Stuck in a career rut? Learn how to make a positive change for your career.
Did you wake up last night wondering how you could change your life? How you could get back to feeling motivated and part of a great team that stirred up the status quo and reinvigorated business? Is every moment of your life being taken up by emails, text requests or solving futile problems? Is your energy low? If so, you may be in the wrong role.
While every role has its ups and downs, ebbs and flows, the wrong role is like a gremlin that sits on your shoulder whispering, “This used to be fun!” We try to convince ourselves that staying is ‘doable’, especially when we need the money, but years pass with a gut feeling that says: “Is this all there is?” You stop believing in your ability to make things happen, you lose steam and, little by little, you become less valuable, not only to yourself but to your employer.
As a Career Consultant with Right Management for 16 years, I’ve met people that feel out-of-sorts and burned out. They’re wondering if it’s time to make a change. Often stuck, they can’t decide on what to do or how to get there. They worry about leaping from the frying pan to the fire, so they play it safe and return to their unrewarding role.
There is risk in changing careers, but many people are successful. So how do you ensure you’re not taking a foolish step? Let’s look at some success stories and see how these people relied on sound principles rather than luck to achieve their career transitions despite formidable challenges.
I coached a program manager who worked in high-tech for 30 years. After a personal tragedy, she became really motivated to transition into healthcare. Though very successful in her former industry, she had no direct experience in healthcare. She targeted her resume, but got no interest and became very discouraged. Today, she’s working for a major medical institution. How? What worked for her?
Another client, formerly out of capital equipment, invented a product to help cancer patients. But he was rejected for three years by venture capitalists because he lacked background in medical devices. He finally obtained funding and the product is now being tested and used at major hospitals in the US and Europe. Why was he able to succeed?
How bad do you want it?
The key to making it through tough times is desire. Motivation keeps you going during the blizzard of “no’s” and “closed doors” until you see a break. If you don’t have a strong desire for what you want, chances are you’ll give up. Be sure to take the pulse of your motivation. Is it something you really want?
We often encourage individuals to look at three areas when making a decision to change:
- Interests level: What do you like to do? What motivates you?
- Skill level: What are you really good at? Do you have the education to back it up?
- Market relevance: What’s hot in the market? What’s the income variable?
Considering these points carefully will greatly influence the potential for success. Determine where you stand financially. It’s important for you to know your run rate, how long can you last? Years ago, when I was threatened with a career change, I had to do a deep dive into my finances and look at my bottom-line needs. Once I knew I was going to be okay, I felt free to be creative and take a risk.
Your support systems
Who do you have on your support team: a spouse, friend or coach? Do you know people who can provide insight? My client who developed the medical device constantly reached out to experts and also had a strong advocate at home who was willing to ride the rough waves. The program manager teamed with her network and was able to generate 50 informational interviews within healthcare. In the end, they both succeeded.
Is the market on your side?
There are many great ideas out there, but is the market already saturated with competition? Guaranteeing you’re on the right path (“How to Choose a Career Path”) takes research. Use the web, articles, technical journals, resources that will help you gain insight. Make sure there’s good chance for success. The closer you can get to a choice with a solid combination of your interest, skills and market relevance the higher potential for success.
The examples I shared achieved their goals, but had to overcome challenges. There were times they wanted to give up. They continued to utilize their networks and support systems for encouragement. Change is possible for you as well, with the right motivation, support, and relevance to market needs.