How to make a career change
Posted on 25/09/18 by Kate Arends
Recently I started using our mailing list as a way to send personal notes to our subscribers, on my professional path, on the reason why I started Wit & Delight and on what I hoped would come out of this new evolution of our brand. I have also invited readers to respond directly to their honest ideas on the type of topics we have talked about on this platform. There were MULTIPLE really productive feedback along with some incredibly helpful constructive comments on topics that we did not spend a lot of time exploring: aging, finances, career development, spirituality. And, of course, a series of requests for me to devote myself to lifestyle issues like building a house, decorating for living (not for those who visit) and how to maintain a sense of uniqueness to your sense of style when we're bombarded by so many visual candies everywhere we look.
These answers have given me so much to work and really excited me for writing again. So I decided to kick off one of my first topics requested by the reader with what came most often: how the hell do I change career? And when will I know I'm ready? You may find yourself at this junction for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you are entering the workplace again after raising your children. Maybe you found a job that hurts your mental and physical health. Or maybe you need a challenge, something to guide you in the next phase of your career. There are some times when we feel vulnerable to when we embark on a journey where we KNOW to be the loser. Navigation on this path is overwhelming, exhausting and often impossible.
1. Allow yourself the opportunity.
What I mean by this is that you have to face every doubt you have and accept them as part of the process of evolution. Let's say you want to enter the creative sector but you do not have work experience in a creative field. You are currently working in politics or sales of pharmaceutical products and you are sure that you would need an internship at an agency or a BFA to get to the door. Very few of us have the time, resources or money to get an afterthought, but that does not mean we do not deserve to take our lives in our hands and move towards something better. You can keep moving to the life you want, despite the feeling you might fail. You must give yourself permission to have a different relationship with your work. Do not apologize for that!
2. Get specific.
The experience is worth more than you think. And a strong work ethic? Well, this has been going on for a long, long, long time. Write a list of reasons why you are attracted to this new field of work. So write down what skills / talents you have. ALL sectors need people with a great work ethic, integrity, willingness to learn and responsibility. Search for patterns in your answers – what problems could solve your skills in this new industry? This helps you focus on where to start your search. Find out how you can become a resource in this new field of work based on your skills. Are you incredibly organized and good at managing schedules and people? Consider the management of the project. A solid communicator who defends your team and sells new ideas? How about an account executive or public relations? Getting specific information about your strengths can help you direct you to a direction that allows you to quickly start the interview.
3. The central part is the most difficult.
Something that calmed me when I boarded the unknown is that nobody really talks about half the journey. This is because the central part of almost EVERYTHING – a new project, the construction of a house, the hammering of the sidewalk on a job hunt, the learning of a new skill … is the funniest, most disordered part of the process. We are excited to set goals and celebrate our results. We talk about the trip when it is over because we have the advantage of hindsight. So remember – if you're in the middle of your trip, or if you've come to terms with the fact that you MUST undertake this journey to get you out of our current situation, it should suck. That means you're doing it well. Because we are fixed on what the final result will be without a roadmap ahead of us guiding the way forward.
4. Do not wait to start learning.
If you need to learn a new skill to enter your door, commit yourself to becoming familiar with these skills. I am a huge advocate of online courses to dabble in different skill sets and these days you can learn just about anything on the Internet! One of the biggest things I look for when hiring someone is their willingness to solve problems without direction. The desire to learn shows not only a commitment to grow, but your willingness to expand your knowledge base when a challenge arises. This is hard to find in an employee, so consider it a way to stand out from your colleagues!
5. Connect with people who support and inspire you.
They say you're a reflection of the company you care about. Spend your free time around people who fill you and inspire you to be the most authentic version of yourself. The people who support you are not the ones that validate your fears. They are the ones who promise to hold you responsible, who can cheer you up when the going gets tough and be a shoulder to lean on when you need to let off steam. It is important to remember that this is a vulnerable moment and that the company you have can help you feel secure and remind you that while part of your life is in the making, there is stability and consistency in other areas.
6. Fill your free time with your passions.
Sometimes you decide to want someone based on a series of assumptions that do not prove true. By taking time to pursue the things you like to do, you are able to take advantage of what you could lose in your career right now. Sometimes a job is just a job and that's fine. Find the time to do what you're passionate about for a while. This will give you the headroom to think about what kind of work enthuses you and the time it takes to create new jobs or put together your portfolio (or website / examples of your work).
7. Tell people what you want.
The more people who know you are available and have a clear idea of what you are pursuing, the more people can keep you on top of the mind. It also helps to make claims that are a little scary in your head out loud. Start by doing it alone. Register yourself by stating which change you are working on and why. Listen to it. You will be surprised at how confident you are – there will be a little trace of the anxiety you will feel inside! I often do this when I embark on something that terrifies me. So, tell someone you trust. So, start telling people in your network who could make a presentation or a connection. Practice talking about your career shift, having a brief elevator talk about the work you are looking for (remember- take into account) and clearly state how you can help are the three most important ways you can defend yourself.
These suggestions are not designed for a specific type of career path, but they require to be subject to the fact that much of the world we live in is beyond our control. To make big changes, we often have to face our fears, find ourselves worthy of what this change will bring and take small steps forward. After all, we can not control which cards are dealt, but we are sure we can control how to respond to them.
OK. I'm going to write that last line on a post-it for the next time I feel defeated. Readers – am I missing something? Have you gone through a huge commitment to change career? Why did you do it? Has your life changed in the way you expected? At the moment we have many readers working on this and they are all ears!