Ok, time to level with me.
Are you still absentmindedly clicking through indeed.com? Maybe LinkedIn or Glassdoor is your tool of choice? Is it because the work you do now isn’t fulfilling and you’ve finally come to the conclusion that “I need to make a change in my career”
If you’re right on that edge of “something must be done” about this you probably want to know what’s the most important thing I need to consider when making a career change?
Well, you’re in luck!
Why? Because we’ve asked hundreds of people who’ve made successful career pivots the same question after they’ve completed the journey:
“What advice would you give someone who’s decided they want to make a career change?”
What came back was surprising! It didn’t have anything to do with the best resume ever or the best tactic to market your skills or even the steps to take
Nope! Instead it turns out that all of them described making a career change as a journey and there are far more important advice to consider.
We’ve taken the advice from 6 successful career changers and put it into this article (below). You can also listen to all of it on the podcast here!
Love Yourself (But In Ways That Fuel The Fire)
Did you know, people who focus on being happy are more successful than people who focus on being successful? It’s true; success isn’t the precursor to happiness.
Honing your daily routine to make yourself happy, boosts your ability to think creatively, to positively spin any bad interaction or mistake you make into a learning opportunity, and uncover new ways to solve issues at hand. All of which, are perfect for any work environment.
However, those superhero work skills don’t perform unless you’re happy. And if you’re not happy, you’re probably not taking care of yourself.
As the owner of a business that teaches men yoga, Matt takes care of himself. He exercises, sleeps well, and eats well. And he has to! His dedication to health and wellness is part of what makes his narrative credible for his business. But there’s a huge bonus there: the energy Matt puts into taking care of himself is energy he’s able to put right back into his business.
So, do you take care of your health? If not, that’s first on the checklist. Taking care of your body gives you more energy and makes you feel better about yourself. And when you feel better, you’re more likely to do better – in everything.
Now, let’s talk about another way you might not be loving yourself:
How we think about and, talk to, ourselves impacts our quality of life drastically. For instance, if we tell ourselves to expect perfection, or instant results, or a 0.01% error rate in our work, we feel horrible when we fail. And when we repeatedly fail at not being what we expect of ourselves, we begin to doubt everything we do and distrust our abilities. That leads into a depressing and self-limiting cycle of existence.
Living like that, isn’t healthy or happy. But, one way you can take some of pressure off yourself, is coming to terms with something Louise said: Career isn’t everything.
Making “career isn’t everything” manifest in your life, looks different person to person. However, people who don’t solely focus on career often spend their free-time engaging in a hobby, bonding with loved ones, or doing something they love while connecting with others.
Activities like the ones we just mentioned, recharge our batteries and spark happiness. They give our minds a break to connect dots and process. Meaning, you might have the “Eureka!” moment as to what you want your next job to be while you’re out hiking.
Don’t Look For a Job; Look For Help and RelationshipsDo you remember working customer service during the holiday season when you needed that job in college? Yeah, we did that too…And experiences like that can easily make us believe that people are just the worst. But actually, people are great. And you need them to make your career change happen. Consider what Laura has to say:
Laura speaks the truth, folks. It took her a moment of talking down her pride, but asking for help from others is what catapulted her into her career change journey.
It NEVERS hurts to ask and, in the midst of something like a career change, asking can get you pretty far. Listen to Rebecca:
We can’t tell you how invaluable coffee conversations are! Rebecca is so spot on when she says, “…that’s how most people find their jobs…” Asking someone about their job, that genuinely interests you, shows the person you’re ambitious, dedicated, and hungry. Talking over coffee about their job also endears you to them. And bonds like that, can come back with project or job offers you might not have received otherwise.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture
We can’t help but agree Michal. Despite the setbacks and obstacles that come with changing careers, if you see it through, things will indeed work out. We all need that reminder, because some weeks, we only remember how hard we fell and not how much progress we made since the start of our journey.
Nobody will ever say changing your career is easy but, just about everyone will say it’s worth it. Take, for example, what Dave Stachowiak says:
“…I’m not sure how this is all going to work long term. Yes I’m struggling this week or this month…but I said I was going to do this, so I’m going to keep doing it.
…One of the NBA players said, being a professional is about doing the things you love to do on the days you don’t feel like doing it….there are many moments like that in all of our careers.”
Each of these sound bites from Dave are invaluable. Dave, who works with Dale Carnegie and stared his own organization and leadership academy, has even had doubts about his path. But, he told himself, keep going.
Dave also took inspiration from the NBA player, Julius Erving. Julius’s quote aptly reflects the amount of work and effort that goes into achieving a goal. Plus, it highlights importance of why meaningful work doesn’t sprout out of your fingertips after a week on the job.
Honing your abilities to create life-impacting, meaningful work can take decades. We’re serious; that’s how it should be. Learning to love yourself, asking for help, sincerely connecting with others, and honing in on the work you love, can take decades. Even Julius Erving recognized that which, is why he continued to work on his craft even when he didn’t feel it, to serve the bigger picture he had for himself. That all takes time.
Last but not least, we’ve got a few more golden nuggets from Rebecca we want you to read:
Rebecca’s words hit home for us. Our experiences to find meaningful careers hasn’t been a straight shot. It’s definitely been more of a zigzag, obstacle course.
Despite playing Chutes and Ladders with our career moves, we also acknowledge at HTYC, that skills are transferable. That’s empowering when starting a new career path because it means you don’t start from scratch. You rather, move sideways and start your new career on a comparable rung level to the rung on the ladder you just came from.
Also, and this is so important, do trust your gut. Not trusting yourself can result in dead-end jobs, unfulfilling careers, or worse.
In short, these are the pieces of advice that helped each of these successful career changers:
- Do the things that fuel you! Take care of yourself, physically and mentally, and focus on being happy to ensure that you’re putting in as much energy in as you put out. Otherwise, changing your career is going to fall flat, just like your energy level.
- Ask people for help and for conversations. At the end of the day, connecting with people is how you get a job. Just make sure you’re actively seeking folks to chat with who do something that interests you.
- Don’t forget the big picture. Don’t forget that things will take some time, and that you’ll have to work at it. But also remember, things will work out.