While a midlife career change can be scary, it also can be exhilarating if the move is truly what you desire. Your happiness at work correlates with your overall life satisfaction. If you are not fulfilled at your job, it can affect your health in ways you may not realize. For these reasons, an increasing number of workers are finding themselves in a mid-career crisis, and are looking to make the best midlife career change.
Prioritizing your health and happiness requires working at a job you enjoy. Midlife career changes can help you achieve work happiness that decreases overall stress levels. Maybe there is a passion you have always wanted to pursue professionally, or the field you thought you wanted to work in during college is no longer what you are interested in.
Whatever the motivation, changing careers mid-way into a career is a reality for many people. According to (Half; 2018), 59% of workers ages 35 to 54 and 51% of those 55 and older believe that job-hopping is beneficial
When you have decided to transition to another career, use this roadmap to minimize disruptions as you move into a new position, field or job.
Why the career change?
Before you quit your job and seek new positions, you should analyze why you are unhappy in your current job. Is it the company culture? Is it the industry you are in? Or is it your day-to-day responsibilities in your current role, or a combination of these?
You may love your industry, but you may discover that being promoted to management was not ideal, even with the pay increase. You may prefer to be the executor of creative tasks, rather than managing those who are doing the work. In that case, you may be open to moving down the corporate ladder.
Timing is important
A career change is something you plan for, not something you wake up one day and suddenly decide to do. The idea is to plan your move for when you feel like you have gotten the most you can from your current profession, and you also feel confident that there will be ample opportunities within your new field of interest.
Freelance part-time or Change Jobs
If you are hesitant about leaving a stable job to pursue something new, seek out ways to take on new responsibilities at work or start a part-time gig on the side to build up your experience. If you are interested in a new field or want to practice your skills before quitting your current job, you could seek out an entry-level part-time position somewhere or offer up your services as a freelancer.
Have a contingency plan
Ramping up a new career takes time, but how much time is anybody’s guess. Even with a carefully thought-out business plan or assurances from a new employer, anything can happen. If things do not work out, can you get back on your original career track? If you are going to start a business, do you think you could sell it if you fall short of your goals?
Communicate Your Career Goals
If you are happy with the culture at your current company, you could set a meeting with your manager to talk about your career goals. Speaking with your current employer could give you an advantage if you want to change careers since they already know your work ethic and capabilities. Your current employer may even be willing to pay for on-the-job training for you to help ease your transition into a new position.
Be open to new learning
Speaking of training, the new position you are interested in may benefit from continued education. Take a look at the job descriptions for positions you are interested in. If you are lacking in certain education, consider online courses to get up to speed.
The advantage of business online programs and certificates is that you can learn and study on your own time, without having to head back to school and possibly relocate yourself or your family. Online learning can also help you accelerate your new career success.
Secure your Finances
As you focus on transitioning to a career change, you do not want to have to worry about finances. Now is the time to make sure you have extra savings that can sustain you if you decide to leave your job and focus on finding a new career full-time. If you are thinking about moving into a career that will pay less, then you will want to evaluate your current budget and spending, as well.
Attract Notice through Smart Networking
As you begin your journey toward a new career path, the people you have connected with in the past can help you advance your professional career. According to Business Insider (2018), 85% of open positions are filled through networking. Up to 80% of new jobs are never listed. Instead, they are filled internally or through networking.
Your personal and professional contacts can be instrumental in helping you find work in your new desired career. When you have decided to switch jobs, it is important to reach out to your contacts and reconnect.
Use LinkedIn to reach out
Search your connections to find contacts who work in the industry or at similar jobs to the one you want. Send them a note to update them on your status and ask them what’s going on in their professional worlds. Use LinkedIn to strengthen networking relationships, instead of just pushing your agenda.
Update your information
Now is a good time to update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure your profile is optimized with keywords that relate to the strengths and skills you have that your ideal job requires.
Show future employers your initiative by developing new skills with continued learning, and never stop honing your skillset. What you learn may inspire you to pursue a new career path, as well.
Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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