Changing careers might be one of the hardest tasks to undertake because it is such a psychologically and socially complex task to achieve. Not only do you need to be clear on what you want but you also need to shift the way others perceive you.
Most of us fell into a career without much intent. This is not a criticism, it is an observation.
It happens like this: after college you embark on this impossible journey to compete with every other inexperienced person for roles that pretend to have qualifiers or requirements but, really, they can mostly be done by anyone regardless of what you studied in school.
Then, as you try to navigate the corporate world, promotions, higher pay, increasing responsibility and finding the challenges you need… you will often find the easiest way to get a new and better job is to stay in that career path that was, in many ways, chosen for you by recruiters and hiring managers.
It takes a whole lot of personal courage to try to change course and career paths. It takes work, it takes guidance and it takes patience.
And, perhaps the most critical part, is that it takes a complete re-phrasing of the roles you play in society and the corporate world.
This is a concept that is trending lately, or maybe just in my age bracket! But, there is this concept of us always trying to adhere to the “roles” that have been placed on us by society and ourselves.
To illustrate this, if you have always been the “academic one” and you have an untapped creative need that you ignore but is firmly planted in your dreams every night…. That is an example of you fitting into the roles that you’ve been assigned, and, potentially, ignoring your gift or what could be a really cool hobby.
Not every passion will be a career and that is ok!
In my case, my entire life I wanted to be a dancer but my parents just couldn’t get onboard with that idea and made sure I never took a dance class. So, in my 20’s… once I could afford it, dancing became my biggest hobby.
Another example is that I genuinely never wanted to be, nor did I see myself as an “entrepreneur” but I did know that I had things I wanted to do that broke the mold of traditional corporate services and so I set out to do that. But, in order to really fulfill my own goals, I wanted to continue working and coach as a “side hustle” or “passion project”. For me, this allowed myself to give myself more fully as a coach to each and every one of my clients and followers.
I firmly believe that you can do and be anything you want! We can each craft our own best lives!
I still don’t call myself an entrepreneur! In fact, I am much more comfortable calling myself a consultant because that is a role that I took on for the last 13 years and I have given it my own connotation of who that makes me at work, with my clients, in my delivery and even in my private coaching practice.
Why does all of this matter?
Well, shifting careers is much harder the longer you’ve been in the workforce. Once you have a solid amount of experience and notoriety in your field it is harder for others to see you differently.
As an HR consultant, I never really had to think too much about how to introduce myself and what I wanted to do. It was a non-issue! Now that I am exploring moving into different positions and job types, I am seeing how much harder it is for others to see me in different roles.
The role & the responsibilities are actually no different than what I did when I managed $20M dollar projects (yes, million), but I find my intentions being questioned much more often… Sometimes by those genuinely curious and excited to meet someone with complex ambitions, and other times by those anxious to disprove my experience.
Both are OK!
I have always preached that the job search process is a 2-way street. You want to know who is excited to work with you and who is anxious to disprove you…. And if they are unafraid to show you that during the interview… that is the best answer you can get.
Ultimately, both responses reflect how well you are doing in re-crafting your story.
Anyone who has been a client or follower of mine knows that I define “your story” as the way you frame your past experiences, skills, and talents to define why this next step is exactly the right one right now.
In the end: each one of us is in charge of our life and how much we get from it.
Are you pursuing your career goals? Or, are you settling because the roles you are playing are easier to keep than to change?
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