There’s nothing more frustrating than going to a job you hate. After many years in a particular field, some professionals find themselves bored, unsatisfied, and ultimately unhappy in their careers. It’s common to feel like you’ve reached a plateau in a career that you’ve been engaged in for several years. It’s more common to have no clue of how to approach a career change.
What’s most important to know is that it’s never too late to start a new career! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in your particular field for five years or 25 years. If you’re no longer challenged and dread staying where you are, it’s always the right time to make a move.
Fear of the unknown: Many experienced professionals don’t pursue a career change for several reasons. Nevertheless, the primary reasons for apprehension are that they don’t have a clue as to what they’d like to do next or they’re afraid of trying something new. Many of us know another career that we’d love and might even be good at. But the fear of failure, rejection, or simply the unknown keeps many from taking the leap of faith.
Fear has no place in career pursuits. While none of us like rejection, you’ll never know what could have been if you don’t take a chance. The best part about it is that you can always change your mind… again. If you try something new and it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to what’s familiar or take a stab at something completely different.
See what’s out there: If you don’t already have a new career in mind, you’ll first want to conduct thorough research in order to choose a path that matches your skill set, experience, and education. While you may not have direct experience in your new career of choice, you certainly have acquired transferable skills that can be applied to any field. Consider contacting a professional career consultant to help identify your areas of expertise and guide you in choosing the career(s) that will be best for you. You can also visit websites like USnews.com/careers for great information and studies on the best and worst careers for transition.
Check your wallet: You’ll also want to look at the average salary for a beginner in your new field. Some fields honor past experience that is unrelated, while others will only offer entry-level positions, despite your previous experience. Review your current financial situation to determine whether or not you can afford to take a pay cut, just in case your new field is one that only pays experienced professionals well.
Try it out: The best way to determine whether or not a new career is for you is to get exposure to that particular industry. Actively seek an internship, fellowship, or shadowing opportunity where you can get hands-on experience in the field you may be considering. You don’t have to quit your current job in order to be an intern. Start off by completing just a few hours a week working closely with someone who is already doing what you want to pursue. This first-hand exposure will more than likely help you to make a final decision.
Remember, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t follow your dreams and pursue your professional goals. Go for it! You have nothing to lose!
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.