Have you tried to take your career in a different direction but ended up back where you were or even made your change but found that it hasn't resolved the problem?  Others around you have managed to move into something else that makes them happier, maybe even started their own business so why can’t you?

What is it that makes the difference? Why are some people able to make a successful career change and others can’t?  Is it down to our age?  Are career changes easier when we are younger?  Does our financial situation make a difference?  Is it that other people have more time?  In short, the answer is NO, these factors are not key to a successful career change, yes it can take some pressure off if you are financially secure and if you have more time to focus on your career move, it can speed up the process, but ultimately I believe that unsuccessful career changes are driven by misconceptions and not understanding what you need to do to make a successful career change.  Let me tell you more.

1.  A career change is not an overnight leap.  We hear the word career leap; the word leap infers a jump from one spot to another.  However, a career change isn’t as simple as that.  A successful career change will take work and this takes time.  However, this doesn’t have to be large chunks of time in one go, but small periods of time to reflect, to take action, to test ideas and to engage with people.  A successful career change will have positive impacts on every aspect of your life, think about it for a moment, if we are happy in the time we are working then this feeds into our relationships with other as we are in a better mood when we get home.  Doing something we enjoy and are good at helps reinforce our self-esteem and confidence, in fact, our overall mental health is improved. Investing in your career change is investing in your whole life and those around you.    Something that can have this magnitude on our lives deserves your time and your focus.

2. A career change is not a linear process.  In fact, a career change is an emotional roller coaster with its very own highs and lows.  You climb aboard and find yourself excited, you have made the decision to take positive action and permit yourself to dream about a better future.  You feel good as you are taking control of a negative situation.  Highs as you hit moments of clarification.  But then as you start to explore the frustration hits, as you are not making the progress not getting the answers you want or need quickly enough.   However, this is all part of the process as we work through what will and won't work for us.  Learning that something isn't going to work for us can feel deflating but in actual fact, it means we have dodged a bullet, avoided going down the wrong path and trying to fit ourselves into something that's not right.  Instead, consider that you are now one step closer to finding a career that will make you happier.  When we are right in the middle of a career change we can almost feel ourselves in ‘No-Man’s Land’ we are letting go of the old job, but as we can’t see the next destination we struggle, we question our route.  The fear starts to kick in; ‘What if I can’t find anything else?’  And this fear can have the potential to derail us as we start to question if we are making the right decision to leave the security of what we know.  These feelings are completely normal and it shows we are making progress in letting go of the old to make room for the new. 

3.  A career change is not a random process.  When we are miserable in a job, we can look for anything that will provide an escape route, but for a career change to be positive we need to understand what will make us happier. If you just take a wild stab in the dark without working through and uncovering what you need and want from your next move your chance of success is limited.  One of the big mistakes we can make is that we start by searching the vacancies and we see something that we think we can do.  We amend our CV to show how we fit into the role and how we can demonstrate to the hiring manager that we are the best candidate.  But are you clear about what will fit you?  Instead, a successful career change starts with the end vision in mind, we start by asking ourselves what will work for us.  Start by uncovering what you want for your future self, what is the overall vision you have.  From here we can then start to examine the different components, the skills, the knowledge, the people, the environment, which support us best.  Once we have clarity on these elements we can explore which careers will work.  

4. A career change should not be a secret. We can feel embarrassed for wanting more for ourselves for admitting we are not satisfied with what we have, to the outside world we have created this image that life is good and so we hold back from talking to others.  Or if we do their response can be unsettling as their own fears come into play.  They mean well but it is their fears and concerns that are being played out.  However, the involvement of the right type of people is key, because they play a significant role in our career change and will ultimately lead us to our next job.  Involving the right people can enable us to start to view new ideas and to see things from a different perspective.  We add additional brainpower to our quest.

A successful career change is hard work and can be emotional,  however, the benefits can be life-changing.  If you are contemplating taking your career in a different direction, find a community to support you on your journey.  Take time to understand what the process of a successful career change requires.  Accept that there will be moments when you question what on earth you are doing, but trust that an 'aha' moment is around the corner.

My next Kick Start Your Career Change Virtual Mastermind starts October 14th.    Together with five other fellow career changers, you will learn everything you need to know and do to make a successful career change.  You will be guided through a tried and tested process by myself and have a supportive community to help you deal with the down moments and help you celebrate the highs. 

You can find out all the details here.  I am sure you will have questions and concerns about how this will work in your unique circumstances so I invite you to join me for a call which will also give you a chance to check you will like working with me.

If you found this article useful you may enjoy reading these:

  1. Planning a Career Change in a Recession
  2. 7 Signs it's Time to Make a Career Change
  3. I Don't Know Who I Am Anymore