How was your first week back? Did you miss work over the holidays? Or do you find the concept of missing work absurdly alien?
Many people around now, after watching the clock countdown on New Year’s Eve, take stock and consider a career change. If you’re considering a change of career, you’ll probably be told how brave you are and how it’s not for the faint hearted. However, spending a third of your life in a job you don’t enjoy and facing the very real prospect of living life with an unfulfilled career, or worse stagnating and not improving, is far, far scarier.
Perhaps your new year’s resolution is concrete: visit the gym 3 times a week, read the unread books that you have on your shelf, make your first video game or maybe it’s just to ‘be better’. Either way, we hope that your career won’t inhibit your goals. In fact, we will go one further and hope that your career will enable and assist your goals in happening because when we’re happy at work the positive and proactive results radiate through the rest of lives.
You may think that career satisfaction or work fulfilment feels a little new age- back in the old days you just got on with it, you chose your career and stuck with it. But career satisfaction incentives can be dated back to 1948 when company 3M allowed for ‘innovation days’ (the predecessor to Google’s ‘20% rule’), for employees to work on their own innovative projects. Not only do innovation days sound fun, but 3M also created the most coveted of all stationary: the Post-It.
Sidestepping the eye-watering price tag on a university degree, learning and innovation doesn't and shouldn’t have to be a luxury. There are so many online courses, communities and tutorials out there that pursuing a career change and finding your own unique career fulfilment has never been so attainable.
If there’s something new you want to learn, which may help benefit the company as well as scratch your itch for progression, it’s worth speaking with your HR department or manager to see if it’s something the company will sponsor you to do. Many companies may have a budget for development projects such as these, so it’s best to get in early!
If your itch can’t be scratched by your current company, perhaps they can’t fund you, or your itch is in a different field, then it’s worth considering a career change and taking time out to learn new skills yourself. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. As recruiters we love hearing our candidates’ varied and always very unique stories.
Here’s a few stories from career change advocates:
Jacinta spent her twenties helping children and adults to read as a Literacy Coordinator. After helping thousands of children and young adults to read, she was ready for a career change. She realised she wasn’t a prisoner to the skills, time and relationships she had invested in, which helped free her to learn and develop new skills for a complete 180° career change.
“Your strengths will always be the same, unless you exercise your weaknesses to grow new strengths.”
The genius’ of the world got there through having an active balance of their right + left brain: logic + creativity.
Jacinta felt that she had pigeon-holed herself too early into thinking that because her strengths lay in the arts and was naturally “right-brained”, she would only love a career in these areas. She took a summer learning to code, to strengthen her logical and analytical way of thinking. A few years later and she is now a Digital Marketing Manager which uses her arts degree writing articles as well as her newfound “left-brain” skills managing the website and running and reporting on media campaigns.
We’ve got our suspicion that the “play to your strengths” mantra is a con. Your career change may not be your ‘natural inclination’, but what is? Many of us dismiss whole subject areas such as art because of one ill comment from an art teacher in our most formative years. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t mean be revisited in adulthood.
If we really have the desire to learn and grow, we can take a lot of setbacks, and even rejections before giving up. If the goal is to learn and progress in a holistic sense and not merely to impress your immediate superiors, than a whole playground of career change opportunities can open up.