Is it too late to make a career change? ￼
Some of us chose the career we have because we did not have any choice, it was the only option available, lack of funding, some professions or occupations were inherited, others discovered their skills by experience they had early in life, some others followed their passion (which is not good advice), still we managed to stick to something that was valuable, meaningful, and resulted in profit. And let us not forget that most people stick to the salary as the main reason to do a job and live a very unsatisfactory life. So, many of them questioned themselves: Is it too late to make a career change?
“Change is the only constant in life.”– Heraclitus
To prove this, I’m going to ask you a simple question.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Moreover, most of us are not who we really wanted to be as a kid, even some of us did not even have the chance to answer this question, probably nobody ever asked you or told you that there was an adult world in which you had to pick up a character with a profession and live by it and invest huge amount of hours.
If we really understood how important this decision is, we would not rush our poor kids into making a choice that will determine the rest of their lives. What happens when you are 16? Usually, we are not ready to make such an important decision alone, so it is better to cite Cal Newport when he says that at 16:
- They do not know what their passions are.
- There is no evidence that following a passion will bring satisfaction to a job that you will perform in the future.
- The key is to acquire rare and valuable skills that you can profit from later on.
Why do people change careers?
- Meaningful job, challenging job
- More recognition & Growth opportunities
- Less stress – more flexibility
Conoce: Programas especializados
How did it start for me?
I still remember when a good friend asked me to apply for a part-time job to have some extra cash, which I did. Once I sent my résumé, they replied and mentioned that I was overqualified for the position and that there were other positions that I could apply to.
At that moment I had made two mistakes, for the last three years I underestimated my skills and knowledge and forgot to pursue something that combined better with my definition of success.
And yes, I did understand the consequences that bring to changing a career, the learning curve, the change of positions, being a newbie, and lacking experience, but I had done it in the past. So, I armed myself with some courage, I wrapped my head around the idea of making a change for the better even though it did not seem like a good and profitable idea in the present.
Professional Idea Development
It was a tradeoff in skills that I needed to have to feel at peace with what I did and feel satisfied and good about what I did. Don’t get me wrong, I learned to enjoy my time while I was teaching, and I did my best as a professional to deliver every class and every course I taught. And that always gave me the opportunity to have good positions and a great network in education.
But then I learned that there is more to that, and I could approach that idea of professional development I had, we are not trees we have legs, we are nomads, as someone said change is the one and only constant in our lives. So, I really thought about making the change, and I would not live with the what ifs in my head, and I bet to a new career, of which I really knew little, but I was willing to learn.
Until something happened, I started noticing that some of the best teachers I know were neither satisfied with what they did, most of them decided to move to a different career because it was much easier to train bilingual people on skills than training non-bilingual with language skills.
So there are 5 tips I would like to share:
Visualize a general idea
Create your own definition of success, and know what is it that you truly enjoy doing. Some people find joy in helping others, offering their time, and sharing who they are. Some others find this the worst scenario, not every job is meant for everyone. And when I mean success, I do not mean material stuff you can buy, I mean the feeling of comfort and meaningfulness and satisfaction that you have with what you do.
If you asked me what is that we all need to start making changes in our life, I believe the strongest trait is to have a growth mindset and growth mentality.
Become self-awareness of the skills you have
Make a simple list of who is this person you see in the mirror and see what areas of improvement you have.
Work on your skill
Undoubtedly, this is essential to have a level of self-consciousness that allows you to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. After this, understand how to approach those shortcomings and how much time you will invest in them. Certainly, you will improve it, but only one aspect at a time.
There are two ways to do this, improve your soft skills and knowledge, one’s got to separate both since people tend to prioritize only one of the two.
There are two key ways to improve your skills and knowledge in a new area, the first one is once you have decided on what field you want to specialize in, choose a career path that supports your job experience. For example, if you are interested in data analysis, it is ideal to start short courses that allow you to deepen your knowledge and strengthen your everyday tasks.
There is this book that I like, it’s called So Good They Can’t Ignore You. This book covers the bases of how to succeed in any field.
The first one is to build your career capital through craftsmanship, use the 10k hours strategy to master a skill, deliberate practice, train on a specific/rare area to gain leverage and train like an athlete.
Also, the second one is to find a mentor or a coach (a certified one) that provides guidance or counsel regarding the necessary soft skills to perform at this new job. In other words, this person will help you identify the version of yourself that you must become to perform at that competent level.
Let’s understand that soft skills are fundamental to keeping a job, excelling, and having strong job relationships, in other words, these abilities will help you keep the job and be promoted.
Match the skills to the market
Besides, It is entirely ok to change careers, on average in the USA, they change careers up to 5.7 times in their life. That shows how fast-changing our world is. I know that the reality for Colombia is different. I know that in third-world countries realities respond differently.
However, it is more common than we imagine, some of us are even forced to do so, some of the reasons are good salaries, paycheck, stability, benefits, and perks are motivations. Lately, there has been a migration of employees towards technology that had never happened before. See what positions are required and check the best-paid jobs and the perks that come with them before you make a move. Understanding the fast-changing world that we live in is part of the skills needed to thrive and adapt to our society.
Zippia The Career Expert. (2022) 21 Crucial Career Change Statistics : How Often Do People Change Jobs? https://www.zippia.com/advice/career-change-statistics/
Reddit. (2012) Fastest Growing – and Shrinking – U.S. College Fields of Study. https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/xc4ckq/oc_fastest_growing_and_shrinking_us_college/