In an ideal world each and every one of us would be educated in a way that would lead us to the career of our choice and that career would remain exciting for the rest of our ‘working’ years. This is rarely the case in the 21st Century. Although some of us may change careers by choice, with unstable economies and changing needs and demands of the society, it isn’t uncommon to be driven to change your career in order to make ends meet. How can we prepare for this? Is it possible to set a plan B without knowing what the future holds?
Shifting career goals and pursuing a ‘career plan b’ can be overwhelming. In addition to the stress and anxiety that may come with changing careers, there is also a fair bit of uncertainty. Although you cannot control the uncertainty, if you are faced with a career change, whether expected or unexpected, there are a few things to keep in mind to help with the transition.
1. Take stock of your likes and dislikes. When looking to make a career change it is worth taking a long look at what you like and what you don’t like. What types of tasks interest you? What type of tasks are laborious to you? These likes and dislikes will also lead you to think about your passion. When we can work in the areas that we are passionate, work feels a lot less like ‘work’ and we feel a lot more fulfilled.
2. Make a list of your skills. Many of us have skills in one field that are transferable to another field. Take the time to make a list of what you think your best skills are and do some research on which fields your skills are in high demand.
3. Check out local resources. Be sure to see whether there is a job placement center or any community or government programs that support career changers. Some regions have services that help individuals transfer from their current fields to high demand fields. Job placement centers, or other similar resources, can also offer career assessments that can help to guide you towards careers that fit your skills and that you may enjoy.
4. Pursue further training or education. Whether it’s self-directed learning or enrolling in courses, if you see an area where your skills can use sharpening, or where you have an interest and would like to learn more, look for opportunities to educate yourself. Increasing your knowledge in an area you are seeking to enter can only make you more marketable.
5. Don’t forget to network. Networking is an essential part of today’s society. Whether it is at a continuing education class, an evening cocktail party, or at your child’s PTA meeting, take the time to speak with others about what they are up to, and your interest.
The reality is that it is very difficult to plan for the unknown. It’s impossible for us to know what the future holds, but if you are faced with having to make a career change, try your best not to panic. In addition to the aforementioned tips, one of the most important qualities during times of transition is the ability to be flexible. Being flexible and open to risk and new opportunities can open a world of possibilities.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.