Thinking of a career change? The pandemic and all the social changes that come with it are forcing us to answer tough questions about what our jobs mean to us.
Researchers calculate that we spend 90,000 hours of our lives working. That’s roughly 1/3 of our life. Undeniably, our work affects overall satisfaction and happiness.
If you’re using this time to gather, regroup, and start a new professional adventure, but unsure of what to do, we put together a list of knowledge and ideas that gave us clarity, when it came to choosing a career or making a career change.
Warning, this is not your typical career counselor or inspirational talk. In fact, we believe that some of the common career advice axioms just don’t always hold up. Deciding to make a career change involves not just reflecting on yourself and what you want, but gaining an understanding of how the job will change overtime as society and technology evolve. With that, we divided the ideas into two camps: About You and The Changing World.
Set aside what you think you’re good at and focus on what you want to learn.
Career changes, for most, will require learning new skills. We’re not saying ignore the skills you already have, but don’t narrow career choices based on what you think you’re good at. Rather, focus on what you’ve always wanted to be good at and get to work.
The good news: learning online has never been easier or cheaper, whether you want a certificate, diploma, or create a project for a portfolio.
Be honest about money and the lifestyle you want. Find a career that lets you get there.
A career offers a certain lifestyle, such as potential salary, schedule, or dress code. Here are questions to guide you when it comes to lifestyle questions and career:
Do you want a job that allows you to work from home? Do you like having a set schedule? Or maybe working at night? Where do you want to live and how much does it cost to live there? Calculate how much you need to live the lifestyle you want, housing, travel, savings, car–which job or industry will allow you to fulfill your wants?
Glassdoor gives you an idea of potential salary for certain job types and companies.
If “do what you love” has you scratching your head, think of how you can contribute to what you believe in.
Do what you love—a romantic advice that works for some, but not for a lot of people. If you’re unsure about what you love to do, think of the causes, ideas, people, and things you believe in instead. It’s a great starting point in deciding which industry you want to be a part of.
The Changing World
Understand the job description, but don’t let the general job label box you in.
Job descriptions provide blueprints, but don’t let them stifle you. A good example is being a yoga teacher. Pre-social media, being a yoga teacher meant teaching in a yoga studio, conducting workshops, and maybe at some point, opening your own space. But technology has changed what yoga teachers do, from being a social media influencer, branching out to having an online yoga shop, writing books…Finding creative ways to evolve a job label allows you to see possibilities.
Certification vs. Experience
Be clear about what you need to get to the position. Do you need a certificate or experience enough? How have others gotten to the position you are dreaming of?
The Industry and the Future
Do your research on the present state and the future of an industry you’re interested in. What types of jobs are going to be in demand in that industry and the role of technology. Remember that you’re choosing a career not just for today, but one that will remain relevant in the near future.
Planning a career change presents an opportunity to reflect on our past accomplishments, learn more about ourselves, and figure out where do we go from here. What better way to care for ourselves than to reassess who we are and figure out how we can live better days satisfied with our jobs?