How Do I Change Careers?

The first thought that comes to me is of the song from The Sound of Music - when Julie Andrews gathers the children around her and starts to sing "let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start." This is especially true when you start asking "how do I change careers?"

What is a career and how do you know you're unhappy with it?

Two obvious assertions: 1) you already have a career and 2) you are less than happy with it. I have often stated that we don't really have a career until we have a body of work to reflect back on. Do the first jobs you had count as part of your career? If you're so unhappy with what you're doing now, does that count as part of your career? Once you understand what your career is and has been about, then you'll be ready to make a successful career change.

So, if you're unhappy with what you're currently doing, let's start there to examine what is really bugging you.

  1. You dread getting up in the morning and one or more tasks tend to discourage you.
  2. You don't feel as if your manager/supervisor/boss appreciates the work that you do, and is often critical.
  3. Your co-workers don't communicate well with you and you are unclear of what is expected of you.
  4. You have forgotten what it was about that job/ career/industry that excited you and gives meaning to you.

These statements ask you to take a look at three critical factors that make up a career or indeed are important characteristics:

  • skills and knowledge you use to complete certain tasks that you are paid for.
  • your relations with your bosses and co-workers
  • the setting and
  • the knowledge you are working toward or on actualizing your purpose.

Narrowing your focus to determine which piece of the career puzzle is out of sync is the first place to look to determine how to change careers. Because you can't really change a career until you know what you've got, can you? Your willingness to undertake a process of focused life work review and reflection will help you salvage what your career currently offers you while you identify what is missing. Making a successful career change requires starting at the very beginning, by asking the questions? What is your career and why do you want to change it?