Being stuck in a career that you hate can be soul destroying, especially when you have no idea what you’d like to do instead. The weight of expectation, fear, and indecision can lead you to make a rash decision about a change in career that, ultimately, leaves you just as unsatisfied.
When it comes to making a career change there are common mistakes that people make. Being aware of them and considering a different path to change can save you from making a career decision that you’ll live to regret. Here are three common mistakes career changers make and how to avoid them.
1. Rushing into things
When you are doing a job that makes you miserable, it is tempting to want to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this makes you vulnerable to jumping into any old role that is put in front of you in the hope that it will make you less unhappy.
If you can manage it, staying put for now could give you the breathing space you need to discover what you truly want. Is it really the career that you hate, or simply the company you work for? If it is the career that’s not working for you, have you truly considered what you’d like to do instead?
2. Trying to solve the problem by thinking
For many of us – especially knowledge workers – our first port of call for solving a problem is to think it through until we come up with a viable solution. Making lists of alternative jobs, weighing up pros and cons, and researching logical pathways to change often seem like the most natural first step.
The problem with going about things in this way is that we are limited by our current worldview. Without experiencing new things it’s impossible for us to see beyond what we know today.
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Instead of trying to analyze our way into finding a new career path, we must act it. Before throwing yourself into a job search, consider how you could dip your toe into alternative career paths without going the whole hog. Volunteer somewhere that you find interesting, shadow a friend who works in a different field or take an evening class or Open University course in a subject that piques your curiosity.
3. Relying solely on current skills and experience
For career changers, it can be disheartening to trawl through job advert after job advert only to find that your CV is full of gaps. There are bound to be people already working in the sector you are interested in who have more experience and are more qualified on paper.
Too often, this leads us to stay put in a job that makes us unhappy for fear of rejection. But it doesn’t have to be this way; if you can show potential employers your true worth by presenting your whole self to them, they are more likely to overlook any holes in your resume.
Again, this is where action trumps thinking. Getting yourself in front of people through volunteering, shadowing or retraining will allow them to see you for your potential, not simply for who you are on paper.
Changing your career can be a daunting prospect, but with some small actions and a little patience, it is possible to discover your true calling. Instead of worrying about your next role, take some time to try new things, meet new people and expand your horizons before taking the leap. You never know what you might discover about yourself.