If you woke up this morning dreading going to work, again – it’s time for a change. I know this doesn’t seem like sound advice in a recession, but a change of career might be the best thing you’ve ever done.
Your decision may well be influenced by your particular stage in life. You might feel that you’ve hit a career ceiling but want to take that next step. Perhaps you want to do something you feel passionate about. Or maybe you want more balance between work and spending time with your family.
Then again, the choice might not be yours to make. I had to make an unplanned career change from being a Royal Navy pilot after being seriously injured. For me it meant taking a complete direction shift, but one that has proved to be both fun and rewarding.
My story is far from unique. Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan retired early after a series of injuries. He recently presented a documentary about how sportsmen deal with early retirement. It gave a fascinating insight into how sports people deal with the inevitable issue of retirement – often at an early age.
But change can come from any direction. The fluctuating economy could mean you’re looking to reinvent yourself after redundancy. Or with the emergence of new technologies has come a plethora of new opportunities that just didn’t exist a few years ago.
Whatever the reason, if you’re the sort of person who can adapt to these changes and actively push yourself to seek out new opportunities and learn the skills necessary, then you have every reason to back yourself.
So what should you do next?
I’d suggest making a plan. Treat it like a business plan. Write down the skills you have to make the successful transition to your new career. Then add the ones you need to develop, or more importantly, the ones you’ll need to convince others that you’re the right person to do the job. You might need training, work experience, or some academic underpinning.
Once you’ve got a plan of action, execute it with as much focus as you can. It’s important to believe in it, because if you don’t believe in you, you’ve got no chance persuading someone else to. But remember, as with all plans you need to be flexible. You need to be prepared to alter your plan, your expectations, or even where you’re living to achieve your goal.
If you still think change sounds scary, then consider this… most of us will be working well into our 70s. And work forms a massive part of our lives. So if you’re in your 30s a change of direction now could give you a rewarding and fulfilling career that lasts for 40 years. The more proactive you are now, the more chance you have to find that role which makes you spring out of bed in the morning.