|Posted by Krista Mitchell on March 4, 2012 at 12:35 AM|
According to results of a 2010 poll by The Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association, only 45 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs. At some point in life, many people find themselves disillusioned with their careers or otherwise unable to continue in their current careers and contemplate a career change. Maybe the jobs or their repercussions on their lives are not what they expected or the market no longer supports a career in that field. Sometimes, it’s simply that people have worked their way up in a field they have become stuck in due to a lack of other education or training and the job lacks personal fulfillment. Perhaps they have discovered a passion that does not align with their career and wish to follow that new path or start a business. Some people become physically unable to continue working their current jobs due to disability. Sometimes, a person is no longer able to work in their career field because of a criminal conviction such as a drug conviction for a nurse or a violent offense for a teacher.
If you find that you are considering embarking on a new occupation, you need to assess these three factors:
1. Know what new field you want to enter. If you do not, you have some exploration ahead of you. You can take interest assessments to determine what careers align with your interests, skills, and personality. Some online examples of such tests are CareerFitter and CareerLink. In addition, you need to research any identified career possibilities to find out whether the average beginning salaries and typical hours and working environments are a good fit with your lifestyle. Can you afford a pay cut to get your foot in the door? Are you willing to work nights and weekends if the job requires those hours? What is the industry outlook for your proposed job in your location? You can access the Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There you can access information about the training and education needed, earnings, expected job prospects, what workers do on the job, and the working conditions. Consider volunteering or job-shadowing in a new field to ensure the job will be a good fit for you before you begin to transition. You can also interview people working in the new field to find out more about the job is really like.
2. Know your barriers. What would hinder you from being successful in your new field? Consider things like your physical state in relation to the physical job requirements, your availability in shifts and hours per week, criminal convictions, ability to travel, and stress tolerance. Think about how far you are willing to commute and whether such jobs will be available in your location. If you have barriers you cannot resolve in relation to the new job, go back and look at other career options. Perhaps you could be successful in the same field but in a different role.
3. Know how much time and effort will be required to re-train or whether you can easily transition with your current skill set. Research what types of required education and training are available near you and decide whether you are willing to dedicate the amount of time and money needed to complete those requirements, especially if you must continue working at your current occupation until you complete your education. Take an inventory of your transferable skills to determine whether you can easily position yourself for your new career without extensive further education or training. Consider past volunteer experiences as well and whether those might ease the transition on your résumé, substituting for your lack of work experience in the new field. Do you have personal or professional connections that could help you break into the field? If you believe you can change careers without pursuing further education and training, you need consult and/or hire someone with résumé writing expertise to present your skills and professional history to be in alignment with your new job goal.
Changing careers can be very rewarding and personally satisfying, but it is also challenging and requires the personal reflection and proper preparation in order to be successful. You have got to discern what, if, how, and where before you proceed. With that said, follow your heart and make the most of your passion and talents. The possibilities are endless.