How To Change Careers
By Leo Gura - January 24, 2014 | 6 Comments
The hard reality of making a career transition and how to do it safely and successfully.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this quick self-help segment of about 10 minutes, I am going to give you some practical tips on how to change careers.
This is actually something that I’ve done. I can resonate with what you’re probably thinking if you’re thinking about changing careers.
It’s a big, bold move. You’ve invested so much time in your current career. Maybe you’ve invested a decade or more. Maybe it’s been just a few years.
I invested only one year and I was still feeling sad about having to change.
My story is that I was a video game designer and that was something that I wanted to be since I was a kid. When I ended up getting into that position, I found a good job as a game designer, but I wasn’t feeling it at that job.
For a multitude of reasons that I can’t go into detail about here because they were pretty complex, I found out that that job was not right for me. it It didn’t suit my strengths or my values. It didn’t give me the lifestyle that I wanted. I had to start my own business and I found that that’s what was right for me.
I remember standing there and looking out the window in my apartment in Boston and thinking about what it would mean if I left this job. I knew that if I left that job, there was no going back to that industry anymore. There was no going back to that branch of my life.
I felt like I was at a crossroads in my life and I could go either one way or the other way. I wasn’t quite sure which way to go and I knew that if I made the decision to transition out of game design, then my life would be different, for good or for bad, and I would have to grow.
I was taking a pretty big risk and I didn’t know how it was going to play out, so I know where you’re coming from. That’s my main point.
As far as some practical tips for how to changes careers go, I think that in the end, what you have to do is get clear about what it is that you want out of life. Once you’re clear about that, then that challenging life decision that I just talked about becomes much easier.
It’s still challenging, but it becomes much easier because it takes away some of the uncertainty when you know what you want.
Number one, that means identifying your top 10 values. Figure out what are your top 10 values. I talk about that in some other videos that I have where I go into how to do a proper values identification at length.
You identify your top 10 values and then that allows you to use that as a rubric for making decisions against. Once you know your values, you can ask yourself, “If I go with the status quo and my current career, how well is that going to fulfill and align with my top values?”
Then you can measure them and see and rank them and put numbers to them and see what comes out. Then you can say, “How do I think Option B will align with my values?” Even though you can’t be completely sure, you can have a pretty good guess. That will help you make the choice, in one way or another. That’s important.
The other thing is thinking about your life purpose. What is it that you want to accomplish in your life? What impact do you want to have?
If you’re thinking about changing careers, then you’re probably doing it for one of just a few reasons.
One is because the line of work that you’re in is not providing you with the lifestyle that you want. It’s not paying you enough. You don’t feel well-compensated. You don’t feel like you have the freedom, the time, or the creative autonomy that you want there. You want to change in those circumstances.
The other point is that you’re not passionate about that line of work and that you are thinking that there’s something else that you’re better aligned with. It’s a good sign when you’re feeling that, even though it’s scary in the moment.
The reason you’re feeling that is because your subconscious mind is telling you that your values are not being honored in your current job.
For example, if you’re working a 9-to-5 cubicle type of job and you’re sensing that maybe there’s more to life and you want to be out there and doing something a little bit more adventurous like working outdoors, working more with people, being self-employed, being a writer, or you have a dream project that you want to be working on.
If you have those things, but you’re working this 9-to-5 cubicle job, then your subconscious mind is going to deliver pain to you. It’s going to deliver pain and resistance because what you’re doing is going against those values.
It’s like you’re going upstream and what you want to be doing is going downstream. You want to be going with the flow. The flow that we’re talking about here is your values. By values, I mean the things that are the most important and meaningful to you in life.
On a subconscious level, you know that your life is short and that if you’re going to be putting hours and hours of time into your career and your job, you want some sort of payoff and satisfaction from that. You know, deep down, that you should be satisfied with your career because you are spending 40 hours a week there or more if you’re working a high-demand job.
40 hours a week is eight hours a day which is most of your day. It’s a good chunk of your waking time that you’re spending at your job.
If you don’t feel satisfied and happy and feel like you’re being creative or getting everything you want out of your job and it’s not the right line of work for you and you’ve just figured that out or you’re just starting to realize it, then you owe it to yourself to find something better.
Your life and your career is going to be long and you do not want to be in a jaded position where you hate your career and you’re just going there for the paycheck and you hate everybody there,. yYou don’t like what you’re doing and you hate the world. That’s not a path that you want to go down.
You want to change it around and change careers. You have to think about this. You have to think about what the long-term payoffs are going to be.
In the short-term, there’s probably going to be a cost associated with changing careers and that’s why you’re here and you’re watching this video. You’re wondering whether or not it’s going to be worth the cost.
