One of the tell-tale signs you are having a quarter-life crisis is that you hate your job. When the alarm clock goes off you are filled with a sense of dread and the only thing that gets you out of bed is the thought of your morning coffee. Because you NEED that boost of caffeine to get you to work. You may even grab a bacon and egg muffin because you deserve it for getting out of bed this morning.
So it makes sense that a lot of people in a quarter-life crisis are looking for a career change but feel blocked because they don’t think they have the skills needed to do so. Hence, they contemplate going back to uni for five years, but again they are not 100% sure that they will love the new career and whether it will be worth it.
While just thinking about a new career path can be overwhelming and frightening, the anxiety and stress involved in your current job is pushing you to make a change.
In this article I’m going to break down the decision making process for you and give you some practical steps needed to make the right choice.
Step One: Research
If you are reading this article chances are you have an idea (maybe even a very faint one deep in your mind) about a career you would like to transition into. Your dream career, the one you thought you would never be able to pursue either because it felt unachievable or wasn’t in alignment with what your parents value.
If you are struggling to identify your dream career I recommend resourcing yourself and going on a journey of self discovery to work out your passions, strengths and purpose. My blog post titled ‘3 Tips To Help You Discover Your Life’s Purpose’ will benefit you.
Once you know what career you would like to transition into it’s time to RESEARCH. Learn as much as you can about your dream career. Go online, read books, reach out to people who are currently working in the job you want and ask them questions like…
- Do you enjoy your job? Why? Why not?
- What does a typical work day look like?
- What’s the pay like?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. People want to help you, all you have to do is ask. Think if you have any family connections or friends of friends who work in that field and don’t be afraid to make contact with them.
The are several reasons why it’s important to become well informed about your ideal career. Firstly, it’s easy to romanticise a career when we are viewing it from a distance. Only by speaking to people in the field are we able to get a true and accurate view of the reality of what it looks like to work in that career. By asking questions we have our eyes opened to things we may have never considered and the unexpected challenges that role has (because every role has challenges and unpleasant elements), and it’s best to find these out sooner rather than later.
Step Two: Do the job now
The last thing you want is to spend five years at university retraining for a new career and on your first placement you realise, ‘oh crap, this is not what I thought it was going to be like’.
You can avoid this happening to you by doing practical work in that industry NOW. Do it while you are still in your full time job by giving up a weeknight or your weekends.
It may feel overwhelming or perhaps impossible to get relevant experience in the field you want but NOTHING is impossible. For example you dream career may be as a veterinarian, and so you are thinking ‘I could never get experience in that field - it’s so competitive’.
Many animal shelters take on volunteers. The work may not be glamorous but you will be in an environment with vets which means you will have the opportunity to observe and ask questions of people who are currently in your desired workplace. Just being in that setting will give you greater clarity around whether or not that is the right career path for you.
Don’t be afraid to approach people, businesses or organisations to get experience in the field you want. Everyone needs help in some way. Be proactive and offer your time. It’s amazing who you will meet and the doors and opportunities that will open themselves up to you when you think strategically about where to spend your time.
Step Three: Know your WHY
When contemplating a career change it’s important to know WHY you want the career change. Why do you believe this career change will improve your quality of life and make you happier?
Write a list of the reasons why you think this career change will enhance your life?
Knowing and truly believing your WHY is what will keep you focused and motivated to pursue your ideal career. Even if you have to go back to university for five years, or move overseas, or take a pay cut, if you are crystal clear on your WHY it will help you with those tough decisions. It will give you clarity and inspiration because you know what the end goal is. Then when tough times come, when you feel defeated and deflated (yes you will have those days because we all do) it will be your WHY that enables you to pick yourself up again and keep going. Knowing your WHY will give you the strength and confidence you need to keep persevering.
These three steps are simple and straightforward but in my experience the majority of people DO NOT do these when contemplating a career change. It is because they take time and hard work and being a millennial when we want something we want it yesterday. But I encourage you, before making a drastic decision about a career change, take your time to research, practice and know why you want the career change, how will it contribute to your overall happiness?
If you would like further help on deciding whether to change careers please consider my ‘Get Unstuck’ program which is a six week course to help you get more clarity and confidence on your future direction.
Have a great week!