Written by: Beau Peters
Thanks to advancements in technology and new job creations, there are more options than ever before when it comes to career choices. So it should come as no surprise that the average person switches careers anywhere from 5-7 times in their lifetime.
People decide to switch for a variety of reasons. Some want to venture out and start their own business or follow their passion. Others want to break into a brand new field, even if they don’t necessarily have the prior experience. Some might even want to change their working hours or try a different environment.
Maybe you feel like you’re not in the right job role for your personality, or you’re simply ready for something different. But switching careers shouldn’t be something you take lightly. Once you’ve made a pros and cons list of reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) leave your current job, you can take the proper next steps. If you do decide to make a switch, it’s important to do it the right way to make sure you are financially secure and mentally healthy while you start the next chapter of your professional life.
Breaking Into a New Field
It might sound a little overwhelming and scary at first, but breaking into a completely new industry — even one where you have no experience — can be an exciting and life-changing choice. Don’t let a lack of experience keep you from trying something new if you’re interested in a particular field, or if you’re willing to learn.
If you do lack experience in a certain field, try to fill in the gaps with things like past experience in other areas. Additionally, you can gain experience before applying to a job in a new industry by:
- Volunteering in that industry
- Signing up for an internship
- Going back to school
- Gaining certifications
- Seeking out mentors/networking
- Staying connected on social media
Some fields may allow on-the-job training, in which case you may be able to start a new career right away while receiving all the training you need from your new company. Think about the skills you already have that could be put to use somewhere new, and work on developing those for an industry you’re passionate about.
Opening a Brick and Mortar Business
Some people choose to change careers because they’re ready to be their own boss and chase down their dreams. Over 627,000 small businesses launch each year, so if you’re trying to follow your passion, you’re not alone.
Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of small businesses also shut down each year. That’s not something that should scare you out of starting your own, but it’s important to be as prepared as possible. One thing you’ll have to be aware of is how to maintain your building, whether you’re renting it or you own it. General maintenance can include anything from flushing water lines if you haven’t been open for a while to making sure your business is properly cleaned every day.
Opening a brick and mortar business also means you’ll likely have to hire more employees, work with suppliers, and learn how to market your business, especially digitally. If you’re leaving your current career to start your own business, expect that you’ll be putting in even more hours than you did at your previous job. But if you truly have a passion for something, the stress and exhaustion are often worth it!
Considering a Transitional Job Or Something More
Sometimes, people want to switch out their career for a change of scenery. For example, if you’ve worked in an office for the last 10 years, maybe you want to try something more active or something that’s different every day, rather than sitting behind the same desk.
One great way to try something new is to consider a transitional job. Transitional jobs allow you to work somewhere for a period of time or a season while you’re looking for something more permanent. Working for companies like UPS or the U.S.P.S. can be great transitional jobs that may even turn into full-time employment opportunities. The U.S. Postal Service offers a variety of benefits to its employees, including:
- Paid time off
- Health, dental, and vision insurance
- Life insurance
- A flexible spending account
You might also want to consider trying a job in the gig economy. As of 2018, there were over 57 million workers in the gig economy. Thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has undoubtedly grown. In fact, gig workers have become more essential than ever before. As a gig worker or contractor, you’ll work on individual jobs or “gigs” for individuals or companies. Once that gig is done, you’ll move onto another one. Examples of gig workers include:
- Freelance writers and graphic designers
- Ridesharing drivers
- Food delivery drivers
- Freelance IT specialists
If you have certain skills or education in a specific area and you can market those skills effectively, you could take advantage of the gig economy and be your own boss, either for a period of time while you look for a different job or on a permanent basis.
As you can see, changing your career can be an exciting experience. It’s okay to be a bit overwhelmed at first. But, think about why you wanted to change in the first place, and where you want to see yourself in the next five, ten, or twenty years. Keep these tips in mind to help you reach those goals and find fulfillment in your next career.