I remember exactly what it felt like to spend an entire working day in the growing hope that there must be something else out there I was better suited to than the work I was currently doing. Every meeting I went to, where we all dressed as clones in our black suits and made polite small talk over lunch about the weather/sporting prowess, I kept thinking how much I wanted to wear bright colours, my scruffy blue jeans and orange converse and have more important in-depth conversations.
Unlike many career changers I didn’t actually hate my career or my current job. I got a lot of satisfaction from everything I achieved in my role and I had the privilege of working with wonderfully supportive, good-humoured and hard-working people. I was just convinced I had a lot more to offer than I could give in my career in international tax. And so my career change journey began.
I’ve had a lot of personal experience, and experience from being part of the journeys of other career changers. So, here are 15 things you can do to change career…
- Decide you actually really want to change career. Realise instantly you don’t actually have a clue what you DO want to do.
- Get onto Google and quickly type in “what to do to change career”. Feel overwhelmed by the number of positive searches. Take a deep breath and read at least twenty articles on all the things you need to do. Make a list of all those things. Add to it over the following week. Ponder how many times you’ve written the word ‘research’ or ‘analyse’. Notice how many times you’ve written down ‘update your CV’.
- Load up your CV and stare at it for three days wondering how you can make yourself look good to future employers. Update CV for your latest project and tweak the font type five times to make it look good. Feel proud of yourself for taking action.
- Google all the job titles you think sound interesting. Get sucked into regret for not having looked at these when you started your career. Whatever were you thinking of for not following a career in catering when you were 18 and obsessed with literature. Feel sad and buy yourself a latte or a bottle of wine to console yourself.
- Tell your family and friends you want to change career and let them know in no uncertain terms you are very excited. Admit after a few rounds of questions you don’t actually know what you want to do next. Add a mess of doubts, challenges and fears to your growing pot of career change emotional chaos. Decide to give up on career change… at least until the alarm goes off to drag you out of bed and into work the following morning.
- Spend three weeks reviewing and analysing options for degree and masters courses in ten different subjects you know you’ll need to change career and create a brand-new spreadsheet including the length, cost, modules covered, and any other interesting pieces of information. Feel depressed that career change is going to cost you a fortune and you’ve no idea if you really want to do that ‘thing’ anyway. Delete the spreadsheet.
- Go on a shopping spree to make yourself feel better. Return and decide you can’t afford a career change anyway.
- Do an online personality test (even though you’ve already had at least one done at work). Decide that it’s: 100% correct, a total load of rubbish, or you must have completed it wrong. Do at least one more.
- Write down a list of all your skills you could take into a new job under the heading ‘My transferable skills and talents’. Review your list five times and each time cross one off as not really being a ‘skill’ or a ‘talent’, and become increasingly convinced your only hope is to stay exactly where you are.
- Get excited when a Google search in your lunch break brings up some amazingly inspirational quotes. Create a new Instagram post and print it out to stick on your fridge at home. Read it the following morning and never notice it ever again.
- Buy yourself books on how to change career. Pick one, underline at least 50% of the text and continue reading excitedly until 2am when it wakes you up when you drop it heavily onto your face. Decide to use the stash of books as a makeshift bedside table.
- Sign up to updates from at least ten inspirational people including career change coaches and organisations. Spend the following week constantly deleting the emails arriving on a daily basis, fail to have time to read the so-called inspiring articles and struggle to find the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
- Decide it’s time to hire your own career change coach. Feel very proud of this powerful action. Google ‘career change coach’, become totally overwhelmed at the number of people and pick the third one on the list because they have a nice sounding name and a slick website. Have a couple of free introductory coaching calls and decide you can do this all by yourself without anyone else, thank you very much. Feel incredibly confident and capable.
- Make an appointment with a recruitment consultant, or your HR team at work, and explain how much you want to make a career change. Present your updated CV proudly, clearly set out the remaining two transferable skills you’ve identified and ask them to send you job opportunities in x, y or z new fields. Never hear from them again, or receive twenty job opportunities the same afternoon in exactly the same line of work you’re already in. Resolve never to speak to them again. Have a similar conversation the following week with a different agency/HR person. Totally give up on changing career. It’s obviously not for you. Feel thoroughly ineffective and incapable. Go to bed early.
- Have a bad day at work. Go home and drink a lot of wine. Have an amazing revelation. You’re going to change career… back you go to number 1…
Sounds like fun, eh?
I’m also the Lead Coach on Careershifters’ next Career Change Launch Pad starting on 5 October 2019. It’s the world’s longest-running group-based career change course, and a very different way of going about your career change.