Have you ever wondered to yourself, “how to find the right career for me?” If so, you’re definitely not alone. Given today’s up-and-down job market, it’s now not uncommon to change jobs every 4 years over the course of one’s professional career, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey. That’s 15 job changes over the course of our working lives! While some of us have a clear vision from an early age that we’re going to be doctors, teachers or lawyers, plenty more of us stumble into our dream career through a series of lucky coincidences. Sometimes that first job we take out of college has nothing to do with where we are in 10 or 20 years.
While I began working as an attorney, finding the right career for me was ultimately about combining my passion for the law with my background in psychology. Knowing at the end of the day that I’ve helped someone achieve his or her professional goals is incredibly fulfilling and meaningful. As a legal recruiter, I find that many of the job candidates with whom I work are looking for the same thing: the opportunity to perform meaningful and fulfilling work that capitalizes on their unique skillsets.
Are you contemplating a career change but not sure where to start? Consider the following:
Tap into your passion. What gets you excited each day? For me, I found that as much as I enjoyed working on major litigation cases, I was not always able to see the fruits of my work and I wanted to find a more meaningful way to engage with my clients and colleagues. I became a legal recruiter in part to tap into my passion for helping others. What aspects of your current job do you find most fulfilling? Which would you like to change?
Talk to people who have made the transition. Do you dream about leaving the corporate world behind and opening a small business? What about working from home as a consultant or freelancer? Taking conference calls in your pajamas may sound great now, but don’t discount the challenges of an unreliable paycheck or difficulty building a robust client roster. Talking to professionals who have made the transition to a new career will help you get a fuller appreciation for the challenges (and rewards) that lie ahead. If you know, for example, that it could be 12 to 18 months before you start to break even financially, you can better prepare in advance for these challenges.
Start small. It’s not always feasible to make the leap overnight to a new career, especially if this career transition involves a major pay cut or job relocation. Maybe you want to pursue an artistic or creative passion like photography. Starting a small business on the side and letting it grow organically eliminates the need to completely start from scratch should you decide to make it your full-time job. Or maybe you’ve dreamed about becoming a teacher; try volunteering as a tutor for an afterschool program. You can “test out” your new career without leaving your current job behind.
Have you recently made a career change? I’d love to hear more about what motivated this change and how you made the leap.