“It is never too late to start over!” (Lynne Gentry) Sometimes you need to start over because of job loss, divorce or change in career. Sometimes you need to start over in a new direction or just make some changes. Change is difficult, but necessary when you realize something is no longer working or never worked at all. What are you going to do? Do you have a plan?
Whether you are just making a change or ready to start over, you need a plan. It is really hard to make a change without a plan. A plan is the result of considerable analysis, consideration, research, and reflection. You may have made mistakes, poor choices or just a change of mind. Starting over in a new direction may be a result of experiences and changes in your life.
You may have started out as an engineer, accountant or even an attorney and realize you want to change careers. Some other reasons to start over is to start a business, change careers or after a divorce. In many cases, it occurs after some years, but it may occur during mid life or much later. Change can happen at any time or anywhere!
Since most people work forty (40) or more years, you should perform a job or career you enjoy. The reasons for change are many and require a lot of thought or you will go back to the same situation you left. Running from job to job or just dumping a bad situation is never the right solution. You need to spend the time to research, investigate and determine if you are a good fit.
Typically, you start a career with a lot of expectations and dreams. After you work there for a few years, you tend to view your future a little more realistically. Perhaps you learn that you may have to change your expectations or realize that you may not be at the right company. This is when you should evaluate your situation. Is it your job, career or company that is not working out? What changes are you prepared to make?
How to start over
- Don’t quit your job! – So many people quit their job before they thought it through. Although unemployment statistics have improved, it is still difficult out there. It is always better to look for work while you are still employed.
- Start your research and investigation – Plan your exit because it takes time. Whether you are changing jobs, careers or starting a business, it takes a lot more effort to do it right! If you made a mistake, you do not want to repeat it. Planning a change requires research and more importantly learning from people who perform the role you are interested in.
- Review your career goals – You should review your career or employment goals every five (5) or ten (10) years. Five (5) years after university is as good as time as any to review your long term goals. When I realized I wanted to have my own business, I made sure I was acquiring the skills I needed. Goals change over time, so review your goals periodically. Returning to school is always an option to change careers.
- Do your interests and skills match with what you want to do? – Too often, many people enter careers for the wrong reasons. You know, you majored in computer science because it pays well versus a keen interest and skills. The best reason for a career is you have the skills and talent to do it well. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will do it well. Evaluate your choices.
- Identify careers you are interested – You should have at least three (3) to five (5) on your list in order to have a reasonable choice. I think everyone could come up with a list of jobs or careers they are interested in. The next step is to find out which skills are necessary for each of the careers and if you have them or can learn them. If you are changing careers, do you have transferable skills?
- Firsthand investigation – Whether you are changing jobs or careers, you should get information firsthand! Conduct informational interviews, job shadow and spend the necessary time to learn about it. Better to spend a few weeks and find out it is not right than years or making a financial investment. Create your own unpaid internship to learn about your choice.
- Network – Networking is always the best way to find a new job, career or even start a business. You can network with your circle of friends, colleagues or industry. If you are considering starting a business, there are industry groups that are helpful to members and individuals who are interested in starting a business.
- Targeted resume – You should develop a resume that is targeted to your new career or job. You probably have transferable skills or other qualifications you want to highlight to get that new career. I think this is a worthwhile exercise even for starting a new business. It is a good way to determine, if you would be qualified for this business. If you do not have the skills, you should get them before you start the business.
- Financial condition – When you changing careers, you earnings will undoubtedly take a hit! Most of us can take a small cut in earnings to start over again, but you want to know how much before you start. If you are starting a business, do you have enough investment capital for your business and do you have enough to support you for the first year? Money does matter and you need to consider it in any change!
Change is never easy and requires a lot of planning, research and consideration. You need to objectively evaluate your current job or career and what you really want. Assess your interests, skills, talent realistically. Take the time to really investigate what you want to do versus just running away from a bad situation. You may need to get training, skills or experience before you make the change. Try to do as much as you can before you leave your current job. I made a few changes in my life, career and I am sharing some of my experience. “It is never too late to start over!”
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It is never too late to start over!