Thinking about a career change only a few years out of college might feel weird. Maybe sitting behind a desk isn’t what you want to do with the rest of your life. Or nursing is more emotionally draining than you ever thought, and you’re not sure how much more of it you can take. Or maybe teaching is what you expected, and you want to do something else, and you’re not sure how. Making a career change after investing so much time in a degree or specialized training can leave you questioning your choices up to that point. Still, you’ve only got one life, so don’t force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy out of stubbornness or external/internal pressure.

Why Do You Want To Make A Career Change? 

First, you should ask yourself why you want to quit your current job. Is it the job or the work? The distinction being your job is where you work, and your work is what you do. Or maybe you love your job and work but want to build something with your hands from the ground up. Whatever the case, the first step to making a career change is a little introspection. Be as radically honest with yourself as you can; otherwise, you won’t get to the root of why. 

I’m currently going through my “quarter-life crisis.” I love my job, and I love what I do, but do I want to sit behind a desk for the rest of my life? Any English major dreams of getting a writing job, and I love writing, but sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day is slowly chipping away at my soul. It also doesn’t help that 90% of my hobbies are stagnant. Now, I’m not ready to jump ship and work in a different field or sector, but is this (writing) what I want to do with my life? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I won’t know until I am radically honest with myself and explore what a job needs to fulfill me. 

What Do You Want To Do? 

Radical honesty is key. You shouldn’t only get to the root of why you want to make a career change, but you should assess yourself. The first step to figuring out where you want to go is to know where you are right now. If you can assess yourself, then you can start to figure out what your next steps are. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself: 

  1. What’s the end goal? 
  2.  If I keep doing what I’m doing, will it get me any closer to my goal?
  3.  When I’m 70, will I have more or fewer regrets about my choices? 

I don’t know about you, but I am a gut-feeling decision-maker, but once I make a decision, I become a planner. I’m a go-with-the-flow person in most things in my life, but after big decisions, I need all the steps; otherwise, I won’t start. I like to have my checklist of steps. Once you assess yourself, it’s time to make that first checklist of steps. Write down all of the steps you need to meet your goals and make future you proud. The list should also include possible problems or obstacles you might face. An important part of knowing where you are is understanding what keeps you from moving forward in life. After you have your list, scratch off the things you have no control over. You can’t control everything in life, but you can control how you react and respond. Don’t let obstacles set you back from your goals. 

When making a career change, there isn’t some magical formula. You need to trust yourself, experiment, and figure things out as you progress toward your goal. 

When Will The Change Happen?

Whether changing to something completely different or looking into a different sector of work, expect a crap ton of no’s. Rejection is a part of the game. Companies love people with experience. When you make your career change, few people will readily bet on you and give you the opportunities you want. Even if you have transferable skills, a lot of hiring managers aren’t going to give you a chance. Recruiters might even try to pigeonhole you into a similar role you are trying to escape. Keep your head high, and have faith in yourself, and networking never hurt anyone. Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. So stay prepared for when the right opportunity comes your way or when you find it. Nothing in life worth having is easy.    

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