The older I get, the more I’ve come to realise that you fall into one of two camps when it comes to your career.
Either you work to live – you’re happy to do a job that doesn’t necessarily set your world on fire but hey, it pays the bills – or you fall into the other category and you live to work – you can’t imagine a life in which you’d do anything other than what you’re passionate about and if it means eating Super Noodles twice a day for the foreseeable, well… pass the chopsticks.
Neither is necessarily better than the other – our upbringing, circumstances and personality type can all have an effect on how we feel about the work we do – but, increasingly, I see people looking to transition from Camp A (working to live) to Camp B (living to work).
Recently, we discovered that a whopping 83% of Foundry Fox readers have thought about a career change but only 20% would actually go through with one. That means that over 4/5 of Camp A is longingly peering through the cracks in the fence at Camp B but only 1/5 of them will ever actually jump over.
So what’s going on here? And how can we encourage more people to make the move?
Fear is the big demotivator, according to Life Coach Adele Clough. We fear everything from the unknown to potential failure and loss of income as well as change. But this, says Clough, is just a “natural, instinctive survival mechanism” and one that we should try to curtail so as not to ‘limit our choices’.
Career Coach Rachida Benamar agrees. “Most of my clients have invested years of study and professional experience to get to where they currently are, but there are so many opportunities to learn new skills.”
In fact, the World Economic Forum recently stated last year that, no matter the industry, 35% of the skills that workers need will have changed by 2020, so not expanding your skillset could prove detrimental in years to come, thanks to changing landscape of work.
So if you’re going to take the leap, this is what you should do – according to our team of expert Career Coaches.
Firstly, accept and take charge.
The Sunday night fear may have become a permanent fixture in your life – like an irritating flatmate that you dread bumping into – but it doesn’t have to be that way. As Clough says, “this is your life and you get to choose how to live it”. Accepting that every major change comes with growing pains is the first step to taking positive action. Clough suggests writing down each of your fears and coming up with practical ways to overcome them. Worried about earning less money? Start stringently budgeting now. Afraid that you’ll fail? Get used to sharing your goals with people you trust – once you’ve explained in a rational manner why you want to take the leap, most of our peers tend to get on board.
Work out what interchangeable skills you have
A lot of people wrongly believe that their skillset is fixed when, actually, a lot of it is transferable. Even if you work in vocational role such as teaching, medicine or law, as Benamar says, “opportunities are everywhere if you open yourself up to them”.
Write down a list of the skills that you require to do your job well, then make a list of all the skills you need for your desired role. The likelihood is, you’re attracted to your new career choice because it resonates with you and your talents, so there’s likely to be a lot of crossover. This will come in really handy when you start applying for jobs.
Make sure you really get the job you want to do – warts and all
Spoiler alert: every single job has its negatives. Wanting a fresh start is all very well, but if you don’t really know its ins and outs, you could find that your dream isn’t all it was cracked up to be.
“Start by doing some research or, better yet, get some actual experience,” suggests Benamar. You wouldn’t willingly marry someone you’d never met, right? So don’t make this gamble with your career, either: shadow someone who has your dream job to get a real understanding of what the day-to-day looks like – then you’ll know if you’re really ready to make the commitment.
Lastly, tell the world
Having a great idea is all very well, but if no one else knows about it, it’s going to stay exactly where it is right now – in your daydreams. A 2016 survey conducted by LinkedIn found that 85% of roles were filled through networking, so you never know where your declaration could lead you. As Benamar says, “you never know what connections you have and how they could help you.”
There’s no denying that changing careers is a pretty intense process, but it’s definitely one worth investing in. After all – the time will pass anyway, so would you rather reach the end of the year still hating your job but another ten boxsets down on Netflix, or in a new role thanks to a few hours of hard work?
The couch might be calling but we certainly all know the answer to that.