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Making a Career Change Successful

by Bethany

People are not keeping the same careers for 40 plus years these days. I have never been the person to think I would do the same thing forever. You may be in the same boat right now for your own reasons.

Making the move to a new career is just as exciting as it is stressful. Having a plan in place with a to-do list is going to help make the transition into a new career a successful one. 

Do Some Digging

Quitting your job with no plan may have worked for some people, but I believe in having a plan. This means starting with what you would like to do instead.

Before leaving an industry, also consider if your dissatisfaction is with the career or the people and the place? Could a switch into a new office be what is needed rather than pursuing a whole new thing? What needs tweaking?  After some self reflection, it may still be that you do not want to be doing what you are doing. 

You know you are ready for a career change, but have no idea what that change will be? Time to do some research and self-discovery before quitting your job.  

My self-discovery: “I want to make money from what I create. I have and always will be an artist, a writer, and a creative.”

Deciding what to do for a good chunk of your life is worth the effort. 

Create a Plan and Stick to It

So what is it going to take to get where you need to be? It is time to create a plan and then stick to it. By stick to it, I mean track your progress. 

What is the primary goal for the career shift? I crave being able to create, and I want this to always be a part of my work life.  I also want less stress and to break from the 6:30 am- 5 pm routine of being a teacher.

Do you want: 

  • Less Stress
  • More free time 
  • Make more money 
  • Feed your creativity 
  • Help others 

After identifying the WHY, the missing piece then is to figure out what you need to learn or do. This is the part where I think most people get stuck. This is the doing, the growing, and sometimes the waiting part.  

What is standing in the way? When creating your plan you need to make a list so you have a clear objective to avoid the shrug of the shoulders and going back to the original plan. 

Do you need to: 

  • Aquire new skills
  • Meet certain people 
  • Grow an audience 
  • Finish up a large project at your current work 
  • Pay off an Auto Loan 
  • Move to a new city

Whatever it may be, it is time to write it down, then break it down into chunks. Small steps will get you where you need to go. You just have to keep making them. Set reminders in your phone and make sure you keep the steps small and manageable. 

I used Trello and made a daily list of small items I could do over the course of a year and a half. This included taking design courses to renew my previous education, buying a new domain, establishing myself as a freelancer, and getting my first clients among many other steps.

Try It Out 

Most importantly, the initial steps in your plan should include a test run. Some careers will not work out. Maybe they looked better on TV or from a distance, but once in the thick of it, the career is not what will work for your life.

You can try out careers while still in the same job. No need to create an unstable income yet! 

See if you can: 

  • Volunteer
  • Job Shadow 
  • Start the career as a small side hustle 
  • Work part-time 
  • Intern 
  • Talk to someone (multiple people) in that career field 

Think of this like all the times in High School and College when people were asking you to try it out! Now you have to search that out on your own. Give it a try to clarify it is for you. 

Get It! Like, actually get it.

Now it is time to find the career you want! You know your why, you gained the skills and did what you needed to do, you tried it out. Let’s get it. 

In an ideal world, you would be able to get the career or job before the quitting your current one. I do realize this is not possible for all individuals, but let’s make that the goal so your finances can stay intact during the transition. 

While gaining the skills and putting in the work for your new career is area number one that holds people back, the job hunting process comes at a close second. Looking for a new job mid-career can be even more daunting. You are going to have to put in the grind for this too. 

It is all about the update.

You will need to update your resume, your cover letter, and your interview persona. Learn new keywords and apply them to your online presence. Whether this is your Indeed Resume or your LinkedIn Account, keep it all fresh and make it known you are ready for this new position. 

Use your old connections or hire a recruiter. Do not be afraid to ask for help. You made it this far, and it is no need to keep your desires a secret.  

I will be rooting for you!  You got this! Keep going! Get your dreams! 

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2 comments

The $76K Project March 16, 2019 - 9:00 am

This is a great post, Bethany – such actionable advice here. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in my current situation; I feel like I need a more concrete plan before I make any decisions.

I really relate to your need for creativity and less stress. I crave both.

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Bethany March 16, 2019 - 9:26 am

Thank you so much! I found that making a plan was the hardest part due to all the anxiety of leaving. I would also say there is stress in any transition, but you have to weigh which is more stressful the current job or the transition?? I know you have spoken about your stressful job right now and I really hope this can change for you soon!

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