The average person switches jobs approximately 12 times over their careers. It’s natural to resort to a bit of trial and error when it comes to finding a role and an organization which is the perfect fit for you. But most people question their career choices from time to time. If this is something that plagues you on a regular basis, then a career transition may be the breath of fresh air that you need! On average, most workers spend around 5 years in every job, and it’s only natural to get comfortable in a place you’ve been for a long time. But, there’s a fine line between comfort and complacency, if you’re feeling the latter, it may also be time for a change.
There are many reasons why people choose a career transition. It may be because it’s a job that they are simply not passionate about. Some people are in a field they love, but their individual preferences may not be in-line with the company or management. Some people may love both, the industry and the company, but may feel like trying a new role for themselves. Some may just want to leave because they feel like they’ve gained all the experience and knowledge they could and are now stagnating. Some people may love what they do, but may not fit into the structured organization, so they may prefer to freelance or work remotely. And for some, their day job just isn’t satisfying anymore because they want to become entrepreneurs and be their own boss.
Whatever the reason, making a smooth career transition is critically important because you don’t get this chance very often. So, if you’re ready to make a change in your career, these are the 5 career transitions that may help you to overcome those mid-career blues:
#1. Transitioning to a New Field
This is a complex career transition and requires a lot of reflection and introspection before you take the leap. When you transition into a new field, you have to start from scratch, but don’t let that scare you. If it’s a change you need, then it’s always there if you plan for it. The best way to go about this transition is to do your research, see if this is a lucrative space to get into and if it’s right for you. After this, you may need to acquire a specialized skill-set. For this, there are plenty of online and classroom courses that will help you gain the skills you need to make the switch. If you are still not sure but would like to test the waters, then apply for an internship. Spending a month in the field without making a long-term commitment will help you understand and gauge if the field, work culture and work itself is right for you. If everything falls into place, then don’t be afraid to make the switch! In this dynamic age, there is no age barrier to switching industries, as long as you have the skills and passion to back it up.
#2. Transitioning to a New Role Within the Same Field
Another common career transition is to explore a new role within your field. It’s only natural to get bored of doing the same thing time and again every day. It’s common for people to feel saturated mid-careers. And this drives the realization that it’s time to make a switch to a new role within the field. An example of this would be a technical field service professional exploring a client-facing sales or pre-sales role within the same field, or even organization. Honestly, this is one of the easier transitions. And if you are looking to make the transition in the same company, then you may have a significant advantage already. The advantage would be the management would already know you and your work ethic, and you would have access to proper training and would be able to rely on your friends, peers, and colleagues to guide you.
#3. Moving to Greener Pastures
The harsh truth is that sometimes, you’re just in a dead-end job. You may feel like your growth has stagnated and that you’re going nowhere, career-wise. In these cases, it’s best to simply move on. At the end of the day you must do what’s best for you, and if the job is no longer giving you the fulfillment you need, then there’s no point sticking on. This is the most straightforward transition, all you have to do is research. Look for companies which seem exciting, maybe even switch to a more senior role in a startup. Startups are always looking for senior, experienced talent and you may be the valuable, seasoned asset that they’ve been seeking.
Another factor to consider is mental fatigue. If you feel like you love what you do, but have squeezed all you can from the industry, or maybe the industry just doesn’t excite you anymore, you can move on to another industry, working within the same role. For example, if you’re a graphic designer working with a design agency and you feel like you’ve plateaued, then maybe switching to an end-user company may help. While logo design may be a fun challenge, designing the look and feel of a new product for an exciting new startup may give you just what you’re looking for.
#4. Working Remotely
The corporate structure may be efficient for some, giving them the structure and organization, they need, but for some, it just doesn’t work. Some people may be talented and gifted but may lack the social skills to really perform in a team. Some people are dynamic and love to work with people and some prefer space to think and work efficiently. If you belong to the latter group of people, then working remotely may be what might work best for you. Mid-career is a great time to work remotely because you would have built up a strong portfolio over time, and companies would be willing to let you take on projects, based on your past work. While this switch may seem scary early in your career, it’s easier to pull off once you have some experience. It also depends on the field you’re in. For example, people in creative or tech fields such as design, coding, programming or writing will be able to find specialist individual contributor roles fairly easily.
#5. Following Your Heart
We saved the most exciting career transition for last! If you’ve had an idea that’s executable, and are confident that you can raise the resources, then take that leap of faith and embrace your entrepreneurial spirit! Mid-career is a good time to take a risk because you have the experience and a base. This is, of course, a bold move and you’ve got to be sure of yourself and your commitment to entrepreneurship. Times could be hard and cash-flows tight -those mortgages won’t pay themselves. But it helps to start with a plan B in mind too. In the worst-case scenario, you always try to shift back to the workforce. If you want to start up, do your research, start networking and align yourself with your goals and vision. The world is your oyster if you can set aside your fears.
Given that we spend so much of our lives at the workplace, it is of utmost importance that the place you choose not only provides for you, but also makes you feel fulfilled. While there’s no need to romanticize a paycheck, it is very important to love what you do. If not, it will be hard to find the motivation to spend so much time there. The good news is, there are few dead-ends -mid-career transitions are possible and varied. The question is, what way will you go?