It’s a different world in the workforce. Back in the day, you went to school, chose your major, graduated, got a job in that industry and worked hard until it was time to retire. If you quit, you got another job with a different company working in the same industry.
Today, many people, including myself, have changed career paths and this has been happening way before the global pandemic. Why do you think?
Several reasons I believe:
- Lay off. There may be little opportunities to stay in the same career when you’re unemployed. Nowadays, the competition is extraordinary compared to many years ago. With the pandemic, it’s even more competitive as many have lost their jobs or are underemployed. Some people went back to school to learn a new skill or trade.
- Disappointment. Some people have studied a subject only to find out they didn’t like it as a full-time career. It’s like purchasing those really cute new pair of blue 3″ spiked heels only to find out that walking in them outside is unbearable. Sometimes it takes getting deeply involved with something to find out it’s not really for us.
- Change of heart. Perhaps we pursue a career in an industry that we like but not for the long term. This is what I mistakenly did. And, it took me some years afterwards to find out what I was really passionate about.
Is too late to change career paths?
I would say no as long as you have:
- Good health
- Your financial circumstances will allow you to change your career
- You have the skills or you can afford the cost and take the time to learn a new skill
If you are determined to make the dive, I believe you can do it. 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 for that matter, 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 my 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 and desktop publishing, etc. A few years later when the marketing department was eliminated, I started my own business as a graphic designer without a degree. Your path may be different. 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.
Until you are able to support yourself in your new career choice, keep your regular job. 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 know of some who changed their careers to get away from the day-to-day stresses 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 with family and taking a pay cut is worth the price.
If you’re thinking of changing your career, take time to sit down and consider it thoroughly. Talk to your family, your pastor, a good friend and pray. Work is something we spend more than half our lives doing and nothing’s worse than doing a job you dislike for 20, 30+ years.
Be sure you really want to transition to a new career and that your emotions are not your only guide. We can make hasty decisions if we’re not careful.
Ask yourself these questions and write down your answers.
- Why do I want to change my career?
- Will changing my career bring me more fulfillment?
- What is my goal for changing my career?, more money?, less stress?, more time with my family?
- Will I need training in order to switch careers?
- Do I have enough savings to fall back on if my new career will take time to see an ROI (return on investment)?
If you know in your heart you’re making the right decision, then go for it.
What about starting my own business? Is it feasible to do during a pandemic?
God always works good from bad. Even through this global pandemic, opportunities can arise that otherwise might not be there. Never before in history have we had a time where so many people are purchasing online. Many at-home start-up businesses have formed. People are looking at creative ways to supplement income or to work full-time at home for themselves. One pay job doesn’t cover all the bills today as it once did.
If you’re really interested in being a business owner, then be sure to do your homework. Know the laws in your state for licenses you may need to have. I would also say get legal advice for the type of work you want to do. Many law offices will offer free advice for start-ups to answer any questions you have about self-employment. Secondly, you’ll need to decide what business type (ex., sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.) you want to be. There’s pros and cons to each business type that you should make yourself aware of. Lastly, you’ll want to have a tax accountant unless you are able to do your own taxes. I’ve had my accountant since 1999. All this prep work is not hard, it just takes time. However, if you have properly prepared beforehand, it will be a lot easier for you to be in your own business and remain open.
What type of online business can I do from home?
Here’s a few examples:
- Reselling. You can buy items wholesale or low cost and flip them on sites like: eBay, Poshmark or even your own website for profit. Oftentimes, stores will sell items that didn’t move off their shelves to make room for new inventory. Resellers take these items and sell them on their own. You can pick a niche of items you would like to sell and specialize in that or sell several types of products.
- Business Coaching. Are you knowledgeable about a particular industry? Perhaps you’ve worked in the marketing industry for many years and you can consult with clients to help them expand their brand.
- Handmade Maker. Do you build or make items? If you’re good at making products, you can sell on sites like Etsy that supports handmade businesses.
- Digital Marketing. Do you like to create planner items or stickers or customized stationery? Etsy is also a great platform for this type of business. There’s software and free websites online that you can use to create your products. Your customers can come to you for customizations (ex., customized wedding invitations), purchase and get an automatic download. What’s great about this type of business is there is no inventory to stock. There’s a big market for organizational items like planner printables.
There’s other types of industries that can be done remotely like: real estate investor/agent, health/wellness consultant, educator, web designer/content creator.
There’s many more types of businesses that you can do, but hopefully these ideas will get you thinking if you’re wanting to change your career.
For additional resources, contact your local SBA or SCORE offices, Chamber of Commerce or the BBB. If you know you’re truly unhappy where you are in your career, I’m with you. I was very unhappy until I made the switch and I did it being scared but I did my homework first. And I definitely had long prayer sessions LOL! I felt a peace at the same time as I was nervous. However, I couldn’t stay where I was because at the end of the day, life is too short to spend over half of it in an unrewarding, unfulfilling career.