What is the cost going to be? It’s probably going to be a cost of spending some time unemployed and looking for a new job. Maybe you’re going to have to spend some time re-training yourself.
Maybe you need to go back to school to earn the credentials or education you need to go into the new career. Maybe you have some sort of dream career that you have been pondering going into, but you haven’t known how to go into it or your financial situation has been holding you to the one that you’ve been at right now.
Maybe your family has been pressuring you to stay on this career track when, in fact, you know that you should be doing something more adventurous or something that’s more you.
Those are hard obstacles to go against. It’s going to take some self-discovery. It’s going to take some courage and overcoming your fears and standing up to them and standing up to some obstacles in your life, whether it’s money or friends or family, to make that shift.
What is going to be the long-term payoff of that? Even though there’s going to be that initial cost, the long-term payoff is going to be that not only are you going to be more fulfilled, which is nice, but you’re also going to be in a better position to earn more money.
I know that for me, I have some triggers and limiting beliefs about money even still, after doing a lot of personal development work. For me, that means that one way that I convince myself, in these kinds of situations, is by telling myself that when I’m doing what I’m passionate about and make that alignment, it’s not only just going to be for happiness and fulfillment’s sake, but it’s going to actually be for money’s sake.
I know that in the short-run, the money is not going to be as great or give me a big boost of money. In the long-run, I know that when I’m aligned with what I want to be doing and I have that passion there, that passion – even though it sounds abstract – actually starts to manifest itself in tangible ways.
When you’re more passionate, you’re going to be interacting with people more. You’re going to be more likely to go out there and grab the sale. You’re going to inspire people with your enthusiasm. Then things are going to catch on for you and you’re going to work harder.
In the end, because you like it, you’re going to work it and enjoy it and you’re going to produce a lot of value for other people. That value is worth something and it’s going to come back to you. You have to have the faith that that’s going to happen.
If you are skeptical and pessimistic about it, then there’s no way that you’re going to make that transition change. You’re going to be stuck here and when you’re stuck here, you know that you’re stuck because you’re succumbing to fears.
You’re giving into your fears and you’re coming up with all sorts of rationalizations and justifications for why this is okay and why mediocre is okay or why not living your values is okay.
That’s never okay. That’s only okay for a certain period of time. If you have some financial obligations and you have to pay off some bills or some credit cards or pay the electricity bill next month, I’m not saying that you go and quit your job right now and make a career transition.
What you do is you stay there and you slowly work it. Yyou don’t have to transition immediately. That’s what I did. I started by business while I was still working my 9-to-5 game design job.
I was pretty fortunate because I was able to get my business up within three or four months and then I was able to spin it off. I quit my job about six months after I intended to. That was a pretty quick transition. Still, recognize that it’s six months which is still quite a lot of time.
You have to have a little bit of patience here. Let’s say I’m in this position and I’m stuck here right now. I do need to pay my rent. I don’t have too much saved up. Maybe I don’t even know exactly what I’m going to be going into. I don’t even know how that works or what training I need.
What you have to do is start the research process. First of all, get in touch with yourself and your values and what you want out of life. Once you have a clear picture of what you want, then say, “Is that what I have right now or is there something better?”
If there’s something better, where is it? Okay, it’s over there. How can I transition from here to there? What would be the practical steps?
Then start doing the research. This is not something that you can usually answer in the abstract. This might mean that you have to buy some books or do some research online. Maybe you will watch some videos or buy some training programs.
Then go out there and start implementing this stuff. If you need more training, go out there and get more training. This might be a gradual process that you do while you’re still doing your 9-to-5. Maybe you do this on the weekends.
Then as you’re building up and building up, you’re going to reach a point where you’re going to feel confident enough and know that the other alternative is right for you and that you’re trained for that you’re going to be able to make the transition smooth.
That’s a lot better than just saying, “I’m going to quit this job and go find a new one,” without knowing exactly how it’s going to work. To make that radical break, you can get into some financial trouble and it can be a little bit of a rash move.
Secondly, you need some time to discover what you want. There are actually probably some things in your job now that are not quite as bad as they seem.
Use your current job to keep yourself on track financially. Use your current job to keep your family on track and do whatever you’re doing.
Then just start looking towards the future and start making that transition gradually. You don’t want to make a big break. Make it gradually and then one day, you’ll feel confident enough to make a big break.
This is Leo. I’m going to sign off here. Go ahead and post some comments. I’d love to hear what you guys think about this. I’m going to cover career transitions in a lot more detail in other video articles and also on Actualized.org.
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