In today’s uncertain economic climate you need to be open to change.
Gone are the days of working for one employer until retirement, getting the gold watch with a pension, and then riding off into the sunset (or the nearest golf course.) Today, workers must be adaptable and willing to change careers multiple times. Are you dissatisfied with your current job? Are you eager to make a change? If yes, there is a way out and here’s what you need to do to make the transition a smooth one while you’re still working full time at your current job.
Commit to small changes…
Many people will hang onto their current job because they need a steady paycheck, they’re afraid of change, they don’t know what their next step should be, or they just lack the will to move….even if they have a genuine dislike for their current job. As my marathon coach loved to say, “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable!” Those who are committed to changing careers should do the following:
- Make small, achievable goals. Write them down. Then review them daily or weekly to track progress. My favorite source of inspiration for goal setting and habit formation is a popular blog called ZenHabits. Finding a mentor is another way you can make steady progress, since accountability to an objective advisor can be highly motivating. Ivy Exec offers a world class mentor network that can match you up with a mentor who can make a tremendous difference in your job search.
- If possible, find opportunities in your present position to work on what you’d truly love to be doing in your “career of careers.” If that’s not an option, volunteer for a non-profit organization in your free time to gain the on-the-ground experience you need.
Sometimes switching careers can feel overwhelming. By taking small, achievable steps you will start seeing success very quickly.
Become a student again…
If you want a new career then you’ve got to surround yourself with as much information about it as you can. You’ve got to live it and breath it. Some of the things you can do include:
- Finding and studying articles or books about your chosen field.
- Talking to people who work in the field to find out how they got started and seek their advice on making the jump. It’s easier to find those people these days thanks to programs such as the Ivy Exec Mentor Network, and sites like Meetup.com, or even LinkedIn groups. Conferences are still a great way to meet people in a given industry.
- Take some night classes or weekend seminars that teach you about your chosen field and/or the skills you’ll need to be successful in the new field
- Find a nonprofit and offer your services for little or nothing in your free time in exchange for the chance to learn.
You might have to spend extra time after work or on weekends, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Just as golfers visualize themselves sinking the winning putt, professionals preparing to switch careers need to see themselves succeeding in their new field.