Sometimes, your career path doesn’t end up exactly as you expected it would be. What seemed like a great career option when you started out may not seem so good at the moment.
Worst case scenario, it could have turned into a career you hate. It happens. Jobs change, people change, life circumstances change, and what was once a promising career can turn into one that’s not.
What You Can Do When You Hate Your Career
One important thing to keep in mind is that it’s never too late to change careers. Depending on what you’re doing it might take some time and effort, but it can be done. Here are just a few examples of people who have successfully changed careers:
Kristin worked as a buyer for a major retailer. She transitioned into teaching yoga by cutting back her first job to part-time until she could afford to leave it altogether.
Jack started out as a software consultant but moved into app development by taking classes online.
Jenn transitioned from a career as an English teacher to working as a content and social media strategist.
Penelope went back to school mid-life to get a Master’s degree so she could leave her job in Human Resources to work as a college career counselor.
Explore Career Alternatives
When you’re at the point where you just don’t want to get up and go to work, consider the alternatives. What else could you be doing that would make you happier at work? Options will vary based on the type of work you do, your aptitudes and the stage of your career.
The first, and most important, step is to decide what it is you want to do. There are free online career quizzes you can take to explore options. If you’re a college grad, your career or alumni office may be able to help with career counseling and exploration. Hiring a career coach is another option for help in getting started on a new career. Here are tips for choosing a career coach or counselor.
Options for Changing Careers
Quit your job. The most drastic option is, of course, quitting your job. That’s risky though, especially if you don’t have the skills to get hired to do something different. The sensible alternative is to take the time to figure out how you can shift your career focus. However, if you really and truly hate your job, see if you can figure out how to make ends meet with other income sources. Before you hand in your notice, check out these tips to be sure you’re prepared to quit your job.
Keep your job while you upgrade your skills. Take classes online or in-person to get the skill set you needed to start a new career. Dedicate the time you need to get the credentials that are required for the career you’re interested in.
Work two jobs. It’s challenging from a time perspective, but the more experience you have, the better chance you’ll have of shifting careers. Consider an entry-level, part-time job or internship (even unpaid) to gain skills that will increase your hireability.
Cut back your hours at your first job. If your employer is flexible, consider cutting back your hours while you start working in your chosen career. It can take some juggling, but it can pave the way for a smooth transition.
Consider freelancing. Starting out as a freelancer is a good way to try out a new career option without making a full-time commitment. Here are tips for turning freelancing into a career.
Volunteer. Volunteering is another great way to gain new skills. It helps you make new connections who can provide information and advice on how to switch careers. You may even be able to convert your volunteer position to a job.
Go back to school. Going back to school and starting over may be the only option when your new career choice requires a degree and education that you don’t have. Carefully check out your potential earnings before you take on student loans, and consider what’s the best and most cost-effective way to get the skills you need. Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before going back to school.
Taking the Leap
It takes some courage to make a change, but if you’re not happy at work consider how many hours of your life you’re spending at a job you’re not thrilled with. Even if it means less money, hard work, and sometimes a struggle, a new career will pay off in the end.
The hardest part can be making the decision to do it. Once you get started, it will be an exciting new venture for the next phase of your working life!