Need to Make a Career Change?

Monday, May 01, 2017


This is a different world in the workforce. Back in the day, you went to school choosing your major, graduated, got a job in that industry, and worked hard until it was time to retire or if you changed jobs, it was to work for another company in the same industry. Today, many people, including myself, have changed career paths. But why?

I think several reasons:


  1. Lay off. There may be little opportunities to stay in the same career when you're unemployed so many choose to go back to school or take classes to learn a new skill or trade.
  2. Disappointment. This can happen. You study a subject only to find out you don't like it as a career. It's like trying on those really cute new pair of blue 3" spiked heels in the store, buying them only to find out that walking in them all day on sidewalks is unbearable. A lot of times we have to get knee deep into a situation to find out it's not for us. 
  3. Change of heart. Maybe we major in a subject that we like but not love. This is what I mistakenly did. And, it took me a few years afterwards to find out what I was passionate about. 

Is too late to change career paths?

I would say no as long as you are in decent health and your financial circumstances will allow you to change your career. You may have to go back to school or maybe you have the skill set and only need a little help which you can find free on the web.

It will take time, commitment, and possibly money. But, if you are determined to make the dive, I believe you can do it. I did! I was 30 years old when I changed careers and again at 50+! It's never too late if you're on this side of the soil!

How do I go about changing my career?

Everyone's path is different so there is no "one size fits all". In my case, I was working full time in one department and I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer. I didn't have an art degree or any degree, but I had designed some marketing materials and when my job transitioned over to the marketing department, I was able to support creative services. I let them know that I was wanted to be a designer and that I was willing to learn from the bottom. So, I learned the craft while on the job. I practiced every night at home designing ads, newsletters, logos, brochures, you name it. I got very good advice from the designers I worked with.

I also took continuing education classes in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. A few years later when the marketing department was eliminated, I was able to be self-employed as a graphic designer without a degree. Your path may be different. The one piece of advice I can give is to position yourself where you want to be and learn all you can even if you think you know enough.

Don't quit the day job just yet.

Not until you are able to support yourself in your new career choice. Between the time I was training to be a graphics designer and the time I opened my business was about two years. And, I'm glad it took that long because I was more prepared and not as nervous since I had had years of experience actually as a designer before going off on my own.

I also know of people who changed their careers to get away from the day to day stress on their jobs. I can relate because I was managing multiple projects with deadlines everyday. So, sometimes changing careers doesn't always mean promotion and more pay. It can be to slow down or to spend more time at home with family and taking a pay cut is worth the price.

If you're thinking of changing your career, really sit down and consider it thoroughly. Be sure you really want to transition to a new career and that your emotions are not your only guide. Us humans can make hasty decisions if we're not careful. And, on the other hand if you know in your heart you're making the right decision, then go for it. We all have little time to live on this earth, it would be shame to use most of it in an non-fulfilling, non-rewarding job.

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