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6 Myths About Career Change

Updated: Jan 8

So it’s 2024 and you’re been thinking about career change and making a shift in your career.

Unfortunately, there are many myths that are out there about career change, and today, we’ll explore what they are and why they aren’t necessarily true!

Finding passion in your career
Making a career change, finding passion

1. Starting Over Means Losing Progress I’ve Made So Far

One common myth that people believe about making a career change after they have some experience working already, is that they need to start over and choose an entry-level job in a new industry. However, in reality, many of the skills that you have acquired in the years of working can be transferable skills. In order to make a significant career shift, you need to understand how to leverage your current skills, network, and with some additional training, you can have a smooth career transition.

The years of experience that you’ve gained in your current career can help you benefit in your career transition, and you haven’t lost progress. It’s about changing your mindset about what you bring to a new career or organization and also presenting yourself in the best possible way. Determining what you can bring into your new career and taking time to reflect and position yourself as a valuable asset is the first step to ensuring you make a smooth career transition.

2. I’m Too Old, it’s Too Late For Me To Change Careers

Career change after 35
Mid-level career professional considering a career change

Some people believe that once they reach a certain age or stage in their careers, it’s too late to make a career change or pivot direction. However, there are many examples of people changing careers later on in life, whether in their 30s, 40s 50s and beyond. With life expectancy higher than previous centuries, our working lives are longer and this affords us the opportunity to change careers many times during our working lifetimes. Gone are the days where you had to stay in one job or career track for your entire working life. In fact, according to a report by CNBC, almost 50% of the U.S Workforce has made at least one career switch and the average age is around age 39. In addition to that, a report by the American Institute of Economic Research found that older career changers were the most successful and the majority reported feeling more fulfilled .With a good career plan, and support from a community or career coach you can make a successful career transition, no matter your age!

3. A Career Change Requires Extensive Investment in Education

Whilst gaining further education or certification in pursuit of a career change might be needed, it’s not always the case that it’s necessary to spend a significant amount of money on retraining or going back to university. Certainly you may not need to quit your job and spend an entire year or three on going to university. You can make a career transition by emphasising on transferable skills, gaining practical experience through part-time work, joining a board, or doing online courses (some are even free) and workshops to help transition your career. You’ll be surprised that some online courses are fairly affordable and you don’t need to fork out thousands for a course related to your new industry.

4. Switching Careers is a Huge Risk

There is certainly a lot of fear surrounding those who are considering a career change, because of the fear of the perceived instability or uncertainty around career change. However, as with anything, there is always an element of risk involved. There are many ways to manage the risks involved when going through a career transition.

Here are some ways to manage the risk:

  1. Make a gradual career transition, don’t try to make a change within 3 weeks! 

  2. Explore the new field through side projects, part-time work, volunteering, board membership and networking coffees

  3. Network with people in your new industry to help discover how to enter that industry

  4. Find a mentor in the industry you are interested in

  5. Work with a professional career coach to support you

5.  I'll Lose Financial Stability if I Switch Careers

Here’s a common one, which is the false perception that switching careers will mean you will lose all your financial stability. However, it’s not necessarily true that this will happen. In certain scenarios, you may have to take a small side-ways step or small salary decrease, but with hard work, research and the right mindset, you can switch careers, earn what you used to earn or even increase your salary. Furthermore, sometimes career change is not really about finances but some other motivations, whether it’s career fulfilment, meaningful impact or something else (work-life balance, location independence etc)

Here are some ideas to minimise the risk of losing some financial stability during a career change:

  1. Plan for the career change, this means saving money for a few months for a specific amount

  2. Spreading the cost of any education costs by studying part-time

  3. Continuing your current employment and exploring the career switch for at least 6 months 

  4. Conduct market research on salaries in your new industry

  5. Speak to headhunters in the industry to obtain career advice

  6. Work with a career coach to work on a career switch action plan and for support

Ultimately, planning ahead, managing your finances sensibility and exploring the new industry will minimise the risk of destabilising your finances during your career transition. 

6. It Takes Too Much Time to Switch Careers

A final myth is that a career change takes too much time and is something outside of your reach. Of course, your perception of “too much time” could be different from your peers. However, with people spending 40 hours a week working over several decades, a career change that takes 6 to 12 months is really a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of time we spend working in a job or industry you no longer find meaningful. Spending those 40 hours a week in a career that is draining you and not fulfilling you is worse than investing time in making a change to an industry that will bring you more career fulfilment. 

Imagine waking up every Monday morning feeling happy about your work-life, why won't you invest time to make yourself happy?

I invite you to ask the question " What would happen if I fail to take a chance for career fulfilment?"

Remember, whilst there are a few myths about career change, you can overcome these perceived obstacles. Looking for further support with your career change with the support of a career coach? Book a free 30 mins discovery call to see how I can support you.

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