One of the worst feelings is when you think you picked the wrong career path. It may be years after you have started working when you discover you are in a field that you do not like or no longer suits your needs. A midlife career change may even be necessary if your chosen industry is now considered obsolete.
Feeling like you are in the wrong career is difficult to process, especially when you think about how much time and effort went into starting your career in the first place. If you are like many employees, you may have convinced yourself that you have no choice but to stay in the wrong career because it takes too much time and effort to transition into a new career. However, it is not uncommon to consider a job search in a new industry if you feel as though you picked the wrong one.
How to Tell If You Need a Career Change
You may consider checking job search sites if you wake up most days feeling unmotivated and unhappy at the thought of going to work. However, it does not necessarily mean you are in the wrong career. The daily grind can be frustrating for everyone at times, especially if you are working on a stressful project or are preparing a presentation.
If you are unsure of whether your chosen career is wrong, there are a couple of warning signs to look out for. A job change should be considered if you are feeling a mixture of desperation and panic regularly. Here are some other telltale signs you chose the wrong career path:
• Lack of energy – Do you find your energy is depleted after every day of work, or are you finding your daily work to be tedious? If the thought of work drains you even on your days off, then it might be an indication that your chosen career path no longer works for you and a career change is necessary for your mental well being. This can be especially true if you are experiencing the doldrums so much that your negative mindset is affecting other areas of your life, such as your relationships with your family and friends.
• Feeling apathetic – Everyone has days when their heart is not in their work, but if this is happening daily, you may have chosen the wrong career. First, see if the problem can be remedied. A few good nights’ sleep may make all the difference, as could exorcising your feelings by talking through the issues with a friend. If these do not make any difference and you continue experiencing apathy towards your work and feel as though you are operating on auto-pilot, then it is a sign a career change is needed.
• Feeling jealous – Do you find yourself often thinking about friends who are working in careers they love and do you feel resentful of them? If so, this means you are not happy with your work. Feeling bitterness about someone else’s success can indicate you made the wrong career choice.
Once you have determined whether your career path is the problem, you can take the necessary steps to find a better career. However, before looking at some of the best job search websites for a new position, you should take steps to make you a stronger candidate.
1. Find Out What You Like Before Using Job Search Engines
The idea of a career change at 40 or older may seem daunting if you have arrived at the conclusion you are in the wrong industry. However, being an older worker puts you in a more advantageous position than when you were first selecting a career. At this point, you may have recognized aspects of your current job that you like and dislike.
Even if you are considering a career change at 30 or younger, it is never too soon or too late to pursue a job you enjoy. While you may not have as much experience as an older worker, you can still look at other parts of your life to determine work-related factors you enjoy. For instance, if you are constantly the leader in your group of friends, you may enjoy working in a management or supervisory position.
Related Article: Things to Know When Considering a Career Change
You should also need to consider why you do not enjoy your current work and how a career change can help. Otherwise, you risk ending up unhappy in your next career. Too often, it is a case of “the grass is always greener.” You may think embarking upon a different career solves all your problems, only to find a couple of years down the line, you are just as depressed in your new line of work.
Before making a midlife career change blindly, make a list of the parts of your job or lifestyle you like as well as a list of things you do not enjoy. Likewise, consider what is important for you to accept a potential job. For instance, your list may include:
• Job security.
• Being at a company that shares your values.
2. Going Back to School for a Career Change
If you are considering switching careers, it is often beneficial to return to school. A professional degree in a specific area of study can open up career opportunities. It can be expensive and time-consuming to take a few years out of your life to return to education, so it is not for everyone. However, if you have your mindset on learning new skills for a new sector, whether it be medicine, media or bricklaying, going back to school sets you on the path of obtaining a job in your area of interest.
Some job changes may not require too much additional training. For instance, if you want to change healthcare jobs by pursuing a nursing degree after working as a nursing assistant, you may have already taken a few of the courses needed.
3. Think About Your Strengths and Weaknesses for an Immediate Job Search
If you cannot take time for additional school, then take the time to analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Understand your unique values so you can make the right choice in selecting a new job. Training may not be needed for a career change if your job skills are transferable for a different position. The following are considered transferable skills for many jobs:
• Written and verbal communication
• Research and analytical skills
4. Gain Experience at a Job Before Deciding on a Career Change
You may have decided an area of interest is the perfect career change for you, but if you have no experience in the sector, you do not know how much you actually enjoy it until you are doing it. Look at working on the side of your current job, so you can be more informed as to whether your new midlife career change really is for you after all.
This could be obtaining weekend or part-time work, doing voluntary work or joining a work experience program in your favored industry. Gaining experience not only helps you make the right decision, but it also gives you a resume booster once you are ready to apply for your new career.
Related Article: Practical Tips for a Successful Career Change