Do’s and Don’ts for Career Changers


Despite the fact that we’re expected to go straight from high school into a job or college, where we start a course of study in pursuit of a career, few people really know what they want to do when they are 18. The day-to-day reality of a particular job may not match what you imagined, or perhaps you realized you care more or less than you realized about making money, work-life balance or other factors and that it’s time for a change. Maybe you’re trapped in the corporate world with the sudden realization that you actually want to be a park ranger, or you work retail but you long to teach. It’s never too late to change your career and pursue your dreams.

Do Identify Your Dissatisfaction

The grass can look greener on the other side. Are you certain that it’s your job that you need to change? Perhaps you don’t need to leave your corporate career to become a park ranger if what you really want is just to spend more time hiking out in nature. The money you’re making could allow you to buy hiking equipment and take some great weekend trips on a whim without worrying about what it might cost you. If you have invested a lot of time in building a career, you will want to make sure that a new one will bring you the satisfaction you crave.

Don’t Reject Intracompany Changes

Sometimes you don’t need a whole new career. There may be opportunities for you to advance or change departments and pursue a different direction, particularly if you work for a larger company. You might even have the opportunity to work for an overseas branch if this is the type of change you’re craving. Some companies will offer a great deal of support in your career change, even paying some or all of the cost of courses, seminars or entire degree programs.

Do Your Research

One of the reasons it’s so hard to choose the right career when you’re fresh out of high school or college is because you have so little life experience. After a few years in the working world that’s no longer the case, and you should take advantage of that to find out as much as possible about your new career field, including what your daily duties will be, how much you can expect to be paid and what the job market is like.

Don’t Reject More Education

One of the main reasons some people may decide against a career change is because they are overwhelmed by the time and cost of retraining or going back to school. Keep in mind that you can apply for private student loans. The research and application process can be quick and easy online, and you can accommodate your work schedule by taking asynchronous online classes.

Do Embrace the New

It’s rare to make a big change without second-guessing yourself a few times, but if you’ve taken the steps suggested above, there’s no reason to think you’ve been foolhardy. Days when you struggle or feel trepidation are normal. Try to stay focused on your ultimate goal and keep yourself open to new ideas and experience even when they are intimidating.