What motivates people to change careers? Career expert Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?, expects people to change several times for one of the following reasons:
- We're not earning enough and need to be paid more
- We made a bad choice when we first chose our career
- We used to just want more money, not we want more meaning
- We're overworked and under-appreciated or not challenged at all
These all sound like realistic scenarios and I'm sure many of us can relate to them. While it's always best to shoot for long-term aspirations in your current field, if any of these scenarios really hit home, it's time to start thinking about something new. when to make a transition.
Why change careers?
Before you enter into a career transition, take time to:
- Determine why you want a change. Is it current job dissatisfaction or a true desire to change your career direction? Be sure you've got a crystal clear understanding as to why you're leaving so you can avoid going down the same path with your new job.
- Talk to a career counselor. They can give you good advice about your career ambitions and help you decide if and when to make a transition. To find a counselor, just look in the Yellow Pages are ask friends if they know of any local career resource centers.
- Research and read about careers that interest you. Think about what you'd like to do and do a little research to make sure you know that you'd be getting into. If you're leaving your current job for more money, will this new career pay more? If you are looking for a job more in line with your values, do you think this career will give that type of satisfaction? This ensures that you have a realistic picture of new
Evaluating your current skills
If you're certain that a career change is for you, you don't have to start from scratch. Bolles recommends looking at "the transferable skills you already possess, and the bodies of knowledge which you already know, together with the interests that fascinate you", and from all this you will create a picture of your new career "looks like."
- Look at your work history. Most of your acquired skills can be applied to any career or industry. Leading teams, creating presentations, managing effectively, and facilitating conflict are all valuable skills. And don't forget about all those PowerPoint presentations you've created - that's a valuable skill as well.
- Consider volunteer work and life experiences. Are you good at helping others or raising money for organizations? You may have demonstrated talents that can lead to a new career as well as ease the transition.
- Dust off your degree. You worked hard to achieve your credentials. You're unused training or degree can also be the groundwork for a new profession.
The career changer's checklist
Ready to assess your readiness to change? Use our Career Changer's Checklist and determine if you're ready to embark on a new career.