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It can be daunting to realize that your feelings of restlessness and dissatisfaction stem from unhappiness with work, and that your lack of enthusiasm can no longer continue. When this is the case, it is time to summon your courage and plan for a career change. But how does one change a career? Especially if the switch you want to make is something you have no experience or qualifications for whatsoever? It’s terrifying, and one of the most daunting parts of the transition is beginning, because where do you even begin? It is a balancing act between thoughtful preparation and bold action; you do not want to throw yourself into preparation to the point that you’re avoiding action, but you do not want to be reckless and unprepared when making a transition like this. Here are several steps you can take to help begin transitioning careers:
1. Start Asking Hard Questions
-Are my finances in order if I quit tomorrow? If so, how much time would I need to get a job? If not, how much longer do I need to keep this job in order to reach that number?
-If I quit tomorrow, is there temporary work I can do in the short term?
-What am I good at? What are my strengths?
-Where would I rather be spending my time and energy?
-What skills and qualifications do I have that can help me with this new career path?
-Who do I know that can help me?
Begin to read articles, blogs and books about your next possible career path, learn as much as you can to ensure you want to make this switch. Dedicate time every day, like it is a job to researching your potential career. Do not wing this, prepare for your next chapter the way you would for something your livleihood depends on.
3. Reach Out To People
Ask smart people in your life who care about your future about transitioning careers and your new field, and if they might know someone who can help. Come prepared with smart, thoughtful questions, and apply your research as you come up with them. In this moment you are going to need a lot of help, so do not be bashful asking for it, but do not waste people’s time with questions you can easily look up yourself. People are not going to be inclined to help people if they’re unsure of their dedication. Also, start cold e-mailing people in your desired industry and ask if you can buy them a cup of coffee for 15 minutes of their time. Casting a wide net in this moment is important, ask for help wherever you can.
4. Make A Plan
Once you have asked and answered practical and philosophical questions about your next career, and you have researched the industry and begun making connections, it’s time to lay the groundwork for the transition. Set goals for how many jobs you will apply to each week, and how many people you will meet with. Start saving money and setting it aside so you feel financially secure as you make this transition. If you’re making a drastic change, for instance, if you’re going from a corporate to a creative job, it could take awhile for the transition to happen, so don’t get discouraged, just create a plan that has flexible timetables.
5. Take Action
This is the most difficult part, but at some point you simply have to go for it. Start doing the work you want to be doing: before your day job, after your day job, whenever you have time during your day job, etc. I know it’s scary, but the sooner you start doing the work, the sooner you will improve, and be able to make it a full-time career.