As a creative and communications enthusiast, Ursula knew that the overalls she wore hopping on vessels to inspect them, as a mechanical engineer was an ill fit. Not only did she know she wasn't cut out to be an engineer, she was well aware of the career she wanted to carve for herself. However the fear of change was debilitating. Change, no matter how sugarcoated it may taste, almost always comes with some bitterness. A career switch, whether voluntary or involuntary comes with challenges, especially when moving to a seemingly virgin career path. Most wake up suddenly from an epiphany and realize they have spent valuable time climbing the wrong ladder; others know all along but simply lack the courage to make a change. Career change does not have to be laden with fears and uncertainty. Indeed it can be overwhelming but some self-awareness and guidance from others can reduce the change-induced anxiety.
1. Realize that you're not alone- Not only are you not the first to have walked this path, there are professionals along the way whose purpose it is to make the transition process a little less bumpy. There are career transition and outplacement services and online tools such as the resume builder to make the transition faster and easier. It's incredibly heartwarming to know that at times like these, you're not left to walk the streets alone and there is plenty of help to make the transition process less overwhelming.
2. Remember to make lemonades- When lemons are thrown at you, don't let them fall to the ground, make some mouth-watering lemonades. Admittedly, change can be stressful, but you can use it to your advantage. Sometimes all we need is a push to move out of our comfort zone in order to progress.
3. Repel the fear- Transitioning from one career path to another, voluntarily or involuntarily comes with its wave of fear. Questions about your competence, your environment, and your self-worth are almost guaranteed to arise in your mental space. Especially when the job search takes longer than expected, stress and fear tend to dominate, but choose to cope with it in a healthy way. Avoid negative thoughts and focus on the growth process. There's almost always a beautiful place on the other side of change.
4. Research your new path- While experience is a great teacher, you don't have to wait to have your own experiences to learn. Some mistakes teach important lessons, but most of them can be avoided when you ask the right questions and research your options. These lessons can be learned via less painful or time-consuming ways. Research the new industry you're interested in and if possible, meet with people who have experience.
5. Think positive- Contrary to popular opinions, an involuntary change in a career has its silver lining. You simply need to look beyond the obvious challenges and appreciate the path that lies ahead.