Why are the twenty-something years so challenging? It’s usually the mid-to-late 20s when we first experience a career epiphany… or crisis, depending on how things are going for you. I mean, isn’t this when careers should be taking off?
That’s exactly the problem. For so many of us, we’ve spent most of our lives in school preparing for a career that we may or may not have had actual experience with. Plus, we’re not yet adults at the time when we’re forming our ideas about career.
Very often we’re swayed by parents, teachers, and our own ideas of what career success should look like. While well meaning, our family, friends and mentors may have a vested interest in our success. And that can have a big impact on our ability to determine what’s in our own best interest.
Here are 4 things you may want to think about before making a career transformation:
1) What Change Isn’t.
If you’ve been feeling like things have been “off” for a while now, recognizing that you need to make a career change can feel like a weight has been lifted off your chest. After having this realization you may be expecting that the rest is going to be pretty easy.
Unfortunately, change is not like you see in movies. It rarely comes with a background track. It rarely happens in an epiphany. And it rarely happens quickly. Now, don’t let that discourage you. Rather, having realistic expectations of your career transformation is vital to your success.
2) Fears Are Inevitable, But They’re Not Roadblocks.
This process is never simple. There are a lot of fears people have when making any kind of change, but career changes especially, as financial concerns can make people feel extremely de-stabilized. It’s important for you to understand your fears about money, success & career before you enter into any kind of change program.
Money is the biggie, right? Money is about safety for some, or intricately tied to success for others. But remember, not everyone has the same ideas about money. So it’s important to reflect on what money meant to your family growing up and what money means to you now? When money is bound with your feeling of safety, as it is for many, making changes to your income can have a debilitating emotional effect.
Deconstruct what financial comfort means to you, as opposed to financial success. Why do you feel that way? Where did those ideas of “success” tied to money come from? For some people, success is not about money or position or fame, but about personal satisfaction from doing meaningful, engaging work. Is that an option for you? Why or why not.
3) The Right Kind of Support is Essential.
The aforementioned emotions and fears are why getting support while making a transition is so vital, but it’s very important to get support from people who don’t have a vested interest in your status quo.
Look, your parents and friends love you and (mostly) want to support you. But change isn’t easy for them either. And this can be really tricky for young people. For some of you, your parents have spent tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars funding your education and even supporting you as you got on your feet.
For some, your friends are in the same field as you… When you make a change, they might feel undermined, or even threatened. Remember, that your parents, even the most supportive of them, are people, too, full of emotion and fears and desires. They may worry about you, especially if your career change is quite different from what you’re doing now.
Support with like-minded others, people who are also making a change in career, is really the best way to get support.
4) Quitting Your Job Isn’t Always the First Step.
After months of feeling miserable or just “meh” about your present career path you may want to throw caution to the wind and quit your job immediately. While you may make the decision to leave your present job, running into your boss’ office and telling him or her “I’m outta here” is probably premature.
Rather, making a career transformation or change is a process to help you a) explore what a meaningful career means to you; b) define what kind of career change is right for you; c) become aligned with your career change plan.
There’s nothing wrong with changing jobs or careers, in fact it’s healthy. Where I see clients getting into trouble is when they quit their jobs without considering the above questions or get into black and white thinking such as, “if I only had a different job, then I would be okay.”
By considering these 4 questions, you’ll be able to make the decision to leave your current position and make a career transition, not from a place of fear, but from a place of inspiration and confidence.