The career change journey

To say 2020 has been incredibly challenging is an understatement - people have been pushed physically, mentally and emotionally for months. Everyone has had to rethink their priorities - be it because they lost a job, their health deteriorated, they couldn't spend time with family, were locked in with family 100% of the time, or were isolated and with nothing but time to think. For many, this led to the decision to explore a fundamentally different career - a decision that comes with a long list of questions around how to realize this very exciting, but also very tricky goal.

I recently made my third career switch and have found that every time I had to use a different approach based on the needs of the role, market conditions and my own current mindset. I noticed that there is a pattern to the challenges I faced, which I also saw in the journeys of my clients and peers. For the most part the challenges that show up fall in the following categories:

  • Lack of awareness: I know I want a change, but I don't know how I want it to look like

  • Doubts and Fears: This is not the right time / I don't have the right skills / it is too risky / I have too many responsibilities etc.

  • Follow through: I’ll start networking next week; I’ll polish my resume in the next month… or two; maybe I should postpone these interviews for when i have less work; I just don’t have time right now to follow my dreams

The good thing is that you can prepare for all these challenges and get the support you need to go on this journey. These are the 4 key steps:

  1. Make the decision to start the journey - ensure that if you start you are doing it for the right reason - your current career just might be what you want

  2. Paint a clear picture of your future career - what does it actually look like? how is it aligned to your values? how will it help you achieve your life goals?

  3. Address what is in your way - notice the ways you are holding yourself back and work through them (e.g. imposter syndrome, overwhelm, fear of failure, other people's expectation, risk intolerance, etc.)

  4. Build your support structures - outline realistic milestones and action items (e.g. resume building, cover letters, networking, interview preparation) and identify the accountability and support you need - that can come from friends, family, coach / therapist, tools, etc.

None of these steps are easy, but none of them are as hard as they may seem either - more importantly, you don't have to do it alone! I became a coach so I can support people to get to the other side - a fulfilling and rewarding career that coexists and complements your personal life.

About the author:

Diana is a growth and performance coach focusing on helping her clients get to the next step in their career. After 10 years in finance and strategy consulting in a variety of industries and functions, she embraced her passion for talent development and started coaching professionally. From advising executives to managing talent just entering the workforce, and anything in between she has had the opportunity to watch people grow and perform and be a part of their journey. Here's more detail on Diana.

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