Selecting a new career is akin to choosing a new role, a new life and habits. A career change is like the path for your new life. Your career choice will eventually shape your life direction. Often, you’ll ask these questions:
- What career or job should I pursue?
- What will be my next goal?
- What college course should I take?
Reasons for changing careers
- To relocate
- To upskill
- You hit a ceiling (means there’s no room for improvement in your organisation which is beyond your control).
- A bad economy/pandemic/endemic hit your industry or field.
- You are underemployed for more than a year.
- You resigned.
- You’re bored.
- You need bigger income.
- You feel that you’re not challenged.
A new career or job?
Although the word “career” and “job” are used interchangeably, they are different. Here’s a comparison.
- A lifetime commitment.
- A lifetime of jobs that are related and unrelated.
- Specific work to earn money.
- Can be short-term or long-term.
Steps on how to choose a career
1. Find out your motivations
Your motivations can be your inner calling or inner voice that tells you to do something. For example, you believe that you can do more to end the suffering of people from hunger and poverty. So you decided to join a relief organisation.
You can ask yourself with these questions:
- Do I need to change my career or I just need a new job?
- What are the reasons why you’re leaving your job?
- What is your ideal workplace and experience?
- What is your dream?
- What and where do I like to be after 2 or 5 years?
List all the things you want out of your next career or job. Here is a list of situations you want to change vs your ideal situations.
Situations you want to change
- My job calls for a rigid schedule.
- My job is located in a faraway place.
- My job is uninteresting and boring.
- My job is full of office politics.
- I can’t get a promotion in this job.
Your ideal situations
- I want a job that has flexible hours.
- I want a job that is near my residence.
- I want a job that is exciting and balanced.
- I want a job that offers career advancement.
Ask yourself with these questions
- What are the things you’re good at?
- What are the tasks that are easy for you but others struggle with?
- What is your ideal team?
- What is your ideal workplace?
- What is your ideal relationship with a manager or another superior?
- What do other people say that you’re good at something?
- Where is your ideal workplace? Home, office or both?
- Do you want to work in a field or office or both?
- What type of work do you find interesting?
2. List career and job possibilities for your job
List all the possible opportunities for your next career and job. You could brainstorm specific jobs for each corresponding education or training background. Here you can differentiate what is a change in a career vs change in job.
A change in career
A call centre agent quits his/her job and enrolls in an engineering course.
A change in job
A call centre agent quits his/her job and applies in another call centre company for reasons such as higher salary, career opportunities, and change in residence.
Career possibilities of a career change
- Train for a new high paying job
- Answer a personal calling
- Helps you get out of your comfort zone
- Find new opportunities if you’re stuck in your current situation or job that offers no further career growth
- Make your peace of mind
- Increase your network
- Learn new skills/more skills
- Enhance your skills
- Avoid long-term unemployment
- Avoid long-term underemployment
- Avoid jobs that are threatened by advances in technology.
- Survive in the face of massive unemployment caused by the pandemic (COVID-19)
Questions to ask when listing possibilities
- What job do you find interesting? (a challenging, low-stress, fun, flexible, more career-growth)
- Do you want a career that involves helping others?
- What career or job that can match your lifestyle?
3. Research resources on a career change
The internet is a vast resource of career advice and tips on changing careers. You can also research ebooks online.
4. Research the economic demand of the industry
While you can choose any career regardless of its demand, thinking about the economic standing of a specific career or job can help you avoid the risk of being underemployed.
5. Future proof your career
Some jobs (especially those menial and require low-level cognitive skills) are vulnerable to automation and information technology. Invest in a career that needs higher thinking skills that can’t be easily replaced by improvements in tech. The loss of some jobs due to tech will result in the creation of new roles.