Work is about much more than just satisfying your financial needs.

Many people stay in a job they hate for precisely this reason. This is something you are going to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for roughly 45 years.

Do you really want to be miserable for that length of time?

You should look forward to spending time going in there and if you find yourselves feeling ill at the thoughts of it on a Sunday evening, then it’s time to start asking yourself some questions.

This guide will bring you through everything you need to know about successfully changing careers and the steps you need to take to land your dream job.

It’s Time to Start Being Honest With Yourself

Are you only getting to use a part of your skill set? Were you initially told that you’d be in a job that presented a range of challenges but found yourself being pigeonholed as the years went by? This is one of the biggest reasons people start to get frustrated by their careers, they feel like each day is a repetition of the last and they’re not being challenged.

Ask yourself if you’re getting the chance to use all of your skills and if you’re being presented with opportunities to grow your skill set further. You should be answering yes to both of these!

Building on the first point of feeling challenged, really look at the level of new and exciting projects you’re getting to work on. Have you suggested ideas only to have them knocked down? Are processes a non-negotiable subject in the workplace? Being challenged and encouraged to use initiative is one of the main motivating factors for an employee. Not having those basic needs met leads to demotivation and a feeling of frustration.

Ask yourself what, if anything, motivates you about your current job. You should have a number of motivational factors in a job you enjoy.

Being challenged and encouraged to use initiative is one of the main motivating factors for an employee. Not having those basic needs met leads to de-motivation and a feeling of frustration. Ask yourself what, if anything, motivates you about your current job. You should have a number of motivational factors in a job you enjoy.

Do you feel like people would even notice if you didn’t turn up? Are you valued as an employee?

It’s easy to feel like just another cog in a very large corporate wheel but in reality, you should be feeling like you make a large contribution to the overall success of the company. Good managers and leaders urge their employees to feel this way. However, if you’re stuck in a place where you’re expected to keep your head down and just get on with it, you’re not going to feel appreciated at all.

Are you valued as an employee?

However, if you’re stuck in a place where you’re expected to keep your head down and just get on with it, you’re not going to feel appreciated at all.

Do you have friends around the office or do you grit your teeth when you’re forced to spend time with anyone there? Office politics are overwhelming at times, particularly if there’s an air of negativity about the place. If you feel alone in your workplace then that’s a huge contributing factor to feeling unfulfilled. You should have at least two people you get on well with in the office, preferably more.

You should have at least two people you get on well with in the office, preferably more.

Does the company encourage upskilling and learning? All good companies offer their employees the opportunity to grow through training and education. If you’re not getting this then it’s easy to feel stagnant. Of course, you’ll be taking a part of this on yourself, but a company that doesn’t help and encourage this is not a good company to work for in the long term.

Are You Happy to Sacrifice Your Health for a Paycheck?

Most of us are guilty of having stayed in a job, way past the point where we should have considered moving on. However, staying too long can actually affect your health. The scary part is that people can get so used to feeling bad that they start to think it’s normal.

Stress and worry from being in a job where you don’t feel happy can affect your physical health. You may notice your skin getting blemished, significant weight loss or gain, no energy or a myriad of other stress-related symptoms. Your work should never affect your health and you need to listen to your body in this case and decrease the amount of pressure it is facing.

Your work should never affect your health and you need to listen to your body in this case and decrease the amount of pressure it is facing.

Taking your work home with you can make you irritable with the people that surround you. They might even comment on it, or you might notice that even the small things are making you react in a more aggressive manner than usual. You need a career you can leave at the office as you walk out the door. If this isn’t possible, then you at least need a job that you love so it doesn’t occupy your thoughts or time in a destructive way.

You need a career you can leave at the office as you walk out the door. If this isn’t possible, then you at least need a job that you love so it doesn’t occupy your thoughts or time in a destructive way.

Sadness drains energy and in extreme cases can lead to temporary depression. This will present itself by feeling like you just can’t get enough sleep. You’ll get to the afternoon and feel like you could take a nap right there at your desk. This type of fatigue is a major indicator that something is not right. The mind is a powerful thing and there’s only so much it can take before it decides it doesn’t want to cooperate anymore.

The mind is a powerful thing and there’s only so much it can take before it decides it doesn’t want to cooperate anymore.

Your health is more important than any job and it’s important to remember this. It’s not worth feeling terrible for a paycheck. Especially when, with a bit of work, you could be spending your days doing something that you love.

Get Ready to Make the Change

We’ve established that you’re not happy in your current job. Now we need to find what it is that you really want to do.

If you’re still making excuses to stay in your current job while being unhappy, then it’s time to look at some hard truths.

Is it because you’re afraid to move and lose out on the monetary package you’ve built up for yourself? Are you afraid you’ve left it too late and you won’t find a door into doing something you actually enjoy?

They’re not reasons. They’re excuses.

