Do You Need a New Career Path?
You’re really the only one who can answer the question. There’s a lot to consider when you start to contemplate a career change. From redundancy, to boredom, to mental health issues, lifelong careers are a thing of the past.
According to The Balance Careers, people change jobs an average of twelve times throughout their life.
Long gone are the days of our parents or grandparents who stayed loyal to one job and a company pension. They made a lifetime commitment for the security of a paycheck, but let’s face it, the world has changed.
Why Would You Need to Figure Out a New Career Path?
Changing from your current job may not be easy and deserves some contemplation. There’s a big difference between simply quitting a job and redefining your career path. Reasons vary from person to person. Any reason you have would be valid including:
- wanting more money
- seeking promotion
- wanting to relocate
- wanting to travel and explore new cultures
- wanting to give back to society in some way
- to exit a sexist, racists, or unsafe work environment
- wanting to have more family time
- shifting priorities with a pregnancy
- shifting priorities with elder care
- wanting to work from home
- wanting to tap into your creative side
- sheer boredom
- a need or desire to be challenged
- a need to shift from sedentary to active or vice versa
- to use more of your innate skills
- you’ve outgrown the position
- to exit a toxic work environment
- change in personal circumstances ie: inheritance, divorce, or illness
- securing further education
- pursuing further education or re-education
What is your reason for wanting to make a career change? Does it feel valid? It’s important that as you try and figure out a new career path that you open yourself up to possibility and opportunity.
Don’t get down on yourself as you seek out your truth. Keep a notebook specifically dedicated to your decision making process. It’ll help you gain some perspective and hopefully stop you from going around in circles.
Career Paths and Percentages…
About a million years ago (or so it seems), when I was in Middle School, I heard a statistic about people not liking what they did for a living.
In my memory the percentage was high–like 90% plus hated getting up in the morning and going to their job. (If you google it today, the percent isn’t far off–depending on who you ask.)
Hmmm…being so young and impressionable when I heard that, I decided I’d always make sure I was in the 10% instead. Yup, I was going to be one of the rare ones who liked their job. Gotta love the simplicity, eh?
The reality is, if you dislike your job, you’re not alone. How many people just stay and bitch away at how unhappy they are and how many actually set about figuring out how to steer the career path in a different direction? Which will you be?
Always Realize the World is Bigger Than You
There’s so much pressure on people today. The competitiveness of the world seems to hit awfully young and comes along with the compartmentalization of skills.
Worlds of school and forced interaction due to school catchment areas are a temporary thing. After graduation, many students finally realize they never have to see those people ever again if they don’t want to. They can reinvent themselves outside of the imposted restrictions.
Some identify at a young age that they are interested in sciences, arts, or academia only to be encouraged and pushed into that direction for study and employment. What we forget though is that we are constantly growing and changing our focus.
If you look at what your career path was when you were seventeen compared to when you’re twenty-five, it’ll often be two different things. We develop our interests as we explore and experience the world.
There’s an entire world outside your doorstep just waiting to be discovered.
With technology, you can research switching career paths. The world is at your fingertips. This is a gift. Not only can you look at different careers but you can actually reach out and make personal connections with those in different industries.
Don’t be afraid to do this even if you’re not quite ready to take that giant leap. Connecting with other professionals can spur your imagination, provide incentive, and help you learn from others.
There’s so many things you can be and do. All I ask is that you stay true to yourself and be kind.
Be Realistic, Responsible, and Resourceful
If you make a choice to pursue a new career path, you’re not going to start off at the top. That’s just a given. I know your mom thinks you should be the president, but you’ve got to put in the time, get the education, and climb that lovely ladder.
Is that what you want?
Do you want to start at the bottom and work your way up? As you’re working on making decisions for switching career paths, you must also try and be aware of your motivation and how much of a change you really want?
That’s the toughest question of all to figure out. It’s really frikken scary when you try and define exactly what it is you want. So at this stage, get the notebook we talked about and write down your motivations, goals, and what you’re willing to do to get there.
Ask yourself these questions…
- What is your end goal?
- Is making more money important?
- Do you want a change? In what part of your life? ie: location? less hours?
- Can or should you stay in your current job if you can negotiate change?
- Is that enough? Will the current career path ever be enough?
- Is it more about mental health and needing a change?
- Can you live the same way on less money?
- What would you have to give up?
- Do you really want to work from home? Consider all the angles.
- Can you support yourself by starting your own gig?
- What happens if you don’t like the career change that you made?
- What happens if projected targets can’t be met? What know?
- Are you prepared to live with the changes? consequences?
- What happens if you stand back and say–I should’ve done this a long time ago!?
- What will happen to you if you stay in your current job?
- What are you afraid of if you quit? –be specific. This is a big one!
- Is switching career paths a simple thing or do you need to re-educate and train?
- How far are you willing to go to get out of a particular work environment?
- Have you discussed this with the people in your life that will be affected? Spouse? Parents? Kids?
- What is your timeline?
- Do you have a plan B? C?
I would highly suggest you get serious with yourself and not quit one job without having secured another. That’s a real Auntie thing.
I know everyone’s situation is different. If you have a family to support, or a mortgage to pay, that’s a bit different than living in mom and dad’s basement. Prepare accordingly.
