What does actually a career change mean? In this article I’d like to give you a brief
overview on the main reasons behind a career change and tips to consider if you are
also thinking of a career change yourself.
A career change refers to a subset of work role transitions that include a change of
employers, along with some degree of change in the actual job or work role and the
subjective perception that such changes constitute a “career change.” Career
changes include transitions between firms, industries or even sectors, and can be
occupational changes, as, for example, when a corporate employee starts his or her
own business, or a government official enters private industry. The work and career
culture of the previous generations has drastically changed. Our grandparents
probably spent their entire career at the same factory or office, often achieving little or
not significant promotion. Many companies were rock solid foundations you could rely
on through a lifetime and you did not have to worry about your pension. Job security
was something people valued and despite crisis periods companies kept their
No more lifelong careers
It was way before employee engagement programs where companies are trying to
show their best selves to attract prospective applicants and retain current
Today we all know that the ‘job for life’ culture no longer exists; that most people will
make several career changes throughout their working life. Nowadays there are
multiple project related jobs that only last for a period of time, then you need to jump
to another task. Moreover you need to be ready for a career change and learn new
skills as industries and expectations are changing rapidly.
A good question to raise is why are most people so intimidated by the idea of making
these changes? Here are the main reasons when consider a career change:
You are feeling stuck to your current career
Your current career developed through a number of twists and turns and wasn’t
necessarily something you applied conscious decision-making. You now feel you
want to do something more suited to you.
You want better use of your skills
Your current career doesn’t make the most of what you can offer. You know you can
do better and go further in a different field.
You need new challenges at work
Perhaps you’ve reached a dead-end. Your career has become a comfortable cocoon.
You might want to break away from your comfort zone and wish for new challenges
and need a steeper learning curve in order to feel fulfilled.
Your old career doesn’t suit your changing
You’ve had a baby, our you just have moved to a different country and, thus, a new
local labour market. You’ve won the lottery and now want to do something for the
love rather than the money. There might be millions of reasons.
You don’t suit the changing circumstances of
your career any more
The future of your industry looks bleak. Your company has restructured and it doesn’t
suit you. The firm where you work merges with a competitor and the management will
eliminate parallel operations and management. Your department announces
reorganisations, and you will have a new reporting line. All personnel changes affect
how you feel about your job.
You need a shift in your salary band
When you talk to your friends and have a weird feeling about being underpaid versus
industry average. You dolecheck on Glassdoor and are surprised for how much
money people work at the same position and at the same company. You want to
move to a new house, but you can hardly pay the mortgage from your salary. Later
your kids grow up and higher education costs more than you can afford.
When an opportunity comes
Career decisions are socially embedded and are thus influenced by the social
networks that affect referrals and opportunities. Contact with people in alternative
occupations provides information about new options as well as validation for changes
one may be contemplating. You might get a call from a previous employer of fried
and offer you a job which seems a great alternative to the current role you do not
enjoy any more.
You’ve always ‘had a dream’ and now’s the
time to live it
You’ve spent the last decades of your career harbouring a dream to be a wildlife
photographer/pole dancer or a chef. It’s now or never. Or you just want to quit your
corporate job and bake pies and sell them for parties.
Ask yourself that all important question: “what do I really want to be doing in 5 year’s
time?” And be realistic about what you may need to do in order to get there. And
when you have found an alternative it’s a good exercise to make a for / against list for
your career change and consult with your friends and family and a career coach, if
results are not obvious.
Do ages matter for career change?
People often discuss that if somebody is stuck to his or her job, it’s ‘too late’ to
change, you have to make do with what you have.
A current research by Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK looked at search
data for the past years and found that in recent years there was a 70% increase in
career switch related enquiries. Searched for ‘career change’, ‘career change jobs’,
‘move career’ and ‘how to quit my job’ and ‘career change quiz’ were all popular
among those on the hunt for something different.
Among another finding they published that younger people are more likely to change
jobs, and since 2010 trend is people more and more open to change careers.
Data split by age show the starkest difference between changers, with people below
the age of 35 years more likely to change jobs, as shown below. This could be due to
a greater proportion of younger workers in part-time, unstable or temporary jobs.
