How to Recreate Your Career and Start Over
These five strategies put a career change into perspective to ensure a smooth transition and quality mental health.
Making a career change can seem all-encompassing. When you've spent a long enough duration at a company or in a particular field, change can not only feel like an impossible undertaking. It can be downright paralyzing. After all, you're now an expert in your industry. And it took years to get to that point. Now, continuing on that path isn't an option for one reason or another.
Whether it is a lack of fulfillment or a seemingly-impenetrable wall in advancement, or you've made a mistake that's landed you on a "do not hire" list, pressing forward in the same direction no longer makes sense. But, there's an enormous resistance tugging within you. You don't want to start over, yet, you're at an impasse.
I am at such a crossroads. For years I had pressed forward in a profession that's been more worry and heartache than satisfaction. Then through what I now relate to as a great miracle, I was forced to come to terms with challenges within myself that did not make such an excellent match for my work. In my case, mental illness wasn't adequately addressed and situated continually in toxic workplaces.
While I own the mistakes I made throughout my career, including fabricating accomplishments in its tail end to compensate for my lack of self-esteem, I have recently found that I never really enjoyed the work. It was the devil I knew. So, I stayed, I rose and I fell. And the fall was imminent.
Through opening myself to change, I've made some wonderful discoveries about where I can see myself in the future. Even though part of me doesn't want to start over, I know I'll have to have the career I like that fits in with the life I've earned. And, yes, I've been kicking and screaming like a juvenile for the most part. So, let me help you ease your mind when I say letting go is tough.
The good news? There are several upsides to this next chapter in your life.
A clean slate
When you begin anew, you're essentially resetting the clock. That means you get a fresh start in a new career with different players. It may take some time to get your bearings, but as a newcomer to the turf, you have the right to learn by trial and error. Chances are you're not going to be impeccable from the start, but that's okay. You allow yourself to leave the past and its baggage behind as you traverse these new growth experiences.
A chance to reprioritize
Sometimes when you've been at a job or in a particular field for so long, you forget about the passions you once held outside the work world. A change can help you reevaluate your life's trajectory. It's an ample opportunity to step outside the current you and think about your focus.
Whether that takes shape in the form of your next career move or making space for an objective in your personal time, you've been given a chance to reawaken something positive within you that's been lying dormant. That can be a massive win if you reprioritize before going into the next chapter of your life.
Expand your professional value
A new career will bring novel opportunities for professional education. Take advantage of the ins and outs of your new Industry to increase your value to a company. The more contextual information you're able to retain, the deeper your knowledge will become and the better poised you'll be to advance. If you approach your work enthusiastically, maybe this is your time to shine. Don't get hung up on the small stuff; take significant strides on the fast track of building your knowledge.
A benefit to your health
Physical well-being and mental health are essential, and we often neglect both when significantly invested in our careers. Starting over allows you to set the pace for a new livelihood. You must identify what aspects of your prior career infringed on your health (e.g., lack of support, overworking, wrong environment, lackluster gratification).
You need to understand the sources of your work-life stresses to avoid them in your next career. Perhaps this is the time to explore options you could see yourself enjoying for the long haul. Also, there's nothing wrong with dipping your toes in the water by first volunteering in the sector you're considering entering to get a sense of what a career might look like. No job is worth taking a toll on your welfare. Mindfully walking into a new profession and advocating for yourself will give you power.
You have done it before
You're no stranger to building a career. You've done it with some success, and you can do it again. As long as you are open with yourself about where your path is, you'll have less trouble moving forward. It will not all be roses, and you may not get where you want by when you want.
But recall, chances are that wasn't the case the first time. Now, you are not a stranger to career-related adversity. You've been in those trenches. And while the challenges may be different, there are interpersonal skills that you've developed that will be a great asset along the way. Navigating your path will seem familiar. The conversations you have today can resolve the tribulations of tomorrow.
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