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This article is from guest blogger Nik Lemmens, Career Coach.
There are many people out there that could significantly benefit from a change in career. Doing so can not only lead to better pay and a faster ascent up the career ladder, it can also lead to a significantly higher quality of life if you manage to make the change from something you hate to something you love.
It’s important to be aware however that for every person that makes a career change and reaps the rewards, there is another person that experiences nothing but regret. One of the easiest ways to become one of the latter is to make one of the following surprisingly common career change mistakes.
Don’t Change Careers Just Because You Hate Your Job
Of all the career change mistakes in this article, this is probably the one that is made the most often. You should never confuse hating your job with hating your field. Many people choose to make a drastic career change when they find that their job has become repetitive, monotonous or simply too stressful.
But in many cases, the reason for these feelings, is not that they hate what they do but rather that they hate where they do it. Therefore while there are many career problems that can be solved with a change of field, don’t completely revamp your career until you are positive that your problems couldn’t be resolved by simply working for a different company. Finding work in a new company is significantly easier than finding work in a new field.
Don’t Rush into a Career Change
There is a significant difference between taking the time to plan something and simply procrastinating. Although procrastination wastes time, taking the time to plan a successful career change is always time well spent. Therefore before you make a move, make sure that you have both researched the options open to you and that you have formulated a plan.
- If you will need further training, where are you going to get it?
- If you will be unemployed for a while, do you have enough money saved?
- Exactly, where do you intend on finding a job?
Don’t Be Influenced By Outside Pressures
It’s very important to remember that when you change careers, the only person that’s going to be doing something different every day is you. You should therefore never base your decision based upon outside pressures. Parents, friends and spouses all like to give career advice and while such advice can be beneficial, it should never be the driving force behind what you do. Those particularly likely to be pressurized into a career change are those that don’t make that much money in their current field and this leads us to another common mistake.
Don’t Base Your Decision Solely Upon Money
Changing your job because you believe that you can make more money elsewhere certainly makes sense but many people make the mistake of forgetting about the other effects of a career change. A career change will lead to you spending forty hours a week in a different location, talking to different people and doing something completely different all day. Although how much you make is certainly important, your quality of life is even more important. And more money doesn’t always mean a higher quality of life.
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I am a recovering change management consultant. Over the last 20 years or so, I’ve focused my career primarily in the people change management space. My job was to help companies realize the ROI of their multi-million dollar investments – whether they be investments in organizational redesign, new systems or large scale business transformations – by mitigating resistance, creating buy-in and driving adoption. The way to do that was to get the people on-board with what was happening. If they stopped resisting what was inevitable and just adopted the change, then all would be right in the “corporate” world. And I use the term “corporate” as a catch-all. These challenges and my project work spanned industries and organizations, from non-profit and government to privately owned and publicly traded enterprises.
The challenge is and always will be people. People will make or break the success of any change a company wants to make. So my job was part data analysis, part coaching, part writing, part training and part shrink. Get into the heads of the people to figure out what they wanted and find a way to make this change something they want. Or better yet – need. Call it marketing. Call it change management. Call it what you want. No matter how you slice and dice it, or whatever you call it, I was doing it wrong. And so are you.
If we apply the “Ask, Listen and Do” mindset to this problem, we as change management professionals can increase our effectiveness while enabling organizations to actually realize the ROI of their big dollar investments.
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Don’t Assume that You Can Emulate Your Peers
Another common reason for somebody to start pondering a career change is that they have witnessed one of their friends excelling in a different career than themselves. It is of course human nature to want to emulate that success but you shouldn’t automatically assume that it’s even possible. Perhaps they are more talented than you at something, perhaps they are a harder worker or perhaps they have just been lucky. Just because your friend is a successful artist, that doesn’t mean that you can paint.
Don’t Be Unrealistic
Don’t ever let anyone tell you not to be ambitious but remember that realism is just as important as ambition. If you are currently working and are having some level of success in your current field, make sure that the alternative that you are about to chase is realistic.
- If you are making a career change for money, make sure that your estimated income is realistic.
- If your new career will involve a pay cut, will you still be able to pay the bills?
- If your new field is highly competitive, will you be able to find a job?
Don’t Start Back at the Bottom
When it comes to starting a new career, don’t forget that you will start much higher up the ladder in some fields, than in others. You should aim to choose a field in which your existing skills and experience will make you valuable. It doesn’t matter how well you performed in the past, if your skills and experience have no application to your new career, you are going to have to start right at the bottom. While some people are passionate enough about a particular field for this to be acceptable, the majority of people are not.
Don’t Forget to Consider All of Your Options
When you decide to embark upon a career change, the possibilities for your future open up immensely. Don’t rush into choosing your next career just because you can’t wait to get out of the one that you are in. Making a successful career change frequently involves training, periods of unemployment and having to adjust to a new company. Therefore don’t put all that time and effort to waste, make sure that you choose your next career wisely.
About Our Guest Blogger
Nik Lemmens, Career Coach
Nik Lemmens is an excellent career coach who makes sure you have a great future ahead by providing very valuable career information.
If you’d like to guest post for The HRIS World, contact us for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.
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