It used to be that you went to college for a degree, entered into a career field, and worked for the same company for 30 to 40 years before stepping into retirement and accepting a pension. But times are different. The days of working for the same employer for your entire career are unheard of. In fact, most professionals now make at least one pivot in their careers. Is it time for you to make yours?
When Should You Switch?
If you’re tossing around the idea of switching careers, you should know that you aren’t alone. It’s a common thought among professionals – specifically those between the ages of 30 and 45.
Contemplating whether to switch fields? Here are some reasons you should:
- You didn’t choose your current career – you just sort of stumbled into it. In fact, your talents and skills don’t even align with the field you’re currently working in. You’re just doing it by default.
- Your mind is somewhere else. You spend all of your waking hours thinking about another job opportunity, industry, or pursuit. Your idle thoughts tell you where your passions lie. You’ll find more meaning and purpose by switching.
- You’ve reached a ceiling on how much you can earn in your current industry and you’d like the freedom to make more money.
- There’s been a significant change in your motivations or perspective, which means you’re no longer a good fit for the industry or job you’re in.
- You’re burned out. You feel like you have nothing left to give. The tank is empty and it’s time to move on.
What Should You Do?
Pivoting requires both a turning away and a turning to. You know what you’re turning away from, but what are you turning to? Perhaps you already have something specific in mind, but if not, here are some ideas:
- Real estate. All you have to do is take a few online real estate courses, pass a couple of exams, and you can begin practicing real estate. The field is highly competitive, but there’s unlimited income earning potential.
- Cybersecurity. Prefer something with more predictable pay and less “sales.” The cybersecurity industry is rapidly expanding and has a significant shortage of skilled professionals. You’ll need some extensive education and certification, but the long-term earning potential is certainly there.
- Freelance writing. If you’re creative and have a knack for writing, a freelance writing career can be very rewarding. The hours are flexible and you can work on your own terms. However, it can take a few years to build up a book of business that provides enough income to justify quitting your day job.
3 Tips for a Smooth Pivot
It’s one thing to say you want to pivot careers. But in order to do it successfully, you must move with precision and intentionality. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Get Clear on What You Want
It’s not enough to say you want a new job or career. If you haphazardly pivot into a random career based on an emotional decision or whim, you might find yourself in the same position three or four years from now. It’s important to get clear on what you want.
Are you looking for better pay? More flexibility? Opportunities for creativity? A chance to move to a specific locale? Get clear on your desire and you’ll discover the right opportunities.
2. Work Your Connections
If there’s ever a time to use your network to find opportunities, it’s now. Work your connections and use any leverage you have to get your foot into the door. You can save yourself years of climbing the ladder just by connecting with the right people.
3. Ease Into It
Unless you have a ton of cash in savings or a spouse who earns a healthy salary, you probably can’t quit your job cold turkey and start something new. The best approach is to ease into things. Not only does this help financially, but it also allows you to test the waters to make sure you’re really making a good decision.
Now’s the Time to Act
It’s easy to let time pass you by. You think you should pivot today, but then you spend months thinking about it, researching options, and weighing the pros and cons. Before you realize it, another year has passed and you’re still talking about it. At some point, you just have to do it. Is this your moment?