At some point during your career, you will consider whether the career path you have chosen will be the one you will be on for the long haul. Statistically speaking, you really don’t need to worry too much about this, as most people will change their career direction up to 3-4 times. For some, this might seem impossible, but for others, the number might actually be higher.
The days of working at the same company your entire career are long over, and for me personally, this is a huge relief, as I can’t imagine still being at the same company I started my career. Although I do know one person who is still at that company close to thirty years later.
The majority of people like some change, many have a harder time embracing or seeking out change, especially when it comes to their career direction. If you were to ask ten people how they chose the career they are in, you are likely to hear ten very different reasons. However, the common thread will be that they were influenced by another person to head in that direction.
Based on the fact many people are highly influenced by another person to proceed and pursue a particular career, is one of the reasons why people end up going in another career direction. Having someone else heavily influence your career decision happens frequently, and the people who are doing the influencing have good intentions. Although, most of the influencers are not asking the person enough questions to truly help them to make an informed career direction decision.
So, if you were in a position to give someone advice, or if you need advice on how to reinvent yourself professionally, here are some questions and statements to consider before heading down your new path.
- What do you spend the majority of your time thinking about which would make your professional direction more constructive and enjoyable?
- If money were not a concern, what career would be ideal for you?
- Think about when you were really young. What did you tell other people you wanted to “be” when you grew up? Sometimes our young self is wiser than we give it credit.
- Have you realistically considered what it will take to change professions? Sometimes doing so might be less drastic than you think it will be.
- Many of the skills you have acquired are likely highly transferrable to another type of profession or industry. Sometimes changing industries instead of changing careers is much easier to do.
- Regardless of where you are in your career journey, you are never stuck. You only allow yourself to be mentally stuck.
- If you have even the slightest interest in a different career or industry, find someone who is in it, and ask to talk to them about how they got into their industry. Or, ask them why they made the decision to pursue the type of work they are doing.
- Is working for a company or in an industry that gives back to our society, or supports us having a better society important to you? Sometimes when we are misaligned with a company and what they stand for, finding a company you can align with mentally, emotionally and professionally can make an enormous positive difference in your career satisfaction.
- There isn’t a magic formula for when is the best time to transform your career or self into a new direction. The process is generally a slower moving one, and it will almost feel like one day you are ready to begin the process of making your changes.
- Planning your new career direction is advisable, and it will make it easier for you to think about the considerations you will need to take into account if your new career direction is going to be potentially disruptive, or requires you to take a cut in pay.
- Remember, sometimes we have to take a step backwards to go forward. However, this is generally worth it. You will also be afforded an opportunity to learn more when you start at a place that will provide you with additional guidance from others who are more experienced.
When I made the decision to “pivot” my career, I did so over the course of a couple of years. Has it been worth making the decision to change my career path? It absolutely has, as I now feel like for the first time in my career I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. The best thing about the change I made was to see the difference I am making in other people’s lives, and careers based on the work I am doing to support them.
As some of you know, I refer to myself as a “people diamond polisher”. I am enormously proud of the work I do. The results others get from my decision to pivot my career to focus my talent and attention on helping others, is enormously professionally rewarding.
My wish for you is that you arrive at the place I am professionally, and begin to understand what it feels like to be doing something which is authentically aligned with your talents.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
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