If you’ve found that working in your current field has been less than exciting, you’re not alone. Many people get deep into their careers only to learn that it doesn’t fulfill them anymore. As people grow older, they change in more ways than just the physical appearance. Interests change. The subjects that excited you as a 20-year-old aren’t the same ones that excite you at 40 years old. It’s totally okay to switch careers and try something new. However, it’s important to be strategic about the transition. Consider taking these steps toward your goal.
1. Do thorough research.
It’s one thing to look from the outside and think that a certain career is incredibly glamorous. In all honesty, the grass always looks greener on the other side. Just because a certain career looks enticing doesn’t mean it will actually fulfill your life. This is why a research component is essential. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Watch documentaries. Read the newspaper. Look at statistics to learn more about how that career is expected to change down the line. It would be terrible to spend years pursuing a specific career and then learn that it’s going to be replaced by robots within the next two years.
2. Consider volunteering or working part-time.
Before jumping headfirst into a full-time position within the new field, start by volunteering for a few hours each week. If you can find something that’s part-time, this is ideal. You’ll be able to get paid and collect data. As you collect data and learn whether you like the field or not, you’ll actually maximize your time. This is a strategic way to think. When author T.Harv Eker decided he wanted to open a restaurant, he started off by working as a dishwasher in the back. He worked his way up to a waiter. As he completed various tasks in the restaurant, he quickly realized he didn’t want to own one.
3. Get the necessary education.
Once you’re resolute in your desire to go into a specific field, take a look at the education that’s required. In some cases, you might not need to start over with a bachelor’s. Many colleges like the University of Southern California offer programs that can facilitate your growth through certifications. If more education is required, make sure to create a plan to determine how you will pay for it. The last thing you want is to be paying for student loans until you’re in the grave. Always remember that there are certifications, development courses and trainings that you can go to further your education at a more cost-friendly pace.
4. Talk to professionals in the field.
As you dive deeply into a new field of work, it’s wise to sit down and gain counsel from people who have been in the field for years. They can share their experiences with you and this is helpful for many reasons. You can ask about the mistakes and things they would do over if they could. You can ask them about the most important areas to focus on first. For a seasoned professional in the field, hindsight is 20/20. While your career path won’t be exactly the same as their paths, it’s still helpful to learn from others to help formulate your own.
As you focus on these tips, you might find that you don’t want to try another career. It might be that you are just looking for a new hobby. You never know until you do the research and dive into these exercises. Once you know better, you can do better.