Although the thought of changing career can be tempting, a career change is only worth considering if it enables you to do something better than at present.
Too often people make career changes without fully thinking it through, and end up regretting what they have done. There are four important things you need to understand about yourself when contemplating a new career. They are
- Your Skills- What do you do best and what can you improve?
- Your Motivators- What activities and outcomes really drive you?
- Your Interests- What does a career need to offer for you to find it interesting?
- Your Values- What really matters to you.
Each of these areas sound simple but to get them right requires a lot of thought. To make sure you are thinking things through properly you should also talk to friends, colleagues and professionals, to validate your thinking and hear how they see you.
Once you feel you know as much as you can about these four areas, the next stage is to draw up an outline of what your ideal career would look like. Using the information you have gathered about yourself, try answering the following questions.
- What would I like to achieve with the work I do?
- What sort of work will allow me to perform at my best?
- What sort of work environment is right for me?
- What can I do with my skills, and how can I improve them?
With the answers to these questions you can then start to explore different careers and see if they meet your needs. There are thousands of different careers out there, you can’t be expected to know them all. So you might want to use a book of careers- there are several on the market- to help you get started.
At this stage you will probably have several different career options in mind. This is now the time to do some serious research ,to find out as much as you can about each option, and choose between them.
The best way to research a career is to shadow someone who does the job you are thinking of. Unfortunately this is not always practical. But you can find out a lot by talking to people who work in the fields you are exploring, and asking what their job is like. You can also discover much by visiting the websites of relevant industry bodies or professional association, and by reading relevant newspapers and magazines. The more research you do, the more you will be able to rely on your eventual decision.
Changing career is not a light matter. You do need to feel confident that you are doing the right thing before giving up whatever career you currently have. But switching from a career that you don’t enjoy into one which is right for you will change your life for the better. As long as you are prepared to put in the work to find it.