Career change: reasons or excuses?

How do you know when to make a change career? How do you really really know, beyond a doubt, that it is exactly the right time and right circumstances for you to change career?

The chances are, that in spite of fears around money, mouths to feed, or mortgage to pay – if you are questioning it – and reading this article – then it is the right time and the right choice for you. There are many varied and often valid reasons that may stop you changing career, I’d like to walk you through some ways to deal with these below.

First off, don’t worry, you’re not alone:

  • In Britain, those in their 30s are often the most unhappy, at work. They feel undervalued, demotivated, or are experiencing a mid-career period of blues.
  • It is predicted that by the end of this decade more than 50% of us will be working independently.

So what’s stopping you?

Luckily there is only one thing standing in your way to a new, fulfilling career of your choosing. Even better, it is entirely within your control…that thing is YOU.

Your fears, your beliefs, your unwillingness to change. Are you perfectly comfortable being uncomfortable? There are so many reasons for not right now. But it is time to bust some of those myths and tackle your own excuses head on:

Myth #1

You have to figure out what you want before you jump

So you’re great at helping other people with their problems, a whizz at running projects to budget and to a deadline, you always find a solution if you think hard enough…all you have to do is figure out your perfect answer and then you’ll do it, you promise.

Let’s get real. Self-help books, online skills tests, or hiding under the duvet with Netflix is not going to magically provide you with the answer you’re looking for. What you need is more hard data on what you like, don’t like, and what it is that want – for now. Why not try:

Taking on a new project – in work, outside of work, volunteer, or do something for yourself or family

  • Shadowing a friend – see what their day to day life is like, what feels good to you and what do you know you’d hate
  • Study something you’ve always wanted to learn – it might not be work-related, but it’ll certainly get your brain going in new directions
  • Put yourself out there to meet new people – take an interest in their work and lives and see what that stirs up in you
  • Get a coach – invest in yourself, demand to be really challenged in your thinking, and try, try, try.

Myth #2

You have to do it all by yourself

Two heads are most definitely better than one – three, four, or umpteen more are even better. Ask your spouse, your parents, your kids, your best friend, people who have worked with you before, and people you know at school, church, your book group – you’ll be surprised by just how observant people can be when asked.

Things to learn about yourself: what do other people think you’d like, what do they come to you for above everyone else, where do they see your skills, what do they like about their work, what do they absolutely hate about their work, who do they know who seems to love what they do…and could they put you in touch for a similar chat.

Myth #3

You’ll have to start over and there will be no way back

Let me just put it out there. Your skills count. Your experience matters. Everything you have done up to this point has influenced you in some way or another – just pay attention to those you’d rather not repeat.

It is not a case of starting again, but identifying and becoming confident in the value these experiences have added to your learning up till now; and more importantly, the value you added to these experiences. There is always a way to translate what you have done, and there is rarely a career path that will block an experienced talent from returning – if they so wish.

So what now, how do you overcome both reasons and excuses?

Your reasons are usually logical, rational, and objective assessments of a situation. Your excuses tend to be any one of these reasons, used in defence of your choices. You may even use these to blame your current action, or more likely inaction when it comes to a career change, on something or someone else. It is time to assess which one of these you are using, and what you want to do about it. If you’re not sure, or simply feeling the fear, then we have some suggestions for how to bottom-out what these really mean and how to get yourself moving through them.

The one thing that is worst than making the “wrong” decision is doing nothing at all. Inertia is a killer. Take a look at the steps above: what could you try today, what could you get in place by next week, what would you have learned by next month? The net effect of all of these actions are new ideas, new connections, new experiences, and new ways to finding a career you love.

Visit our coaching page to see how we can help you make a successful career change.


By Samantha Woolven