How many of us have got home from a day at work and said, ‘That’s it. I’m quitting tomorrow?’ Fortunately, when tomorrow comes we have calmed down, had some rest, and are able to get a bit of perspective. But there comes a time when we may really decide enough is enough. The important thing if we reach that point is not to march into the boss’s office and tell them we’re off; it is to take stock, think, and make a plan.
What Do You Want?
It’s easy enough to list the things we want to avoid in our new career—they are all the things that nag us in our present one. It’s not so easy to list the things we want to find there. But that is a good place to start. Sit down and list the things that motivate and excite you. You’ll probably find that it’s hard to get started, then quite hard to stop.
The next step is to do some research about possible careers that would tick your boxes. Obviously this is true if you don’t have anything clear in mind, but it matters just as much if you think you do know—anyone can be dazzled by the glamour side of a new career, but you need to have a level head about the whole package.
Where Do You Want to Go?
When you have a rough idea of the direction to go in, draw up a timeline with an aspiration of where you want to be in your life in five, ten, twenty years’ time. It will probably include an occupational role, and might have a location—where we live is just as important as what we do, especially if we have a family.
Involve those you love in these thoughts. They can keep you grounded in reality, and springing surprises on the people who will be most affected is not a recipe for successful change.
How Are You Going to Get There?
Now is the time to start making some definite plans of the steps you need to take.
Do you think you have the skill set for your chosen career? If not, can you adapt your present skills to match what is needed, or will you need to invest time and money in extra training or qualifications?
What part of the world would best suit this new career? There are better opportunities in some locations than others. It may be too soon to start looking at homes for sale in Sarasota but, if a move to Florida is likely, work out how that would happen.
Who can help you? Start networking among people who might have contacts in your chosen field. Ideally, find a mentor by whom you can be guided through an unknown world.
Plans Are Made for Changing
Nobody’s life works out according to the plan . You will change, and your circumstances will change. It is unlikely that the career you move into now will be the same in twenty years. That doesn’t mean that the plan has failed, only that planning your career is a work in progress.
Eleanor Donnelly writes about career changes in her online articles. Working as a careers consultant, and having been in the recruitment industry for many years she is able to offer a lot of practical, and emotional, help to those who seek it.