5 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Career Change

Do you know that only 45 percent of employees in the United States are satisfied with their jobs? This means that the other 55 percent are feeling the “Sunday night dread,” or staring at the clock while at work, wondering why the minutes are slowly ticking by.

If you’re unhappy at work, you’re not alone. Lots of people find themselves disillusioned with their careers, or just unable to stay with their current careers and consider another one. Maybe your job has affected your life in ways you don’t like, such as feeling burned-out from working 24/7 and not being able to really enjoy any time off (if you can take any time off, that is). Maybe the market can no longer offer a satisfying AND well-paying job in your field.

My career path, and eventual exhaustion

During most of my 20 years in Corporate America, I worked in the Information Technology field. Right after college, I worked as a sales rep at a technology distribution company, and 2 years later I landed a job as a software trainer. From there I worked in Silicon Valley companies, then I eventually worked at a healthcare system as an analyst.

I left the analyst position 4 years ago, at which time I experienced burnout. And the fact that my doctor prescribed anti-anxiety meds was a sign that it was time for me to move on.

I love technology, and I can spend hours working on spreadsheets and creating websites, but I saw over time how increasingly demanding that field became. I realized I was no longer satisfied with my career in the IT field, even though it’s one of the better paying fields out there.

5 steps to discovering your next move

That’s my story… in a nutshell. If you have a similar story, or you’re not happy with your job, or you’re just ready to make a change, the following 5 tips will help. You’ll discover that making a career transition can help you achieve your desired goals, whether that’s work-life balance, or more fulfillment and purpose!

1. Give consideration to your personality type. Let’s assume you’re right-handed (if you’re left-handed like me, pretend!). If you’re placed in a role where you need to make use of your left hand at all times, it’s going to be tough and distressing. Even though you may get better as time goes on, you’ll still prefer using your naturally desired hand. This is an easy way to illustrate the impact of your personality on career fulfillment. You’re very likely to enjoy rather than endure a job if it’s well suited for your personality.

2. Take time to decide on the right path. Obviously, people who made the right career choices for them tend to be happy with their jobs. If you’re not one of them, and you’re ready to ditch your current job, keep in mind that moving from one dissatisfying job to another could mean running from one bad situation to another. So before you decide to make a move, be sure to take some time to make sure that you’re making the right choice. Do some thorough research into a field of interest and reach out to relevant contacts and connections.

3. Explore your core interests. Since the aim here is to find more than just a job, it’s important to think about your core interests. Family, faith, finances, relationships, core values, aspirations, passion, and purpose are other factors that’ll help you make a worthwhile career choice. Brainstorm a list of interests and evaluate how they might lead to a new career.

4. Create a transition plan. What, when, where, and how are relevant questions you need to answer with an organized plan. I left 3 jobs with nothing else lined up and landed on my feet, but I don’t recommend this for everyone. So while you CAN make a successful career transition without a feasible plan, developing a good plan can help you consider all your options without the need to rush. Plus, it’ll help you see that the draining, soul-sucking job you have now won’t last forever.

5. Seek help. If the whole thing seems extremely challenging – and it will be – then you need a professional career counselor or coach to assist you through the process.

You’re either at a dead-end or perhaps you realize you’re on your way there

The average person spends at least 90,000 hours working during the course of his or her life. Over a 45-year career, that’s 2000 hours per year. How would you prefer to spend that time? Do you want to make every hour count, or do you want to count every hour?

If you’d rather spend that time doing work that matches your interests and matters to you, but you need help figuring out what to do, I’d be happy to help!


Felicia Baucom
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