more people are becoming centennials, I would say everybody is retiring to young. This does not mean you need to work until you die. Similarly, retirement does not mean that you have lived out your usefulness and now need to pass on from this world.
There are two major points to remember about retirement. One is that most people will not have enough money to live the lifestyle they are used to in their retirement. The second, is that many people become very bored and feel that they lose their value in society during retirement. Thus having a new career in retirement is potentially a fabulous compromise. You can work the hours you want to make some extra income, and keep active. Growing old is a blessing. You have so much experience and learnings to share with people who are ready to listen.
5 things you could you do in retirement
• Write a book
• Become a coach or mentor
• Become a speaker
• Do a multilevel marketing business
• Follow your passion. Maybe you have always wanted to do something, but was always too afraid to do it.
Changing career can be daunting or it can be the best thing you have ever done. You are never too old to follow your passion and live your dreams. You are the master of your life and the creator of your future. You are in the driver’s seat of your life and can choose to go down the path of living to work, or the path of creating your destiny in which work is a pleasure and inspiration. Here are another 10 questions you can ask yourself before you quit your job.
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