Career Transition

Burn the Ship and Get a Better Job

better job

Is your career a bad fit? Do you want to make a change but you aren’t sure where to even start? I know that this can be very stressful because I have lived it.

I transitioned out of a career (law) that I found disempowering to fulfill my entrepreneurial interests. Here are five things that helped me to move out of a bad career into one that was empowering, engaging and fulfilling.

1. What Else Do You Want To Do?

There are annoying and frustrating days associated with any job or business. Don’t hypnotize yourself to think that once you make a change that everything will be smooth sailing. You may find that what you embark on is actually much harder than you realized. If you don’t plan carefully, you may find yourself in a new job that is only slightly better than the previous one, and looking for a change again. Start by answering these simple questions: What do I value? What is a path worth sacrificing and struggling for? What is something that I am willing, voluntarily, to fight to get off the ground?

2. Don’t Tie Yourself Financially To The Job You Dislike.

I believe that the most common mental barrier to making a change is fear. Fear often manifests itself in the form of financial worry. For example, questions like “what will I do to make money if I quit this job?” and “how will I survive, I don’t know what else to do?” are very common for anyone who makes a significant change, especially if the change is from a stable career.

In reality, a change is often the product of several months, even years, of planning and networking. You need to build several months, at least, of living expenses. A powerful habit that I developed during my planning and networking stage was to live frugally. Don’t go buy a new car or new house. Don’t buy the most expensive clothes. Literally put money away. Put as much away as you can. I used to count the “months” that I could live without a job while I set myself up for a good fit. The more months I had, the more courage I had to make a change.

3. Avoid the Temptation To Feel Sorry For Yourself

When I realized that I wanted to leave law I also started, for a time, to feel sorry for myself. I starting being mad at myself for wasting all that time and money going to school for something that I didn’t want to use. I really felt like a failure. It hurt my self-confidence big time. Get over it. Who cares if you went to school for something that you don’t want to do?Who said you had to be perfect when you were 21 and making educational decisions? Move on.

4. Take Action, Embrace Failure, Give Yourself Time

Just take one action. One step. Then take another. Place yourself literally where you think you want to end up. Go to the conferences, meet the people in the industry, talk to the people you need to talk to. Get out of your head and into your feet. Also, the road to career fulfillment will be bumpy. You are going to fail a little, at least a couple of times, so get over it. That doesn’t mean that you will ultimately fail. No matter what you want to do, your exact plan of how it is going to come to fruition isn’t going to materialize as you see it. You will end up taking a different route, but that is ok. The most important thing is that you keep your eyes on the destination.

5. When The Appropriate Time Comes, Burn The Ship

At some point you’re going to have to go all in. You’ve got some money saved. At some point you’re going to have to make a jump. Again (as always) fear will kick in. If you struggle for motivation then burn your own ship. You’ll work with more tenacity and drive than you have ever worked in your life. Trust me, and frankly you’ll need that type of drive to get what you are trying to launch off the ground. Burn your ship. When the time comes, make the jump.

About the Author

Ryan Clements is a business consultant, sales trainer, speaker and writer. He consults to companies and entrepreneurs on marketing and sales strategy, and is a frequent speaker and trainer in the areas of sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, productivity, leadership and motivation.  He also writes widely on these subjects and has published a book and given a TEDx talk on career fulfillment, a topic which he speaks often to schools and students about.  For speaking, consulting or training requests please visit his website at www.ryanclements.com.