How to change career (without leaving your job)!

change not same oldAre you really fed up with your job but the thought of leaving it to do something different is WAY too scary?

The good news is that you’re not alone! There are dozens of people just like you who would love to change career, but something is holding them back.

I know, because I’ve been there. Ten years ago I realised that the job I’d loved was no longer motivating me. It took me TEN years to decide to leave that job!

What’s keeping you stuck in a place you no longer enjoy, or that doesn’t motivate and energise you?

FEAR is the number one issue for most of us. It shows up in lots of different guises.

  • Fear of failing – what if you try something new and it doesn’t work?
  • Fear of not making money – what if you can’t earn enough to live on?
  • Fear of what others will say – what if they criticise or ridicule your decision?
  • Fear of other people’s fear – what if your family (spouse, partner, children, parent) are really worried about the impact that you leaving your job will have?

Wouldn’t it be great to explore a new direction without having to feed the FEAR monster? Imagine how it would feel to step out into that new land of enjoyment and fulfilment without carrying that burden.

The very good news is:

There are lots of ways to explore the work you’d like to do without initially taking that big step of leaving your current job

Volunteer. So many charities and organisations are desperate for help. Choose a charity or other not for profit organisation that operates in a field in which you are interested. If you want to start a cookery business or retrain as a chef then go and help in a kitchen. If you want to work in the music industry offer your help at a local concert hall or theatre. If you want to indulge your passion for history volunteer at a local museum or heritage site.

Mentor. If you aren’t sure what you want to do next, think about the skills you have and how these could be applied in a different situation. Then try offering your services as a mentor to a less experienced individual in your chosen field. Seek that mentee out on Twitter or the blogs and internet sites for that kind of work.

Shadow. If you have a sense of what you’d like to do but want to put a toe in the water without committing fully, find an organisation that does it. Then contact their HR team or individual (or the boss if it’s a smaller organisation) and ask if you can shadow someone who does the job you’d like to do. Take a week’s holiday to do this or if you currently work part-time, maybe you could do it one day a week for an agreed period.

Retrain. Maybe you need new skills for the work you’d love to do. Find out what courses are available. There are so many options these days from online courses to evening and weekend in-person courses, where you can study alongside your existing job.

Start your own business in your spare time. Lots of people have started businesses in the “5-9” slot after a day at work. If it’s a product based business you could start by selling on Ebay, Etsy or other online stores designed for work at home businesses. If it’s a service-based business then use Twitter and local websites such as Streetlife to promote your wares – and depending on whether it is aimed at individuals or businesses you could contact local business or put flyers in local coffee shops.

When you are ready to take a bolder step, and cut down the time you spend in your current role:

Take a sabbatical. Many organisations will now give 3, 6 or even 12 months unpaid leave for those who want to take a break and go off to explore something new. Just make sure that you read the small print of the terms on which these are offered in case they prohibit you from doing other paid work. It’s more common for them to simply prevent you from doing equivalent work. Then once you’ve got your sabbatical you can go all out on developing your new career for a few months.

Go part-time. The number of organisations embracing part-time work is growing all the time. Don’t be afraid to ask! If part-time isn’t an option then maybe flexible working is – compressing a working week into 4 days, or working one or two days from home so that you cut down on your commute and have that time to spend on pursuing your dream job.

Become an intern. These jobs, which are generally unpaid apart from expenses, aren’t just for school and college leavers. Many organisations are delighted to welcome more mature applicants – we are typically more stable, more reliable and have more life skills to draw on!

Form an alliance. If you want to launch a business, or step up an existing one to the next level, think about whether there is an obvious fit with another type of product or service; search that out locally and then suggest a link up, so that you can work together, support and encourage each other and together drive forward more powerfully than you would alone.

I would love to hear what you are longing to do next. What’s the one small step towards it is that you can commit to do in the next few weeks?

Let me know in the comments below, and sign up alongside to receive my regular blogs and occasional hints, tips and other news.

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