I’m sure there are a ton of you out there who are sitting at work thinking “My gosh, why in the hell did I get a degree in blank?” While it may be partially job specific (meaning it’s related to that specific work environment, etc.), it could also be that you simply
One of my best friends is going through this as I type. She has her Masters in Education and finally landed a coveted maternity leave position in an elementary school. This was her chance to get her foot in the door. Too bad she hates it. And I mean like counting down the days till she’s done hates it.
Situations like this lead to a lot of mixed emotions. She’s anxious because she doesn’t really know what she wants to do now, a little upset because this is what she went to school for and spent a lot of money learning about, and annoyed because her parents aren’t always as supportive with her conflicted feelings as she wishes they would be. Needless to say, this puts her (and many people like her) in an anxiety producing awful situation. So, what’s a person to do when they want to switch their career? Here are steps to help you walk down that scary road towards a brighter future.
Take a deep breath and think about what you want. This is probably the most important step because it’ll help you get your head on straight. You’ve most likely been stressing out like crazy as it is so step back, take a deep breath, and count to ten. Then, really think about what it is you want to do in life, not what you think you have to do. While nothing will ever be perfect, if you want to be happy in your career you are better off choosing something you actually enjoy. So, find a nice quiet and comfortable spot in your house and start really analyzing what you’d like to do that will make you happy.
Make a list of your skills. It would be fabulous if all of your skills transferred over to your new career path, but chances are they won’t. However, you need to keep your skills in mind before you go off the deep end towards a career path that will only end in disappointment. For example, I wanted to be a Rockette literally my whole life. I had some of the skills as I loved dancing and could do a line kick like nobody’s business. Too bad I was too short and don’t particularly love the city which is where the dance troupe is located. Hence, just because you want it to be your career doesn’t actually mean it’s a good fit. Write down your skills so you can see which of your dreams will overlap and what will be counted out right away.
Go on an informational interview. Once you have an idea of your skills and what you think you might like to do, go on an informational interview. These types of interviews aren’t going to land you a job. Instead, they help you better understand the day in the life of someone in your career path. This will give you a better idea of whether or not it’s something you’d actually like to do, plus it helps you network in the field. Never done one of these before? Here’s a great article to get you started!
Ignore the pessimists. During times like this, you’re likely to hear a little bit of advice from everyone. Some of it will be good, some of it will just be negative and make things more stressful for you. Try your hardest to ignore the naysayers and pessimists. Yes, it’s a very scary situation to be in when you realize you don’t like the current path you’re on, but the only way out is to take a risk. Not everyone likes that idea, but that’s their opinion. You have to do what’s best for you!
Follow your heart (and your head). In the end, it’s best to follow your heart towards your dream career. But, that doesn’t mean you should completely disregard any logical thinking. Try to choose a career that will make you both happy and financially stable. This will ensure you can reduce the stress in your life as much as possible once you’re finally on the right path.
Now, it’s your turn! Have you changed career paths? How did you do it?