By: Solange Lopes
Career transitions are hard. It’s not easy changing jobs, being relocated or jumping into a new career. It’s especially true when it affects our work. Considering we spend the majority of our time at work, change in our careers can be destabilizing.
Career transitions have always been challenging for me. I get attached to people and places. As a result, moving to a different job or career always takes a toll on me. Yet, I’ve come to understand that without career transitions, there is no career growth.
The reason why so many of us avoid career transitions is because we’re afraid of change. As a result, we stay stuck in jobs we hate, spending our precious time and energy on careers we loathe. We’re too afraid to go for the next job or take a leap of faith into the unknown.
Here are seven of the most prevalent myths that keep us away from career transitions, and keep us tuck:
Career transitions are too hard.
The #1 myth around career transitions is that they’re too difficult. We think it’s going to require too much time and energy to start at the bottom in a new career. Or to look for and get a different job. Or even to ask for that rise or promotion.
Yes, there is a level of effort and discomfort involved in undergoing any transition. Yet, the ROI on your effort might very well be rewarded with significant career advancement. Or you may just remain where you are, stuck…
What to do: Make peace with the fact that you may have to put in some work. Make a list of all the advantages that will come with your career transition. It may learning new skills, making more money, or finding fulfillment. Comparing the benefits with the costs will give you the courage to make a change.
It’s not the right time for a career transition.
In between your busy schedule, the kids’ calendar and the never-ending laundry, there are not enough hours in the day. Never mind trying to go through a career transition of any kind…
Life only gets busier as we go. There will never really be a right time for any type of change. The only way to know what will happen Is simply to get started.
What to do: Stop waiting and preparing to no end! Instead, start taking action towards achieving the transition you’ve been thinking about. Ask for the promotion or raise. Start looking for a job in your dream company. Start saving money to take the leap in your own business. Just start.
I don’t know the right people to make a career transition.
Many of us think we have to know the right people to get ahead. When we start thinking of career transitions, we also think about who can help us. Who can help you get that interview for the new job you’ve been eyeing for months? Who can you contact to mentor you to start your own business?
When making career transitions, networking is an important skill. Not knowing the right people stops so many of us from making the career switches we need to.
What to do: Not having all the right contacts should not stop you from starting your career transition. As a matter of fact, it’s the sheer act of starting your career transition that will get you closer to the people who can help you. Make an inventory of all the people in the career, department or company you plan to transition in, and start by following them on social media. Find out about networking events they attend, or common acquaintances you may have. Leverage these events and common contacts to reach out to them and gain more information about their field of work.
I don’t have the money to make a career transition.
Some career transitions can be expensive. When I decided to leave Big Corporate to start my own business, I had to make sure I had a financial cushion to support me during the shift. Moving to a different state or country to get the job of your dreams can also be costly, although your company can decide to pay for it.
Attending networking events, job searching, even improving your wardrobe can all be expenses you’ll incur when transitioning careers. Yet you should not let it stop you from finding and doing work you enjoy.
What to do: If you haven’t already, start aggressively saving! Make a budget and track all unnecessary expenses. Make an inventory of all the unneeded expenses you can save instead, and set a monthly savings objective.
What are people going to think about me?
One of the most common of our worries when effecting a career transition is people’s opinion. What will people think if you change careers? Or change jobs? Or transition to a new department or new company?
What to do: Make peace with the fact that your decisions may not please everyone. Instead, focus on your long-term vision and plans to make necessary changes. As a litmus test, simply ask yourself: “Will it matter in five years?” If the answer is no, then do not worry so much about it.
[Related: My Keys to Successful Career Transitions]
I don’t have all the skills required to make this career transition.
Did you know that men will go for a job they’re only 60% qualified for, while women will wait to be 100% qualified to apply for the same job? Not having all the skills required for a given job or career should not prevent you from making the transition. You can always acquire new skills, and gain more knowledge and experience over time. However, some missed opportunities are hard to re-create or come by again. Don’t let the appearance of missing skills keep you from a great career transition.
What to do: Evaluate the skills you have for the job, career, or whatever transition you’re planning to make. Refrain from focusing so much on what you don’t have. Instead, leverage the formal and informal capabilities you’ve acquired over time to make the best transition possible.
What if I fail?
The fear of failure keeps most of us from making career transitions that could otherwise be beneficial for us. Instead of planning for success, we tend to imagine all the possible negative scenarios. As a result, it keeps us from researching or even attempting any career transition at all.
What to do: Keep your eyes focused on the prize. Visualize positive outcomes, and see yourself successfully completing your career transition.
What would you add to this list?
Solange Lopes is an author, CPA and writer/blogger. She blogs about career and lifestyle for professional women in her blog The Corporate Sister. She’s passionate about writing and women’s issues.