I have another great guest post to share this week on the topic of career change. The article is written by Olivia McHenery. I’m happy to see her using a concept from three signs of a miserable job, a fantastic book by Patrick Lencioni, I just recently reviewed.

Have you ever caught yourself saying these things or asking these questions?

  • “I hate my job.”
  • “I never have time to do anything I want because of work.”
  • “I never get to see my family.”
  • “I thought life began after college?”

Do you hate your job? Maybe at scientific animations? Is your career keeping you from living a life as fully as possible? You’re not alone: Recent studies have found that 6 in 10 workers are unhappy in their current job(s). Job security has become increasingly scarce and is more important to many people than actually loving what they do. However, if you are laboring in a career you genuinely don’t enjoy, you may be hurting yourself more than your paycheck is helping. The stress associated with working in a job that is not satisfying and/or stimulating can take years off your lifeline, take a toll on your family and marriage, and cause full blown depression and anxiety attacks.

Nevertheless, before you march into your boss’s office and quit, assess whether or not you are exhibiting the three signs of job misery:

1.) Anonymity – Feeling that management and leadership does not care about or value you as an individual with a unique life, goals, and interests.

2.) Irrelevance – You do not see how your job makes a difference, or impacts anybody’s life in any way. The tasks you do have no meaning or end result that you can tangibly see and/or feel.

3.) Immeasurement – Inability to measure your successes and contributions to your employer.

If you are experiencing all three of these signs, it is time for you to really consider whether or not you want to stick with your current job, or start looking into a career change. Despite any reluctance, you must ask yourself, what is your joy and happiness worth to you? There are several steps you need to go through when planning a career change, and they certainly do not begin with quitting your current job. You can start your career change plan years in advance, putting yourself in a better position when it’s time to take the plunge.

1.) Assess what you like and what you dislike.

Even if your current job is the worst thing you have ever done, there is bound to be at least one thing about it that you enjoy. Can this enjoyable aspect of your job become a new career path for you? And in finding the activities you loathe about your current position, ask yourself what, if anything, would make these activities more enjoyable. From here, make a list of activities you really enjoy outside of the office and add this to your “likes” column. The key point in doing this exercise is rediscovering yourself; your passions, and what motivates you.

2.) Research new and alternative careers, focusing on what you discovered in step 1.

Now that you have rediscovered your passions, spend some time identifying careers that will center on these passions or will be complimented by them. Talk to professionals you respect about your decision to change careers and pick their brain(s) for ideas that will allow you to utilize your passions and form them into a career.

3.) What are your transferable skills?

Don’t underestimate the skills you have acquired in your present occupation. Use your current skills, experiences, and talents that are applicable to your chosen career path and accentuate them. Most likely, you already possess a good pool of skills that will transfer seamlessly into your new career.   It’s also a wise idea to become familiar with at
least one software product that can be used in many office jobs, such as Quickbooks Online for Accountants.

4.) Education, Training, and Schooling

An old adage states, “You never stop learning.” Be that as it may, your learning can become stagnant and your knowledge irrelevant. When plotting out a career change, it may be necessary to enroll in some online courses to supplement your skills with some new knowledge. This will apply regardless of what your new career path is. Want to be a massage therapist? Enroll in an online massage therapy school. Interested in pursuing accounting? You can get your MBA online in as little as two years. With enough planning, forethought, and perseverance, you can have a degree that will be relevant to your chosen career path before you leave your current job.

5.) Networking

Many professionals who are making a career change think they must build a new network from the ground up, neglecting the network they already have in place but are not fully cognizant of: family, friends, and colleagues. Utilize them for job leads and advice, and plug in to social gatherings that will help advance your career. In addition, join a professional organization or guild for the career you are shooting for, and attend their meetings, and be active on their message board(s).

6.) Internship or volunteer position

Remember that you are basically starting your career from scratch again. Taking an internship (paid or unpaid) or a volunteer position within your chosen field is an outstanding way to get valuable experience that will make you far more attractive as a job candidate.

7.) Search out an adviser

Preferably someone who has had success in your chosen field, but is also familiar with the potential pitfalls and traps that lie ahead. You can also plug into your adviser’s network and find your future job this way. If you don’t feel comfortable asking somebody to be your adviser, man up and drop your pride off at the door; most professionals will be honored that you are asking them to advise you and will be glad to take you under their wing.

8.) Consider changing careers, but not employers

Since you already have your foot firmly in the door at your current employer, inquire as to whether they have any positions there that will line up with your new career. It may be as simple as transferring departments, saving you months of time and hassle in the job search.

9.) Brush up on your job-hunting skills

Things have changed significantly in the job-search world in the past 10 years. There are numerous free tutorials online that will prepare you for what’s out there in the job hunting wilderness, and will equip you with the weapons you will need to survive and thrive.

10.) Be open-minded

Things are most likely going to change for you dramatically now that you’re changing careers. You need to keep an open mind and be flexible regarding your status, pay, benefits, and relocation. Expect some bumps in the road and maintain a positive attitude that while change is hard, change is also good. Set progressive goals for yourself with reasonable time tables and feasible outcomes. Ironically, quitting your current, misery inducing job may be a very hard decision for you to make. There is going to be a certain level of fear and trepidation that will nag at you while you are running through the ten steps, and you may want to throw in the towel and play it safe because of this. Just remember WHY you are pursuing a new career path and play your life’s tape forward: How satisfied with life do you want to be in 20 years?

Bio: Olivia is married and the mother of 3 daughters. She studied Communications and Business in college. She works in maintenance for an online schools website. In her spare time she likes to create bouquets and various flower arrangements for miscellaneous events.

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