If thinking about a career switch gives you anxiety and feelings of self-doubt, you’re not alone. Moving out of your comfort zones can be undeniably scary, disruptive, and nerve wrecking. But Monster.com’s #IMadeTheSwitch campaign found that 87% of Malaysians would consider a job outside of the field they studied, with 45% citing a better salary and financial stability as the key reason to switch career paths. It’s understandable to be afraid, but not when you let those fears keep you from following a path that might make your life better in many ways, personally and professionally. Don’t let fear derail you – here’s how you can get started if you’re contemplating a career change:
Most importantly, you need to know yourself. As we mature or reach different stages of our lives, our needs and desires change. So, what may have been important to you when you were studying or when you first started out in your career, might not be on your list of priorities anymore.
Taking the time to make a list and evaluate your likes and dislikes, pros vs cons in your current career is a great place to start. Ask yourself questions like what led you into this career, what is missing from your current job and what sort of job excites and better suits you. By having a clear understanding of what you like and don’t like about your current situation and job role will allow you to be more confident when considering options for other career possibilities.
Arming yourself with as much information as possible about the new industry you are considering, the roles available, and the skills, training or certification needed, you will feel more confident about making a career transition. When you gather all the facts, you remove that fear of the unknown and will be better prepared to make an informed decision about your professional future.
Prepare to change your mindset and view rejection or failure as nothing more than a part of the learning process. Being rejected or failing is sometimes the best reminder and motivator, even if it’s painful and frustrating at times. When facing a career switch, think about what coping strategies you might need to ensure you can manage the change effectively. Think about the ‘worst case scenario’ might be for you, and create an action plan for how you would handle this if it arises. You should also be devoting some time to getting prepared to make your move such as putting a financial plan together. This way, you’re not panicked if the change takes a little longer than expected.
Get external support
If you are trying to decide or are working through a career change alone, it can send your fear into overdrive and make the entire process more difficult. Seek the support of friends and family for encouragement and integrate them into the process by sharing your lists to seek opinions and advice. Be open to constructive criticism. The ability to take onboard fair criticism of your new career venture is a necessity for anyone who is attempting something new. You could also get expert support such as career coaches to identify your blocks, and work out how to overcome them and thoroughly think through your career change.