People make career changes all the time and what it really comes down to is how much you want it, and if you’re willing to chase after it with enthusiasm. It’s never too late to begin a career doing something you love. All you need is to find your perfect career and make a plan on how to get there.

What Would You Do Every Day For No Money?

So, now we’re all on the same page, we’ll start with some questions that’ll really help you to discover your dream job.

First of all, you need to name your top 5 interests.

What do you enjoy spending your time doing?

What do you look forward to?

Whether it’s cooking, gardening, reading history books, travelling etc. Just list 5 things you really enjoy and look forward to spending time on.

Now, this is an important question. If you had to do one of the activities on the list you wrote before, every day for the rest of your working life – for no money, what would it be? This allows you to find your real passion, not influenced by potential monetary rewards – just the thing you love doing the most.

Now you have identified your passion, it’s time to find what your dream job will be in that sector. To start off you’re going to do some research to see what specific job types are available in that area. Let’s invent an example here to get through the rest of these questions.

Say hello to Peter!

Peter is a 38-year-old Recruiter that hates his job. He did the previous task and identified that history was his main passion. He loves nothing more than:

  • Visiting museums
  • Reading books
  • Watching documentaries
  • Collecting artefacts and antiques etc.
  • Travelling, as much as he can, to visit ancient landmarks.

To complete this step, Peter lists 10 jobs relating to the history sector. These include:

  • Archaeologist
  • History Teacher
  • Antique Collector
  • Museum Curator
  • History Author
  • Ancient Anthropologist
  • Researcher
  • Palaeontologist
  • Documentary Maker
  • Heritage Manager

Ok, so Peter has identified ten potential jobs centred on his passion and now it’s time to narrow it down to his dream job. This is going to come down to some more research, instinct, and combining the other interests he previously identified.

Travel was also listed as one of Peter’s main interests so archaeology would work well. He also loves watching history documentaries and is pretty sure he could make some awesome ones of his own. He also pores over books, so a researcher might be ideal as well. We’re looking for a combination of what a person is drawn to the most, matches the most interests, and what activities involved in each job are the most exciting.

Peter decides that his dream job is an Archaeologist. The thoughts of being cooped up all day don’t appeal to him so combining his love of History with his love of travel is the perfect career for him. When you’re at this stage, don’t think about how hard or easy it is to start a career just yet, just discover your dream job.

Peter is ecstatic that he’s just found his ideal career! The job that he’ll love going into every day! That’s an awesome feeling and something that a lot of people never get to discover. His enthusiasm diminishes a little as he thinks about his lack of experience but it’s essential not to let that put him off.

What he needs is more research and a plan. Peter starts by researching the current jobs available and what they’re looking for. It turns out that a degree in archaeology will greatly enhance his chances of finding employment. His heart sinks a little as he realises that if he goes back to school he’ll be 42 by the time he’s got his degree. Well there’s one piece of advice I would give to Peter

If you don’t study now, you’ll still turn 42 – but without the degree and still working in a job you hate.

This is an essential thing to keep in mind. There will be plenty of little excuses that your fear will make to try to talk you out of this. You’ve identified the job that’s going to make you happy. Now it’s time to go and get it. After more research. Peter identifies a degree he can take part-time and finish in 4 years. It’s from a great college and there will be an option to specialise in his last year if he likes. They also offer a placement scheme in his last year that will let him travel to study on an actual archaeological dig. This experience will be great when he’s looking for an entry-level job after graduation.

It’s always essential to network, at any stage of your career. It’s particularly important at the start when you’re trying to open doors for yourself. Even though Peter will be studying for the next few years, it’s never too early to start building a network and immersing yourself in the industry.

Peter jumps on LinkedIn (Check out our guide on setting up a LinkedIn profile here) and starts connecting with people in the archaeology sector. He sends brief introductions and follows influencers. He also makes it his business to check out professional bodies and join up with them too. When there are events on, Peter makes sure to attend. Networking is better in person and he’s building valuable connections for his future career.

As Peter is changing career a little later in the game, it’s important to find activities outside of education that’ll boost his résumé and network. There’s a local museum not too far from him and Peter offers to volunteer if ever they need it. He’s taken up on the offer and gets to spend one day a week helping out in the museum. It’s great experience and shows him that he’s passionate about the area.

It’s all voluntary at the moment but who knows what can happen? This could potentially turn into a paying job he can switch to while finishing his studies. On top of this, at the start of exhibits he’s meeting some leading names in the field. He’s happy and can’t wait to finish his studies to get started on his new dream career!

Now, I know history isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but the methods will work for you, whatever your dream career may be.

Remember, it may seem daunting to change, but most people who do this will agree that the rewards more than make up for it.

If you’re unfulfilled in your career, there’s never a better time to move into what you’re supposed to do, than right now!

How to Successfully Change Careers: Infographic

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