Know where you are in life and make the changes for the right reason.
What other questions would you ask yourself?
Switching career paths may be necessary because you’re being laid off, the contract ended, or the corporation is closing. It may also be necessary for your own sanity and mental health. Being truthful with yourself and the people who will be affected is very important. Discuss this with your spouse, kids, parents, or doctor or therapist.
There’s nothing more motivating than being stuck in a shitty job. If it sucks…change it. You have all that power within you to focus on switching career paths. Do your research. Answer the tough questions and make a decision.
If the decision is causing you too much anxiety or stress, then back off and cut yourself some slack. Look at it again next month, or keep a file and keep notes to refer to when you’re feeling frustrated. Don’t give up on yourself or your ability to handle change. You’re stronger than you realize.
YOLO and Sometimes Just Need to Go For It…
Figuring Out That Career Path…
In my twenties I graduated with a degree in Criminology and got work as a correctional officer. I stayed for five whole years. I look back now and wonder how I made it so long. The fact that I had my university degree, I had choices. After dealing with more crap than anyone should have to, I applied for, and got, a job teaching English in Japan.
People were shocked that I was leaving Canada and moving so far away.
They didn’t realize I’d been thinking of the change in career path for a long time so, no one really saw it coming. I left a secure government job as people looked at me and shook their head. They didn’t get it because they really had no idea what I was going through on a personal or professional level.
I never felt the need to explain such a huge decision. I was in a toxic, negative-filled environment, surrounded by a bunch of people I had no desire to know.
At the age of 28 I felt trapped by the regular paycheck and held hostage by a personal relationship where it was all give, give, give. I needed a drastic shakeup in my life and figuring out a new career path was monumental
I used to wonder what would have happened if I didn’t take a leap of faith and go for it. I’ll never know. I like where I landed and am on solid ground.
I do know however, that I would never have survived in that government position without huge sacrifices to my mental health. Leaving probably saved me.
YOLO (You Only Live Once) and sometimes you need to keep that in mind to pursue that change of career. Is there anything holding you back? Why aren’t you making the change?
There Are Some Things That You Must Be Sure of When Figuring Out a New Career Path
I was one of eight kids. My parents lived through the Depression and were hugely affected. Those lessons of frugality and taking care of yourself was instilled in all of us kids.
I’ve never been without a job–or if I wasn’t working, I planned the break and made sure I’d be able to support myself.
Even today, I KNOW right down to my soul that I will always have a roof over my head and food enough to share with my family. I’m not proud. If something happened today and I needed to go work at McDonald’s or digging ditches, you can bet I’d be there in a flash. Or, if I needed to move to a smaller house…whatever…was required, I’d make it work.
Knowing these things is important because some people are too impulsive and end up losing everything and don’t have a place to turn. There must be a foundation upon which to stand in order to be strong.
Make sure you have that prior to changing that career path.
Don’t burn your bridges by just showing up one day with a suitcase. Having a lost soul with no clear path is difficult. You deserve better and that’s why you need to answer the tough questions and be honest with yourself.
Jobs Come and Go… People Change.
If you chose a career right out of high school or university, you may need a change.
As you grow and learn more about yourself and the world, you want different things. Maybe you want something more academic or creative. Perhaps the job you’re in is no longer offering any challenge and has become boring.
There is no one who says you must stay. There are always options if you do your research.
Again, change needs to be thought out and be done responsibility, but hey work out a plan if that’s what you want and make it happen–I know I sure did.
Remember to include things like:
- Housing costs-rent or mortgage. Utilities. Taxes. Fees
- Food. Don’t forget eating out, delivery, subscriptions.
- Transportation. Gas, bus pass, car loan, parking, insurance, maintenance.
- Entertainment. Movies. Streaming services. Gaming.
- Personal expenses: Grooming/hygiene products, spa/salon, clothing.
- Medical. Prescriptions, fees, dental, hospitals.
- Spouse, children, family. How will it affect them? or your relationship?
- Animals or pets. Are you the primary caregiver? Can you afford it?
- Household expenses like cleaning products, maintenance
- Spending money-do you smoke? vape? drink? party? girl/boyfriend?
- If you move, where will you go? What will your take?
- moving is expensive. Hook up fees, truck rental, deposits.
- Plane tickets? Visas? Passport? Health? Vaccinations?
- Going back to school? How will you pay? live?
- Don’t assume your parents/family will support you or provide housing.
- Do you have a budget?
- What’s plan B and C? Write it all down. Research again.
The list can go on and on. If you’ve ever thought of quitting your job and moving on, I’m sure many of these have crossed your mind. The key however, is to write them down and keep track of your thinking. Are you quitting on a whim? Perhaps you dated the guy down the hall, broke up, and now you don’t want to see him… Is that enough of a reason to quit a good job? Your career path is your choice but be realistic and responsible.
You need to examine every aspect of your life, answer the questions, ask a few more, and then make a decision.
It makes me excited for you. Sometimes it’s too easy to stay in a dead-end job that you hate… So take control and step out of your comfort zone. You may not have to quit, but just change up a few things. Any type of change that you can manifest within your career that gives you a sense of empowerment and satisfaction is great. How far you go is always up to you.
You’ve got this. I know you do.
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