Changing Career Feels Like Moving Houses

Changing careers can sometimes feel like one is moving houses. I decided to move back to Leeds from Sheffield after 10 months and OMG, packing is the worst thing that can ever happen to a decent person. In as much as I was excited about moving back to Leeds, the thought of packing was unbearable. Looking for the right house and location alone took 3 months. As petite as I am (5 feet), I found that I had a lot of stuff and I mean loads! With 15 boxes packed with a huge luggage, I still had leftovers. Just when I thought I was all set for the big move, I discovered I had 2 drawers and kitchen utensils I haven’t cleared, arghhhhhh…

Does this sound familiar?

Career wise, when changing careers, we tend to overlook so many fundamental things. We come up with a new career path in our heads and fill it with hopes and expectations without fully exploring the risks involved. This usually starts with us enrolling for the necessary courses (if required), get the certifications and BAM!!! We have successful switched. We think we can just make few changes and move on. It’s not that simple. Most times, the knowledge we have about the new career is probably just surface information.

Talking from experience, I thought switching from Law to Human Resources (HR) would be easy peasy. I knew the area of HR I wanted to specialise in; employment law. I enrolled for a postgraduate course in HR to get me started. When I was done, I thought with my 6 years active (Barrister) law experience coupled with my Masters’ certificate, I would be sort after by recruiters. Boy was I wrong. Apparently, I didn’t have enough experience in HR to successfully switch. I went through series of interviews trying to sell myself but it wasn’t enough.

I did not fully comprehend the fact that HR was totally different from law. For me, my extensive knowledge of employment law was an added advantage and I did have a year experience in HR. I was really frustrated given the fact that I was willing to start from the bottom but for some reasons, I couldn’t get past the interview stages. I was determined to breakthrough.

Change as we all know is difficult, intimidating and inevitable. Instead of giving up, I chose to understand what the industry has to offer and if it was the right path for me. I’m finally heading towards the right direction and I clearly understand how to pursue my ultimate goals. Therefore, I will like to share my thoughts and opinions on how to handle a career switch with some personal tips I followed. These are:

  1. Research you proposed industry

Before bagging a Masters or acquiring certificates, you need to first explore the new industry you’re interested in. You need to know and understand what the industry has to offer. Google is your friend! If you’re not in good terms with google or just don’t know how to research online, ask people working in the industry about their experiences. They know better. Ask them the steps they took and if there is a potential career progression within the industry. You don’t want to be stuck in one position for the rest of your life. Align your expectations with the reality of the information gathered. The industry might not be as favourable as you think. From other people’s experiences, it might turn out to be a No No for you.

Another good pointer is to read job descriptions and person’s specification of advertised job vacancies. I love doing because it tells you the job role and the skills required. LinkedIn is also a good place to research. There are a lot of professionals on LinkedIn who are willing to direct you.

  1. Work Experience

I cannot stress this enough. As much as gaining work experience is not a walk in the park, most employers expect you to have experience. A career change usually takes a minimum of six months and it would be best for you to try to gain some experience while actively pursuing the career. This can be done either through an internship or volunteering. This will give you a head start and a deciding factor to determine if this is the right career for you. You definitely don’t want to end up in the job. Workplace dissatisfaction and stress is the number one health problem for working adults.

Volunteering gives you a chance to merge existing skills with the new job while gaining new ones. This adds to your required job experience and some employers are fascinated about people who volunteer. It shows that money isn’t a deciding factor for you and that you are willing to do whatever it takes. You need to know what is important to the hiring managers in this new field and volunteering or interning will help you figure out if you’ve got what it takes.

Also, don’t attach yourself to just one organisation; try a few. One of them might just be your potential employer.

  1. Believe That You Can Successfully Change

When pursuing future goals, we discover that there’s a gap between our current state and where we want to be. As difficult as it maybe, anyone can successfully change career. Change requires a mindful intentional action with hard work and commitment. There is no single method that is perfect when it comes to a career change. You have to understand and accept your need to change. The reasons for your career change are yours alone.

To change your current situation, you need to be fully and deeply present on the steps you need to take to move forward and be conscious about what your priorities are. Identify and self-assess your core values because they will guide you during times of uncertainty.

You can successful switch careers and they are many people who can testify to that. So, do not let anyone discourage you.

