Whether you want to start a new career at 40, start a new career at 50, or just want to know how to do it with no experience, it is totally possible to switch careers and be a huge success.
In 2021, about 53% of workers made a career change or decided to start a new job. More and more people are asking themselves “How do I start a new career?”. The decision to change jobs is not an easy one and it requires much clarity and flexibility.
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I have spent the last two decades working my way up the ladder as a professional in human resources while writing on the side. That career has sustained my lifestyle and provided for me, so I am extremely grateful.
But there has always been something missing. I knew I wanted to do something to help people but wasn’t sure I was doing it in a way that made me happy and fulfilled. Deep in my heart, I knew there was something that was perfect for me out there.
Sometimes, the universe sends you a sign and if you pay attention, it can change your life. In 2013, my husband took me on a getaway to Seaside, Oregon, a three-hour drive from our home at the time.
While we were there, for fun, we both got psychic readings. When it was my turn, the woman was adamant that I am a writer and should be writing. She told me that if I started writing, it would make way for everything I wanted in life.
Although skeptical about the psychic’s vision, I was impressed that she knew about my love of writing. Despite my doubts her words resonated with me and I self-published my first book in 2016. Since then, I have published several more and moonlighted as an author, writer, and blogger.
This year, after yet another unfulfilling role with another company that seemed ‘different’ turned out to be the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, I decided to step out on faith and finally give writing full-time a chance. Since then, life has changed dramatically and in the best ways possible, so, I want to share the details of my career transition.
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Why do people choose to start a new career?
The most important thing to know about starting a new career is that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to be what you’ve dreamed of being. Change can be scary but there are times when it is absolutely necessary.
You found your purpose or your passion.
Sometimes, it just dawns on you that you have found your calling. You know what excites you and makes you feel passionate and purposeful. This is a clear sign that you need to start a new job, strike out on your own, or figure out how to start a new career.
The money just isn’t worth it.
If you feel overworked and underpaid, it might be time to do something that is worthy of your hard work and time. On the other hand, maybe you are well-compensated, but just can’t get into the work you’re doing. It’s time to put your passion over profits.
You need to be challenged.
Boredom is a telltale sign you are in the wrong field. If you have learned all of the ins and outs of your role and nothing about it lights you up anymore, you need to dig deep and find out what makes you feel challenged and enthusiastic. You have hit the glass ceiling and you can break it or live in your purpose.
You need more autonomy.
Some jobs require step-by-step instructions and have strict time constraints around how and when they get done. If this is not your cup of tea and you are struggling to stay within those boundaries, it could be time for a change. There are many careers that offer more autonomy and control over your schedule.
You need a cultural change.
According to a 2018 jobs report from Career Cast, there are certain fields that are considered the worst to work in, with issues like low pay, toxic work environment, and no work/life balance. If your profession is traumatizing you, find out what brings you peace and joy and figure out how to change it.
You need to gain experience.
There are people who know exactly what it is they want to do with the rest of their lives. The missing piece to the puzzle is gaining experience in their new field of choice. That is a perfect time to make a move and discover new opportunities.
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9 Steps You Need To Take To Start A New Career
Every person’s journey is different, but if you want to know how to start a new career with no experience at any age, some things are a must.
If you’ve asked yourself “What else can I do?” and received your answer, but have no idea where to start, This list of 10 steps you need to take to start a new career should help:
Get clear on what you want to do.
The most pertinent thing about changing careers is to have complete clarity on what you want to do. You should feel it deep inside of your soul. It should be something challenging, but rewarding that you would do, even if you weren’t being paid.
Be honest with yourself about your abilities.
Many things can be learned but before you set out on a learning path, you have to understand where your skills are at currently. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and write them down so you know what to work on.
Understand the financial impact.
If you switch careers or open your own business, there could be drastic financial changes in store. Be prepared with a savings to cover any shortfalls, if necessary. If that is not possible, you must create a budget and a plan for leaving your unrewarding job in pursuit of your life’s work.
Decide how you want to get paid to do what you love.
When we say ‘career change’ it can mean different things. You can be changing professions and employers, or you can start your very own business. There are benefits and challenges to both, so decide if you will work for others or be your own boss.
Learn new things to fill in any knowledge gaps.
What you choose to do next will require a different skill set and knowledge. You already know what you have. Research the skills required and create a learning path to gain any information you need to pursue your passion. Looking at job postings in your desired field can help determine what you are missing.
Now that you’ve taken inventory of your skills and filled the gaps, it’s time to try out your new field. Apply for jobs or send out proposals to prospective clients. Network with people already in the industry and leverage and learn from them whenever possible.
Be humble & open to new experiences.
Working your way toward the top of one field then deciding to go in a different direction can be jarring. You likely won’t get the same salary you had before when starting out. Read the room and set reasonable expectations. If you work hard and are passionate about your work, the money will come.
Stay curious & aware that you don’t know everything.
Doing what you love for a living doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aspire to be the very best at what you do. Know that there is always something new to learn. You can learn from anybody in the world, so be open-minded and accountable when you make a mistake.
Following your passion is still work. Treat it as such.
There will be days you don’t feel like working and times you want to give up. Loving what you do does not exclude you from exhaustion or burnout. Do what you must to be successful but remember that work/life balance and self-care should be first priority every single day.
Benefits of Starting A New Career
Since starting my full-time writing career, life has changed dramatically. I no longer wake up with a knot in the pit of my stomach, anxious about what the day may hold.
The autonomy offered by my new career affords me the time to take my kids to and from school and stay up late with my husband without feeling like I have to make a choice between my family and career.
But most importantly, I am doing what comes naturally to me and doing well at it. I have been more successful in my new full-time writing career than I ever could have imagined and strive to do even better. I feel good about the work I’m doing and feel like I am finally doing what I was created to do.