My top four tips to making a positive career change no matter where in the world you are.
When I moved to Scotland I had issues regarding employment. The biggest of my issues was that the General Teaching Council of Scotland took over 9 months to approve my documents to teach. The original plan was to move to Scotland, work in a school as a supply teacher, granting me a whole heap of time to figure out what is was that I really wanted to do - because I had already known that teaching wasn’t it.
Not being able to go ahead with my plan caused me a lot of grief to start as I was ringing the teaching council on a regular basis with very little success. I was trying to find out what was taking my documents so long to be processed as there was (is) a teacher shortage in the country. However, I soon came to the conclusion that I was not going to be able to apply for new, career changing roles from a comfortable position of steady employment as a supply teacher. It seemed more like I was going to be applying for teaching roles from a place of, ‘I am eating through my savings and I am not qualified for anything other than education!’
What a stupidly pathetic though. And yet, more than once while applying for jobs online with Joe by my side I repeated phrases such as, ‘I don’t know what to do other than teach’, ‘my skills are in teaching,’ ‘I have only worked in education for the last five years’, ‘I don’t have any recent experience other than teaching’ etc etc.
They were all horrible and absolutely useless thoughts. Because that’s what any type of negativity is, absolutely useless, it doesn’t help anyone get anywhere.
Wanting to change career paths, whether it is a choice or a decision you are being pressured into, is a daunting task especially, if you have been in the one industry for a long time. When you move to a new city or new country you also have the added conundrum of not actually knowing anyone to give you a foot up in any industries that you might be interested in joining.
Just writing those words brings back the worries and fears that I started with and it so very easy to caught up in thoughts like these. And it’s mostly because they stem from some truth, the fear that comes with these thoughts is all the more real when you find a semi-truthful line in it. The truth was I had been a teacher for five years, my skillset was mainly in education but in no way was education the only area that my skillset could be useful. And the exact same can be said of your skillset.
If you have ever found yourself in a negative cycle of thoughts when considering a change in your career path or perhaps you might have backed out of making a change I want you to really consider the four tips below. I can’t imagine staying in a job that I didn't enjoy going to everyday and I would hate to think of anyone out there going off to a job that they hate.
These are my four super simple and incredibly helpful suggestions to get your mindset in the right place before going after a job or career that brings you more joy than the one that came before it.
1. You have a whole HEAP of skills.
A lot of the time we seem to associate our skills directly to the job that we have had for the longest amount of time. However, the reality is that many of our skills are transferable, this is to be said of both personal and professional skillset. This includes organisational, management and leadership skills as well as those using particular programmes and online systems.
Don’t discredit yourself, you have more to offer than you think.
Write down every aspect of your skillset that you bring to your current role, as well as the ones that you might not be required to use - you’ll be surprised by how many items you will find on this list and just how many will apply to other career paths!
DO NOT underestimate yourself. I repeat, DO NOT underestimate yourself!
2. The Transition Job.
To me this doesn’t always feel ideal, especially if you have worked in a well paying sector before deciding to make a career change. If you find yourself needing to study once more, you will, like most mere mortals, have to pay the bills somehow. However, if you don’t need to study again or complete any practical courses for your desired new career, you still might need to find some transitional work within your new niche industry.
I look at this as having to do a bridging course before going to university because you didn’t do one of the required subjects at high school. Is that a weird simile? Regardless, that’s all it is, a way for you to up-skill and gain experience and if you think that that gets in the way of our dreams, you may have to consider how much you really want that dream to begin with.
It’s important for you to know that this step is not forever but it is your foot in the door. Once you have a foothold in any industry it’s a lot easier to grow and move into different roles. Changing career can be scary but allowing yourself the grace to learn and grow through a transitional job can be immensely helpful.
3. Find Your WHY
You really need to know why you are making a change. If you don’t know why, you’re not going to be able to remind yourself why this move is so important when things get tough. And they will get tough.
No change is easy and something as big as changing a career, especially if it’s a long term career, can bring up a lot of fear. It is for this reason that it’s so vital that you get clear on your why, as long as you know this you will be able to keep moving forward; you will know already what that light at the end of the tunnel looks like. When you learn about yourself and what you want out of life everything gets a little easier, your choices are broken down into more sizeable chunks and making decisions is a more simple process. Start with why. Know WHY you want to make a change career wise, know what you as an individual want to be offering to the world. Know WHY you want to make a change for yourself, your family and or your community. Know your own personal values behind what you do. Know WHY.
For this I highly recommend reading START WITH WHY and FIND YOUR WHY by Simon Sinek. This man knows his business, he also has a course that he runs if you want a little more of a personal touch in this area.
But if you don’t believe me, first check out his TED TALK here.
4. Work with a coach.
I know that there is a lot of mixed opinions about having a coach work with you when it comes to career and lifestyle. Some people swear by it and other people scoff at it and just like everything else in life, I say each to their own.
However, me personally? I am interested and I know that some of the coaches out there offer amazing opportunities, knowledge and support to their clients. I have not worked with a coach but I would love to one day. I have had mentors both professionally and personally and if the experience of a coach is anything close to that, I’m all in. There are a multitude of coaches out there, there really is someone for everyone, so make sure that you find the right person for you. The reasons you might want to work with a coach include: stability, tracked progression, professional support and accountability.
Some coaches that I follow online for that day when I am ready to work with someone include:
Hayley Hobson - lifestyle, health and business
Connie Chapman - lifestyle
Marie Forleo - business
Kaila Walker - writing and business
These women are all very different and all have different niches, it will be up to me who I choose to work with and what area of my life I want them to help me redesign. As I mentioned above there are a multitude of women (and men) out there that work as life coaches so keep looking and you will find the one that suits you best.