Are you challenged at work? Do you regret your career decisions? Are you happy?
If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine the next steps.
Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by saying, “I am surviving” when a colleague asks them “How’s work?”
Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.
Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life
How to Know If You Need a Career Change?
The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain, and internal health issues.
You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire for true happiness. Here are some common signs that it is time for you to change your career.
Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?
It feels amazing to receive a paycheck, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.
In the case that your colleagues or boss takes advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety due to the fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.
One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America. In most cases, it is related to stress.
I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference because I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.
Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:
- The tension in your neck
- Difficulties with sleeping
- Unable to concentrate
- High anxiety
If you start to feel that your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life, such as friends and family.
Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?
Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?
It is important to think about the work situation because some people decide to change careers for factors that are insignificant – factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.
Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:
1. The Desire for an Increase of Salary
The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe that they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.
At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one expects. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
2. Overnight Decision
Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is that the negative and positive points are overlooked.
3. Rejected for a Promotion
I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds like a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.
4. Bored at Work
Think deeply about this point. If you work a repetitive job, it is normal to feel bored.
You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work, or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.
A career change can take time, networking, and education, and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:
- How long have you worked in your career?
- What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
- Do you receive recognition?
- Can you consider working in a new department?
If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations helped, then it’s time to make a career change.
How a Career Change Will Change Your Life
I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area.
After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family, and she almost lost herself.
One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.
It is a classic example of a person who was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry, but changed careers.
A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem, or revive the excitement for one’s work.
You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:
- Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
- Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
- Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in new activities, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.
How to Make a Career Change Successfully
The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.
1. Write a Career Plan
A career plan has a deadline for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking, or improving issues at work. A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.
You can learn how to set your career plan here.
2. Weigh Your Options
If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used for a variety of roles.
You don’t have to stick to what society holds as a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.
3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons
It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.
A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:
- Economic factors
- Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
- Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
- Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work, or volunteering is a recipe for success.
- Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars, or self-study is an option
- A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.
4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach
A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:
- What is required to be successful in the role?
- What certification or educational development is needed?
- What are the challenges of the role?
- Is there potential for career advancement?
A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about your desire for a career change.
Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed
5. Research Salary
Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.
It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.
6. Be Realistic
If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.
For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials, or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve-wracking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.
Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, there are other roles that will make you happy.
7. Volunteer First
A person who wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.
Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget, and public speaking.
Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.
8. Prepare Your Career Tools
I recommend asking a boss, colleague, or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance.
Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:
- Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching for images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
- Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
- Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design, and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
- Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.