What do you want to be when you grow up (insert your name here)?
How many of you remember being asked this question about 3,485,308 times growing up! If you’re anything like me, you heard this question a lot! From family members, friends, teachers, and even strangers! Did it annoy you or put pressure on you? For me, I was annoyed and pressured.
So, what was your answer? Like most kids you probably gave the typical answers;
What happens next?
The list goes on and on. The standard answers seem to satisfy whoever is asking. If it doesn’t, what happens next? For most young children, parents and family members step in to save the day and provide an answer that THEY find acceptable. This pattern often continues into adulthood and next thing you know you find yourself in your mid-40s, unfulfilled, unhappy, sometimes resentful, and often lost.
You begin to think to yourself;
“I’m too old to try anything new”
“I wasted my life doing something I hated”
“It’s too late to start over”
“I don’t even know what else I want to do”
Where do we go from here?
First, let’s take a deep breath. You are not alone. You are not the only person in this position. Most importantly, you’re never too old, too young, or too deep in, to make a change.
You deserve to be happy at work. You deserve to live a fulfilling life. You deserve to make decisions that will ultimately benefit you!
It’s time to take action!
So, where do you start when you want to make a career change, in the middle of your career?
If you’re coming to me, I will make you answer the following questions (after all, we need to tackle the past before we get to the future).
- How did you end up here?
- What did you really want to be? Don’t worry, no one is listening, but me!
- What do you want to be now?
- Why? What was your inspiration
- Are you ready to take any steps necessary to get there?
Once you have solid answers to these questions, you’re ready to make a move! Outside of the medical and legal profession, most positions will most likely incorporate some aspect of what you’re doing now, which will allow you to rely on showcasing your transferable skills and looking for opportunities to gain ones that you do not already have.
Here is your roadmap for making the pivot.
Research, Research, Research: learn EVERYTHING you can about the position that you want. The more knowledge you have the better. Learn about skills, traits, and competencies that most companies require to be considered for the position.
Write down the things you like about your current job and things you hate about your current job. Think about culture, pay, benefits, location, etc. Determine what your negotiables and non-negotiables are! Is the pay comparable to what you’re currently making? Can you take a cut? Are you willing to? Are you willing to relocate?
Write down what skills you currently possess. Learn the lingo of the new industry, you may have transferable skills that need to be articulated to fit the description of the new role.
If you’re afraid of changing companies, find out if there is anyone there doing the position you’re interested in. Can you shadow them? Can you work on a project with them? Is your company willing to create a similar role?
Find companies that align with your interest and hire for the role you want. Begin following their social media channels and interacting with staff if possible (connect on LinkedIn!)
Use your network! Reach out to previous colleagues, family members, and friends, to let them know you’re in the market. Tell them specifically what you’re looking for. This step takes a lot of self-confidence, simply because people close to you may not agree with what you’re doing. You are going to have to stay true to what you want. Although they may have some hesitations, you never know who they may know (and that person may be able to help).
My final bit of advice, take action! If you’re in a role that no longer fulfills you (or never did), bored, or defeated, get up and decide that TODAY you are re-writing your story. You’re not writing it for your mom, your dad, your friends, or colleagues… you’re writing this for YOU! And this time, your answer will be the TRUTH!
So, can I ask you, “what do you want to be, now that you’re grown up?”