Assessing A Career Change
- Part 1

Useful or not?

In assessing a career change, there are lots of ideas and advice available that will actually hold you back! Here I will offer you a different way to consider some of the information in order to dispel some of the misleading myths.

I will also let you in on some of the insider 'secrets' and my hope is that when you are assessing your career change that you make decisions that allow you to choose your own life.

The right job

When assessing a career change, you're told to put lots of emphasis on making sure that you find the right job for you. The ideal job or the perfect job. When you think about it, this is another fallacy. Most likely, when you started your current employment it was the right thing for you to be doing. If you're assessing a career change now, then that one is no longer the perfect one and you want something more suitable for now.

Who's to say that in 5, 10 or 15 years you won't want to change again?!? So why do people make it seem like your next job has to be the perfect one that will last your whole life?

A difficulty arises when people consider that the last number of years of their life was wasted doing a job they didn't like. But they don't consider the skills, experiences and knowledge they have developed during this time. When assessing a career change, your skills can often be cross contextualized and used in other, unrelated areas.

And if you find you don't like the job you're in, you can simply change again! People have this idea that they have to know and understand what something will be like before they take action. Of course, this is nonsense! You cannot know what something will be like until you are actually engaged in doing it.

For example, you may have an idea of what it's like to fly in a helicopter, but not until you have done it will you know for sure.

The other thing is that once somebody does actually change career and starts along a particular course, opportunities arise that were not there earlier when they were assessing a career change. There's no way to create these opportunities until you start moving.

This means that further down the line you may decide to take a detour that is even more in line with who you want to be. But again, you cannot know this ahead of time. You have to step into doing that thing you want to do, and at some time in the future, the information will be different. So, at that time, you get to make different decisions. (Not the usual way of assessing a career change, I know!)

And, of course, the 'perfect job' for you may not exist yet. You may have to create it! And this is an area that is not often considered in assessing a career change.

How will it turn out?

One of the major forces holding people back when assessing a career change is wanting to know how it will turn out. Will I make enough money? Will I like it? Will I be any good at it? What exactly are the steps I need to take to be successful? These questions are an intimate part of much of the advice given when assessing a career change today.

If you want to know exactly what the steps are before you start out then you're doomed. Life is chaotic and messy. Regardless of how well you plan and despite all the career change advice, there may be a time when the dungheap hits the windmill. All the career change advice in the world cannot prepare you for this. It's much more useful to have the ability to use what comes your way to get what you want.

The other situation is where someone spends months or even years working all the details out, gathering information, reading all the career change advice they can collect, learning about it, and understanding how it works. And then when they get into it, they realise they don't actually like it. Now that's a waste of time!

Wouldn't it have been much better to simply start into something you like. Then, if you realise that this is not exactly what you wanted, you get to refine your direction based on your own experience. Not based on assessing a career change according to somebody else's ideas and suggestions.

The next stage

Some consider that whatever hardships they have to put up with in their working life, will make their retirement worth while. All the time planning for the next stage. Which means, of course, that they don't get to enjoy the stage they are actually at. Their attention is all the time on the future, the next thing. When you're assessing a career change, their advice to you, of course, is to stay where you are, put up with it and it'll be worth it later. The unfortunate part is sometimes the next stage never comes. Or the person arrives in poor condition, with bad health. Or doesn't get there at all.

What if...?

When I worked as a plastic surgeon I used to ask some of the older people about their lives. To a person, each of them said that if they had to live their lives again, they would do more things. They would take more risks. They regretted more things they had not done than things they actually had done.

"Wish for your deepest desires' she said, and when I asked if they'd come true she said 'They always do, so get them out in the open while you're still young enough to correct any serious mistakes."

B. Andreas

Their career change advice?

  • Take risks.
  • Make mistakes.
  • Do more things.

You may have already spent a lot of time asking yourself the question 'What if...?'. Do you want to reach the end of your days still asking this question?

What is so much more important than having your own life that you're not prepared to take a risk? Remember, you only have a finite amount of time to live your life.

So the time spent reading more useful ideas in Part 2 will be time will spent!

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