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. April 7, 2017 / 6:56 PM

    Just reading the tone of this article was such a delight and perfect for the season I am in. I was actually getting stomach ulcers, didn’t know at the time that it was due to me dreading my job daily. So I am in that season of wanting to change careers – and not start over at the very bottom (don’t mind starting over close to the bottom, just not the VERY bottom you know?) I love that you didn’t give up! ps. I LOVE that you are in the UK!

  2. April 7, 2017 / 7:29 PM

    Making career moves are always difficult…but you’ve set out a great strategy for making the move. Great advice.

  3. April 7, 2017 / 8:47 PM

    fantastic post, I really appreciate all of the in debt thoughts that you shared about moving careers, I’m in a career rut and feel like a change is needed, this post really helped me, Thank you

  4. April 7, 2017 / 9:54 PM

    Changing career is really a big deal. I like the thoughts you shared with us. All those things should be seriously considered when making a career change. Nice sharing.

  5. April 8, 2017 / 8:24 AM

    Yes changing careers can be daunting but it is quite exciting at the same time!

  6. April 8, 2017 / 11:47 AM

    These are some really great tips. Thank you for sharing your experience as well, I’ve been finding it tough with people not valuing my experience because it’s not of the same industry. It’s nice to know I’m not alone

  7. April 8, 2017 / 2:36 PM

    A very well researched posr.It’s great that you are trying to find the silver lining .The biggest problem is mismatch of expectations and need

  8. April 8, 2017 / 3:00 PM

    Good for you for pushing forward. All of this can be difficult (especially the moving part!), but sounds like you know what direction to head toward. This will be helpful for many!

  9. April 8, 2017 / 4:44 PM

    Although very hard, you have shown and shared so many tips that are insightful and helpful – this is great and so on point. Planning is key when making a big move like this.

  10. April 8, 2017 / 7:43 PM

    Fantastic post, the 3 points you have mentioned are well written. Talking to individuals in the industry is so important and something many do not consider. Wishing you the best of luck in your new career.

  11. April 8, 2017 / 11:32 PM

    You’re right! It’s such a huge decision and can have the biggest impact on your life and wellbeing. Planning is essential.

    Ellie

  12. April 9, 2017 / 4:58 PM

    I’m loving this comparison. As someone who is in the market to purchase a home and started my own business, I have to agree that it’s nerve-racking to think of the commitment that goes behind all of it. You almost want to give up, but something inside you says to keep going.

  13. April 9, 2017 / 11:22 PM

    This is so true! I am going through this right now with the change of careers and I have to admit I’m a little terrified of venturing into the unknown. We have to break out of our shells and stepped outside of our comfort zone to experience something new.

  14. April 10, 2017 / 2:27 AM

    Changing jobs is somehow difficult as you will leave out of your comfort zone and it takes a lot of courage as well. But it would taught us to be adaptive on a changing environment.

  15. April 10, 2017 / 2:47 AM

    I am with you on number two, volunteering does help a lot. I did it!

  16. April 12, 2017 / 3:54 PM

    This is an interesting read for me – especially at this point in my life. I’ve been teaching for six years and left my job as a teacher (temporarily) and I am having to navigate the same sort of situation you’re going through. It’s a LOT to think about and it’s a lot of packing up and putting things in boxes!

  17. April 12, 2017 / 5:00 PM

    Switching careers is always difficult. Volunteering first is a great idea to get a little experience and try out the new field to see if it’s something that you would actually enjoy.

  18. April 12, 2017 / 8:21 PM

    They say changing jobs and moving are some of the most stressful life changes! They are almost as stressful as getting divorced. Great post.

  19. Danasia Fantastic
    April 13, 2017 / 3:03 AM

    I became a full-time blogger last year unexpectedly when my job closed. It was quite the rollercoaster ride- it felt like being evicted overnight! It’s been a tough, it amazing process!

  20. April 13, 2017 / 10:22 AM

    It’s annoying that there are so few ways to prove ourselves out there, especially when you make even the slightest mistake. It’s like you’re supposed tohave it figured out from day 1. The whole set up is just difficult to manage. I like how you didn’t give up. Keep it up.

  21. April 13, 2017 / 2:35 PM

    These are such good tips! I think alot of people shy away to do what they are comfortable with to start something new! I’ve always wanted to write and now I’m finally doing it! But it’s a learning process! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  22. April 14, 2017 / 12:59 AM

    Changing careers must be extremely difficult and nerve wracking. I honestly don’t know if it’s something I would ever do. I’d be nervous about starting over again.

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