By 19, I’d made it – a job for life with assured progression, worldwide travel, great pay and tons of extra perks. 18 months ago I quit that job…

The best decision I ever made!

Changing careers is a pretty scary thing to do; it petrified me for a number of years whilst I worked my way up the ladder of a job which made me miserable. I’m 18 months the other side of that decision now, one which, I won’t lie, hasn’t been a complete walk in the park. But I did it and I’m so much better for it now – if I compare the person I am now to the one of previous times, it’s almost unrecognisable.

Do you hate the career you’re currently in? If so, here’s some tips, with some action points included, that helped me both make that jump and stick with it when times got tough…

 

#1 – Cut Your Losses – It’s All Up From Here!

 

I spent a lot of my time thinking about how I had got to this point. I had regrets about the past decisions I had made, the exit points on the path which I could have jumped off at already but I didn’t have the courage. I spent months wondering how I was so stupid to get this far into something I just just frankly hated. Asking myself questions like:

“Why didn’t I just go to University?”

“Why did I let that recruiter talk me into this?”

“Why didn’t I just follow that dream 5 years ago?”

It was a poisonous way to be with myself. Those decisions have already been made, that time was gone, those questions were completely pointless to me now – I had to change my mindset and focus on the future, not the past.

I used the past to motivate my future – using those missed opportunities as a driver to take the next one that came my way – this was the time to move on, this was the time to make the change!

Action Point – Create a timeline of the decisions you made to get to this point, embrace the mistakes and the missed opportunities but don’t forget about them – use them as motivation to move forward and grab the next one!

 

#2 – Record The ‘Why’s’ – You’ll Need Them Later On!

 

If you’re in the position of turmoil wondering whether to make that career jump, you’ll have all the reasons why currently at the centre of your mind! Whether it’s the boss you hate, the hours you have to keep, the added responsibility you crave or just a change of scenery, write those reasons why down!

Time heals and once you’ve made that jump, I almost guarantee you there will be a point you’ll look back and think – ‘Well that old job wasn’t even that bad, I could probably go back to it!”

This happened to me twice. On two occasions my mindset slipped when things got hard. On one of those occasions I ever made contact with my old boss, asking him how things were going with my replacement, trying to prise open the door for my return!

Once the height of emotion passed, I looked at a letter I had written to myself during my time in my previous job. A letter where I wrote down the things I hated at the time, the way the role made me feel and the longing I had to change the situation I was currently in.

It reminded me of the reason I was here now, it reminded me of the goal I set out to achieve, it reminded me of the why!

Action Point – Record the reasons why you want to make the change. Whether it’s a blog post, a video or simply a letter to yourself, create something tangible that will serve to remind you why you’re doing this when times get tough.

 

#3 – Take The First Step – Get A Plan In Place!

 

You might think the first step is handing your boss a letter of resignation? You’re wrong, that’s like step number 30 something. The first step is to make a plan of action; considering where you are now (the ‘as is’ state) and where you want to be (the ‘to be’ state) – in business terms, you need to do some GAP Analysis.

Consider where you currently are in your career and the skills you possess, write them down so they’re clear in your mind. Then think about the skills you need for the role you want to transition to. How many of them do you currently have and how many of them do you need to gain?

Once identified, set out a plan to achieve them – need to improve your communication skills? Great, why not go networking? Haven’t done Maths or Accounting since college? No problem, get enrolled onto a professional development course!

Often the reason people fail to make the transition is because they just aren’t prepared, they haven’t put a plan into place! If you’re still not sure, here’s a great tip! One of the first things I did when I decided I want to change career was connect with some recruiters for that industry on LinkedIn. I sent them a message explaining my situation and even offered to buy them a coffee to pick their brains on what I needed to do! They knew exactly what employers were looking for as well as the common mistakes career changers make – this information was invaluable to me at the time, allowing me to build a plan to move forward!

Action Point – Carry out some GAP Analysis on yourself; work out where you currently are and where you need to be to land the dream role you desire. Get some help if needs be, ask those around you what they think you’re good at or get in touch with industry experts who can guide the way!

 

Before I sign off – a quick story!

 

You know when you watch movies about really successful or inspirational people and they have that ‘moment?’ That turning point that sparks them into action, the event which changes the ‘same old’ and turns it into something new. I thought that sort of thing was complete rubbish, just something for the movies, but it actually happened to me!

I was working in my old job, driving back from a task at a local equipment site with my colleague, Matt, who like me was having this internal turmoil about changing jobs. He played me a video about time and how in reality we don’t have that much of it. He thought it was ‘cool’ – I thought it was amazing!

The video spoke about making that change to do the thing you love, it hit me really hard and to this day, is still the ‘moment’ which pushed me into taking the steps detailed above.

So, here’s that video, hopefully it can inspire you like it inspired me…..

Warning – Don’t watch motivational videos, or any type of videos, whilst driving – it’s really hard to get the most value out of them when you’re distracted!

I’d also like to thank a fellow blogger, MistressoftheInk, for her blog titled If You’re Thinking of Changing Careers as it inspired me to put my career change experiences down onto the page. For life musings, psychology or some fantastic poetry, I suggest you check out her blog!

 

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