Contemplating a Career Change
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
No matter what kind of work you do, don’t be surprised if there comes a time when you think about switching careers. After all, many of us have romanticized ideas about one career or another.
Maybe you always thought you’d be a teacher, a crime scene investigator, a sales clerk at that little boutique down the street, or a hospital nurse. But things didn’t go that way and you ended up doing something else instead.
However, now you’ve reached a point where you’re seriously considering a career change. Maybe you got laid off or worked for a company that closed during the economic downturn. Or you might just be looking to change what you do to earn money. Before you take the plunge, do your homework.
Consider these points when you’re contemplating a career change:
1. What kind of work do you want to do? Do you have a couple of top choices or just one? If you’re considering a career change, you may already know the answer to this question.
2. Is the job you want to do within your reach? See if you can simply build on what you already know to pursue a new job.
· If you’re 40 years old and have no college education and want to be a doctor, that might be a more difficult and time-consuming goal. However, if you’ve already have a bachelor’s degree in business and you want to be a nurse, you could probably complete 2 or 3 more years of education to obtain your nursing degree.
3. Does the career you want require training or education? Education requires time, energy, money, and drive. Are you committed enough to your goal to invest in your education?
4. Interview someone who has the job. Write down all the questions you have about the career path. If you know someone personally who has the job you long for, give him/her a call. People love to talk about what they know.
5. Research the career on the internet. You’ll find a wealth of information online on every kind of job. Review the responsibilities. Are these tasks that you would enjoy doing?
6. Check into local resources. If you need coursework or technical training, find out where you can get it in your town or one nearby.
7. Look into your local prospects. Are there local jobs available in the field? Unless you’re willing to move for your job, ensure you’d be able to do the work where you’re now living.
8. Consider costs involved with re-education and training. If you have some savings, there’s nothing better to invest in than your future. Depending on the field that interests you, you might even be able to obtain grants to complete coursework or training requirements.
9. Assess your time commitment. How much time will you need to prepare to look for work in the field? Depending on the career you’re considering, you might be able to start right away. Or your dream job might require three or four years of education or training first.
10. Just do it! One of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever have is engaging in the work of your dreams. Although you might feel some initial fear and apprehension about making a career change, you’ll find yourself also full of joy and anticipation of your future with great excitement.
You may already have the answers to all of your questions. You may know intuitively what’s right for you. If that’s the case, then go out there and snag your dream job! If not, spend some time looking over these suggestions and get started on your preparations. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be enjoying your new career.
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