Overall you can say people are earlier to change at an earlier age, but career change
is possible all through the lifespan of your career. Career change at 40 or career
change at 50 does note make too much difference. Obviously a career change at 40
with no degree is a tougher nut to crack than switching from a highly paid corporate
job with years of experience and loyal clients to do it on your own. What’s important
is that you need to be eager to learn and find the passion you are ready to change
careers. It’s never too late.
Chances of getting a raise at a new job
Another interesting finding is job changers experienced higher median earnings
growth than job stayers for all skill groups. While the job stayers experienced slowing
wage growth with increasing skill level, job changers generally experienced
increasing wage growth with increasing skill level (except the upper-skilled workers
whose wage growth was less than that of the upper-middle-skilled workers).
In practice if you are in an upper-middle or high salary band, you have better chance
to gan an extra of 8-10 %.
Ideas of career change
Some people have firm ideas of their career change, but many others only feel the
urge to change something, but do not have the faintest idea what. You start browsing
job ads, checking for online courses offering career change opportunities, listen to
career change podcasts and ask your friends and family whether they have heard stg
to go after. It’s been years since you updated your CV, probably the format is
outdated and your picture is also too old. You might go on LinkedIn to search what’s
happening in your industry and explore your true value on the labor market. As
your profile was not used and only halfway filled, it will not help you land at the job of
Define your new career direction
One of the most important topic is to make sure, what you want next. Maybe you
have dozens of ideas, maybe none.
A self assessment could be a great help to find your new direction. Don’t worry too
much that you do not have the exact coordinates of your destination, but the only
thing you need at this point is a compass to show you the right direction.
Self awareness is the basic foundation to make a career move. You might want to do
your own career assessment, but what I suggest is to get help from an external
professional – a career counselor or career coach – to help you and hold you
accountable for your progress.
The following key areas you need to assess to make a sound career decision:
What do you do best? (1.)
Your skills, knowledge and competencies. These are acquired through education
and experience of all kinds (such as employment, volunteer work, life experience)
and represent your principal assets on the labour market. Correctly labeling skills is
an important part of communicating your value.
Your personal characteristics. These characteristics are inborn or developed in
your early life. They include abilities, talents or a predisposition to certain career
What do you like to do (2.)
Your interests. Your professional career objective should be something you are
interested in as well as something you are good at, or you strongly believe you can
be good at. Any career without a passion is no better than being stuck in your current
position. You are more likely to succeed when the work is interesting.
What are the priorities in life (3.)
Your values. There are the core beliefs about what is most and least important in
They usually evolve slowly and may have changed since you last made a major
career decision. So they need an update.
Your personal preferences. Your professional objective should be consistent with
your career vision and lifestyle needs (including location, schedule and income). If
you work at a low-paid job you might dream about a beachside bungalow, but your
income will never support that. Consider your options.
Your motivations. These are the drives or needs that propel you along in your
chosen career direction. With high motivation, you move rapidly in your career but
you may make sacrifices elsewhere in your life.For instance, if you want to be a
doctor, you need to accept the long learning curve before you can start practicing
and sacrifice years of study and probably having a smaller income until you are
employed. Decide what’s more important for you.
Tips for suggest actions for career changers
Generate a list of options that interest you, listing everything you have thought about
doing noew and in the future. Share the list with people who know you well and ask
Join or visit work-related social networking sites or any of the emerging niche sites for
perspectives that your into other functions or industries.
Consider other career alternatives as a way of determining how you might transfer
your skills into the other function or industries.
Create a career vision of what you want your work life to be like in three to five
yeatrs. An Immediate professional objective is usually best planned in the contect of
a long-term personal vision of your career.
If you are considering enterpreneurship or ecopreneurship, investigate the path
carefully and assess how well your skills, interests and values support that career
Write down your work-related accomplishemts so that you can clearly identify your
skills and traints, identify potential markets and present yourselft the best way.
Draft a sentence or a phrase that consisely describes the kind of work you are
seeking. This will become your professional objective.
If you are feeling you might use of an external help of a career coach with defining
your career vision and help your asessment and you need to regain confidence for
your career change, do not hesitate to contact me for a free career consultation.
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