Lost Direction After a Career Break?
Whatever the reason for taking a career break, when you come to think about making a return, you’re likely to feel unsure of a few things.
There is nothing easy about changing careers. Once you’ve made the brave choice to change path, there will be certain challenges you will need to overcome along the way. The process is not one to be undertaken lightly, and as such, every step taken towards a career of fulfillment, should be taken as consciously and cautiously as possible.
In one of our recent blogs, we referenced a survey conducted by London Business School; which determined that, out of 1000 participants, 47% wanted to change careers. Clearly, this shows a popular trend occurring in the UK which can be attributed to a number of factors such as job satisfaction, a lack of work life balance, a suppression of the authentic self or an urge for a fresh life direction.
Whatever the reasons behind the desire to change career, there are a few common mistakes to avoid when making the big leap to and from any sector.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when changing careers is neglecting your internal workings. Effective self-reflection, involves diving deep into the psychology of what is producing the urge to change inside of you.
Becoming self-aware and what this entails should be at the forefront of your career change process.
Without exploring what you want to achieve in the context of your history, education, dreams, aspirations, drivers and energizers, you cannot effectively formulate a plan on how to resolve any blockages, urges to change or unwanted habitual responses that hinder the process.
Once we explore ‘the self’, connect with what drives us and resolve anything that is stopping change, we can act and formulate a plan that will result in a career change that is fulfilling and satisfying.
Many feel the urge to change careers based on money or alternative benefits. 39% Of individuals in a survey conducted by London Business School, mentioned increased salary prospects as one of the main reasons for career change.
Fixating on the careers of others and what it provides for them on a material level is likely to lead you in the wrong direction.
Whether it is fixating on the professional situation of others or being pressured by your partner, parents or friends, these individuals aren’t the ones who are going to be working in that career for the rest of their lives.
If the urge to change careers is primarily a result of money or alternate benefits, then it would be more beneficial to investigate developing in or progressing from your current role.
Fulfillment and satisfaction should always be at the center of what’s driving you to change careers. If it’s money, then perhaps you should be considering if a complete career change is actually the right move for you?
Often individuals experiencing the urge to change careers, will do so sporadically in the absence of a concise plan. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make when making a career move.
The first thing to accept when formulating a plan for career change, is the reality of the process. Even with a clear plan, career change can take months to accomplish. In the absence of a concise plan, this process can take twice the amount of time.
Your plan should consider the following factors:
· Networking & Mentoring – You need to evaluate your current business connections and decide which will be the most beneficial in catalyzing the process of your career change. Consider widening these networks and connecting with mentors who are able to guide you through the process step-by-step. This is important for getting first-hand experience on what to expect from a career path you might be interested in.
· Education & Experience – The process of educating yourself and evaluating your experience begins by examining all possibilities that you might want to consider as a career. Once you have a clear understanding of the career you would like to pursue, you will need to conduct an in-depth evaluation of what education or qualifications you would need, as well as the experience which may be required to be eligible for the career you want to change to. Furthermore, you will be able to identify any transferrable skills you already possess, that might be useful in your ‘future’ career.
· Research – This involves evaluating whether your job search skills and techniques are adequate enough to align you with your desired career path. This will determine the extent to which you are able to ‘know where to look’ and ‘how to know where to look’.
· Maintaining stability – To quit sporadically in the absence of a consistent source of income will put pressure on the entire process for you. Your plan should thus include a detailed breakdown about how you intend on maintaining financial stability. Furthermore, sporadically quitting your current career/job without a financial safety net, might lead to you applying for a job you do not necessarily want to be doing, which in turn will set you off track in securing the career you want.
However, what is even more important than these factors, is that one should never idealise the process or plan. The goal is to be realistic about your desired change, and to avoid formulating idealistic expectations of it – although your ideal career might seem as desirable as your first crush; remember the reality you experienced within the first week of dating!
As career consultants we facilitate the process of career change through combining in-depth psychology and goal-orientated career coaching. We make sure that you don’t feel alone throughout the process, with our bespoke one-to-one service, ensuring that the mistakes outlined in this article, are not made in your journey to a more fruitful career path.
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