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The 4 types of career changer.

The 4 types of career changer. Photo looking out across the coast with white and pink houses, foliage and bushes and a yellow church with blue mediterranean sea and boats in the distance.

If you’re feeling the need to get out of your current job you may be in danger of employing some ineffective strategies at best or knee jerk reactions at worst to try and resolve what you’re experiencing.

In order to take the most effective approach to your current job situation, you need to identify which career changer profile you have and therefore the actions to focus on to set you for long-term success, thereby avoiding going down a path that will not alleviate your suffering.

The ‘hesitant’ career changer.

A planner. A thinker. A weigh up the pros and cons, list making, spreadsheet wielding, research fiend. You prefer to take your time, cover all the bases and search out the pitfalls. You have an approach to decision making that is rooted in realism (others may call it pessimism…). You know a career change is a possibility but you want to assess the impact of it across the full spectrum of your life, weeding out potential surprises so you can fully prepare for the journey. Doing this groundwork reduces the risks associated with a career change. You don’t want to leap into this unprepared.

Approaching your career change:

  • Talk to people who have already changed career/currently going through the process.
  • Find a robust career change framework that gives enough time for exploration and is rooted in practicality.
  • Stay in your current job and save money as you go through the career change process.
  • Calculate the minimum income needed for when you make the career change transition.
  • Consider how you can keep using your current experience and skills to generate income on a part-time basis.

The ‘wrong time’ career changer.

Oh you want to do something but the responsibilities you have in life right now just won’t allow you to! You can’t see how you could possibly do anything different without it having a severe impact on you and your family. Your loved ones might not be too keen on the idea either. You might also feel scared about making such a big change, especially the impact it could have on your finances. Part of you doesn’t want to know what else you could do in your career because then you will be cruelly aware of what could have been.  Alas, alack, maybe in another life…

Approaching your career change:

  • Reframe your view from it’s the wrong time, to in 5 years or 10 years it could be the right time.
  • You need to play the long game: your situation is advantageous as it gives you time to explore new career options without urgency.
  • Start going through the career change process now and then implement the change over years e.g. studying, volunteering, relationship building your way to your new career over time.

The ‘life altering event’ career changer.

You probably never imagined being here, in the place you find yourself. It could be for a reason that is so painful, words cannot convey what you have endured and what you feel. Or it could be a surprisingly positive turn of events that has opened up possibilities for you. Whichever it is, you want something new, something different, something more. You seek fulfillment, a deeper meaning and you know life is too short to waste time on work that doesn’t align with who you are. You are ready for a new career and you are ready to put in the time and effort to find it and make the change. You just need to know how to go about it.  

Approaching your career change:

  • Find a career change process that will allow you to bring all of yourself to the table. This isn’t just about a new career, this is about uncovering who you are now and finding out what that means in terms of a career and life.
  • Support your wellbeing in whatever ways work for you. You’ve been through a lot and more change is coming if you embark on this journey.
  • Make sure you’re ready (well, as far as you can when making a decision like this) and if you need more time before beginning an exploration into a new career, take it.

The ‘I can’t carry on’ career changer.

Dear god, you’ve had enough. You want to run away, escape, hide, just jack it all in – to hell with the consequences. You can deal with those when the time comes. You are desperate for a way out of your current work and you no longer know if it’s the job, the people, the environment or just everything that is now affecting you to such a degree. Or you may know exactly what it is that has led to this point; the final straw has broken the camel’s back. You know it’s risky just leaving but you have run out of options and at least you would have breathing space and time to regroup and do something different. But what if you end up in exactly the same situation?

Approaching your career change:

  • If possible, find a way to support your wellbeing so you can hang in there with your current role – what will allow you to cope in the short-term?
  • Alternatively, work out your minimum viable income and find part-time work (or some other form of income) that enables you to earn this, freeing up time for starting a new career.
  • Begin the career change process once you have either of the above in place so you don’t jump into something else that is not suitable. Your goal is to give yourself enough calm and space so you can explore new career possibilities without so much panic and worry.

People come to the point of wondering if doing something different in their career is possible for all sorts of reasons.  

Laying out these 4 profiles is an attempt to help you see no matter the reason, there is a way forward.

You may have unintentionally found yourself here, but if you can begin to be a little intentional rather than reactive or passive, or stuck in the planning stage, it will help you take back some control and set you up for a successful career change, whenever you’re ready.

Photo by Jānis Beitiņš on Unsplash.