Isn’t it odd the path your career takes? From aspirations of being an astronaut or fireman (or firelady, fireperson, or whatever the bit of PC terminology is), you leave school, maybe do a bit of further studying and then you are expected to know exactly what you want to be in life.
Of course, not all of us can land our dream jobs. I’ve always enjoyed writing and had aspirations to be a music journalist. But after leaving University I found it nigh on impossible to get into the music industry and after over 100 rejection letters I started my marketing career in earnest.
And 16 years since graduating, I’ve continued to pay the mortgage with various jobs in marketing, subsidized by writing about a myriad of subjects including football and of course, recruitment.
But how do I know I’ve taken the right career path? I’m sure I’m not alone in pondering whether the choices I took all those years ago were the right ones. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what I do and I like to feel that my writing output does make a difference to the businesses success.
But what do you do if you feel you have made the wrong choices in life? Are you continuing a career despite the fact that you are not comfortable or capable of doing the job? Unfortunately if the answer is ‘yes’, then the chances of achieving success in your chosen career will be very low.
If you wake up every morning with that sinking feeling, dreading going into the office into a job that makes you feel miserable, then it may be time for a change.
And it may be time for not just a tiny change, but a complete switch of career. As Chris Martin once sung, nobody said it was easy, but what’s the point of staying in a career where you lack the motivation to progress in?
Switching career paths is always a tad risky; after all, you will be moving into a field you have no experience in and the chances of getting rejected are quite high. Nevertheless, I’ve put together 4 key steps to help you evaluate your current situation and then make the transition a little less painful should you choose a life changing career path:
Key Steps 1. Are you satisfied with you current career?
If you do decide to take the plunge and switch careers, you need to ensure that your decisions are decisive and logical. Why doesn’t your current career path suit you? Ask yourself what elements of your job you actually enjoy and why you are unhappy in your job. Could it be that you are just unhappy with the company where you are employed and could a switch of businesses be the solution?
Key steps 2. Are there alternatives within your existing business?
In a tumultuous and highly competitive job market, sometimes changing to a completely new company need not be your only solution. Have you looked at possible alternatives within your current place of work? Chat to your colleagues and peers who you can trust and ask them for their opinion. Is there a vacancy in the company that could relight your flame and get the grey matter working once again?
Key Steps 3. What are you good at?
If you have decided that switching careers as well as company is the only viable option, then it’s time to sit down and list just what motivates you and identify careers that match your skills and interests.
A good starting point is to list your jobs, courses you’ve taken in the past, your interests outside of work and any other significant experience you have had such as travelling or voluntary work.
You can then ask yourself a number of questions:-
- Why you chose to do them?
- Which parts you really enjoyed?
- Which parts you found frustrating or boring?
- Which parts you were best at?
- Which parts you found a challenge?
- What other people have said about your contribution
- What other people have told you you’re good at
This should hopefully paint you a picture of which skills you like utilising, the kind of people you like working with and the environment where you have thrived in the past.
Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to ascertain areas of work which you might enjoy.
Key Steps: 4. Learn about the new career
If you have decided that you want to take the plunge and take a new path, you will need to learn more about it. Consider heading over to LinkedIn and talk to experts and professionals in the field you are interested in. This will give you a valuable insight into the actual work environment and what may be required to forge a way into that industry.
Key Steps: Summary
Changing career paths is a drastic decision and one that should never be taken lightly. But if you decide to make the transition, make sure you do the research and do so with complete confidence and it could be an exciting time of your life.
If you need a helping hand deciding which career path to start on, you can download our FREE eguide below on whether experience or qualifications are the key to getting you on the job market ladder.
Thanks for reading and should you need any further assistance in the recruitment process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here, or you can join the LinkedIn Response Knowledge Network here.
Otherwise feel free to get in touch with me personally, via Twitter or LinkedIn using the links below.