changing career pathsI’m sure most people at at least one point in their careers have imagined the marvels of changing career paths and entering a new job in which they would thrive, be successful in and absolutely love. In 2011, News.com.au revealed that 81% of workers were dissatisfied with their jobs and 37% were ‘actively pursuing new roles’. This post-GFC environment inspired a new high in job dissatisfaction, particularly in the industries of advertising, marketing, hospitality, education and property. This arouses complex and ambiguous questions of when changing career paths is the best option, and how best to go about it.

Are You on the Wrong Career Path?

It is the hard truth of absolutely any job that it will have its fair share of high points and low points, advantages and disadvantages perks and drawbacks. Even the most seemingly ‘perfect’ job will at times be difficult, overwhelming or boring and a worker is bound to be unhappy or dissatisfied at some point in their career. In saying this, however, if you are intrinsically discontented with your job and have never found your role challenging enough, always dreaded waking up and heading to work in the morning or watch the clock tick by minute by minute until it strikes hometime, there is probably something deeper and more troubling at stake here.

There is often a more suitable job out there for workers that will satisfy them much more than their current job and which could make you actually look forward to heading to work each shift. The only person responsible for you being in your current job is you, and similarly, the only person capable of landing you in a more rewarding and enjoyable job, is also, you betcha – you.

What Changing Career Paths Involves

If you’ve thought about changing career paths, you need to first realise that actually putting this thought into action is by no means an easy feat. You should never nonchalantly quit your job in search for another without truly being dissatisfied with your current role, knowing exactly what sort of field you want to get into and understanding the difficulties and challenges in switching your career.

One of the most obvious obstacles in changing career paths is actually finding a ‘dream job’ which you had imagined ensuring you have enough skills in an alternate field. Moreover, if you have been pursuing a career for some time but are looking to change paths, it often means that you may have to go back to the bottom of the hierarchy and re-work your way back to the top. This could also mean lower pay, less responsibility and even less job security. Although many see this as a loss of years of hard work it doesn’t have to necessarily be that way.

Even if specific skills and experience aren’t universal between fields, many more general aptitudes or attitudes are transferrable between careers. A solid work ethic, positive outlook, general high productivity and other skills such as people skills or customer service are essential in almost any role and will hold you in good stead for most positions. As well as this, the more passion you demonstrate in a career, the harder you will be willing to work, the more you will engage in the job and the more likely you will advance your career.

Tips in Successfully Changing Career Paths

After having decided to go ahead with a career path change, the first and most important step is to know exactly what it is that truly interests you and that will satisfy you in a job. The worst thing to do would be to go to the trouble of changing your career path, only to find yourself in another job that you despise. Next you should try and gain some career skills that may be more relevant to your new chosen field. This may involve taking a short course, doing a postgraduate degree, working as an intern and using your current position to engage in projects that develop new, specific skills.

Many people after working in a field, have brilliant entrepreneurial ideas to start their own business. This can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying option, yet won’t be pulled off without an incredible amount of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Ensure you have the funds and resources to kick your own business off, as it will most likely take a while to pick up and start producing decent  profits. Also ensure you conduct plenty of research, consult experts and get people who have experience to help out or be part of the project.

Another important aspect of a career path change is timing. If you’ve just had kids and want to spend all your time at home playing with the little ones, it’s probably not the perfect opportunity to kickstart a brand new career. You also need to ensure you are healthy, and remain so throughout the difficult period.

Ultimately, a career shift can be an incredibly rewarding experience that will reap many benefits for you and those around you. However, you need to ensure you are truly unhappy in your previous job before undertaking the task, and are well-researched, passionate and prepared for the journey of changing career paths.

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