I've written before about the reasons people stay in jobs they hate (see my previous article here). Fear and uncertainty rank pretty highly. To many, shifting career just feels too risky. What if you dislike your new role even more than your last? and if you've taken a pay cut, you could be worse-off financially too.
If you work in the corporate world, then you've probably come across risk management in some form or another. When it comes to your own personal career, it's valuable to apply some of the same principles.
You can start by asking yourself:
what are the potential outcomes of the career move (both positive and negative)?
what is the likelihood of each one occurring? and perhaps most importantly,
what can you do to remove or minimise the risks?
If you have a potential career-change in mind, take a minute to think this through...
For example, say you are currently working as an engineer but like the idea of being a yoga teacher. You've got no idea what being a yoga teacher would be like other than perhaps what you see by going to a yoga class. You like the idea though, it seems like a fun job, you consider it worthwhile helping people improve their health and it has the added benefit of also helping you stay healthy.
But how do you know whether it's really for you?
Well, there are four steps you can work through to minimise the risks:
Get to know yourself
Do the self-awareness work to understand your priorities. Consider your interests, motivations, personality and preferences. You can then objectively evaluate how well the option fits. It's amazing how much clearer your options become when you are comparing them based on the right criteria for you.
Do your research
Get informed by talking with people who currently do the work. Use your knowledge of yourself and your priorities to dig deep and understand how the new option will or wont suit you.
Test the water
There are multiple ways to test a new career out. You can take a course to learn more, volunteer or do part-time work with someone in the field, join professional associations/networking groups and attend their events or start a small 'side-hustle' if it's a business idea.
Plan a staged change
You don't need to quit your job and make the leap in one go. Think about ways to break the change into steps. Perhaps you could change role but stay with the same company or reduce your hours while you study or take a part-time role in the new field. Often small changes can create big shifts in your satisfaction level, so doing this could even save you from 'overshooting' and making an unnecessarily drastic move (see my previous article on small changes).
So there it is. Four ways to take the risk out of career change. It's absolutely possible to find out what you need to know, test the water and gain confidence in your decision before you go 'all-in' and take the leap.
If you would like to talk to me about the career change process and how it applies to you, book a free career chat here!
About Anna Black
With 14yrs corporate experience and a personal career change under her belt, Anna’s helped dozens of professionals make life-changing career decisions.
Essentially she’s a Career Counsellor, but what she’s really passionate about is getting professionals out of jobs they don’t care about and into careers which make them happy.
So many professionals are disengaged and not reaching their potential. They don’t know what to do and in their hearts, they are afraid of wasting their most precious resource… time.
Check out other articles by Anna here.