Making a career change
The process of changing career is a task that may appear easy yet it is a difficult decision to make. It may also be very essential to do in one’s professional life in cases where one is losing interest in the work they do. There are many reasons why individuals change careers but it is very important that when you decided you want to change careers you have a good plan of action, you know what you want and you are well informed. Here are a few things to consider:
Why do you want to change careers?
It is very critical that one scrutinises the real reason why they believe they need a career change. There may be many external influencing factors that are making you question your career decision and there may be personal and internal influencing factors. It is very important that you distinguish between the two so that you make a decision that is suitable for you. If there are external factors you need to ask yourself if those factors are attached to individuals or if they are personal. A simple example of this is that you might not like the working environment you are working in. For example you may find that you do not like being confined to a desk, you would rather be doing field work but your job requires that you do office work only. In this instance you need to ask yourself, "Do I need a career change or do I need to change the job I am doing?". This is an external matter you can change to suite you but some matters cannot be changed. For example your career may be a fast paced career that requires one to keep up with a lot of changes and you may be an individual who prefers routine work. This is an external factor you are unable to change. In this instance you would need to ask yourself if you can keep up and adapt or you need to make a career change. In a case where you find that the external influencing factors making you want to change your career are attached to individuals for example you don't fit in with the people you are working with. You would have to re-consider the idea of changing careers because these factors can be found in any career and any working environment.
Have you done you research?
If you want to change careers it is very important that you do your research. Find out if the career you want to pursue is really for you. If you don't, you may find that the same issues in your current career become issues in the next career of your choice. You need to do some introspection, determine who you are, what you like, what you value and what you are interested in. You need t know the career of your interest as well. You need to know how the career is structured, what work you will be doing, what you can expect with regards to the environment and the job scope. Research is very important, it will help you make a well-informed decision. You need to also understand the journey you need to take in order to get to where you want to be within your new career of choice. It is very critical that you do your research and find out as much as you can about your next career.
How do you want to change your career?
Changing careers is all good and well but you need to understand what direction you would like your career to take when you change it. If you decide to start a new career completely you need to be aware a few factors, like you may have to start from the bottom again because your current job experience may not have equipped you for the new career you are embarking on. You may need to relocate, some careers require one to work in specific environments that are geographically located in specific areas. For example you may want to do a career in marine sciences, these kinds of careers may require you to live in an area close to marine life and this may not be where you are currently located. It is important to be aware of this and to ensure that you are willing to adapt. You may also consider changing your career in a direction that is related to what you know but is in a different field. For example you may be an environmental engineer then you decide you want to change your career to journalism or writing. You may want to consider merging the 2 careers into one, for example you can become an environmental journalist. All this factors need to be considered when you have decided to change your career.
Are there opportunities?
It is also very important to find out if your change in career can be absorbed by the job market. Some careers have a very saturated job market with a very high competition rate. If you are starting up you may struggle to find employment or to find employment that is suitable for you. You need to be aware of this and find ways to make yourself more employable. Ways to do this is to look at following a career in the more scarce and critical skills, consider specialising or catering to a niche market which will increase the demand for your services but in specific target groups, you can also consider merging 2 skills into 1 so that you can cater for more than 1 industry at a time by using the skills you have already obtained and the new skills you intend to obtain. Opportunities in the job market vary and they may change according to what the current demand is. You can also consider other opportunities like free lancing where possible or offering your skills in the form of a service through a business. This way you can create your own opportunities and do so in a more independent manner.
There are various reasons for one to change careers and they are highlighted below:
Lack of motivation
- People lose motivation in their occupation for different reasons. Some may be because they have been in the same occupation and position for too long and no longer feel that they can stay there. For others it’s a need to explore a different environment because the environment they are in, they have been in it for too long. Motivation in one’s work is an important key to enjoying what they do and making a success out of it but once it wanes out, one might want to consider other options.
Change in personality or Growth
- People change and grow over time and with this change in personality comes change in desires, interests and aspirations. This means the individual will start seeking new ways of matching their personality in order to feel more productive and purposeful in what they do. A career that matches one’s personality is very important as it fulfills an individual. It gives meaning to life and prevents boredom.
Hostile working environment
- Sometimes the type of working environment that one may find themselves in may also push them towards changing their careers. For example, there are people who work in environments where they are more prone to getting injured at work, or they have a hostile boss who is constantly demeaning them or they are constantly traveling and don’t get to see their families that often. These are some of the factors that may influence a person’s decision in changing careers.
- As people, we have certain values that we learn and hold close to our hearts. These values define who we are and our everyday decisions that we take. Some working environments might force us to explore other career options due to the fact that they clash without values as people. For example, a highly religious person who gets employed to manage a club or serve alcohol may find that this clashes with their values and therefore need to change careers.
- For some people, changing careers may be as a result of wanting to improve their skills in a certain area. Such a person may decide to take up a course or training in order to reach a certain level of performance in another field. By taking up a new course, one expands their thinking pathways and equips themselves with new skills to change carer and face new challenges in a different field.
These are some of the reasons behind changing of careers. There are many others that may contribute to making such a decision, but one must always remember that this is an essential decision to make if a person wants to grow professionally.