Posted by: Stacey Maka
It’s a horrible feeling when you find out what you studied in school or once wanted to do wasn’t what you thought it would be like once you entered the workplace. So now what? Should you make a change or settle? I never thought I’d be in a position where I wasn’t sure of myself and the path I wanted to take. I’ve always been a creative person and til this day I torment myself with regrets of not just going with my gut feeling and following my true dreams. These unsure feelings of mine started 2 years ago. I worked with such a lovely company. I loved my co-workers to death, and the environment was always enjoyable, so I couldn’t understand what was wrong or missing. There was this empty gap that haunted me every day. I took the big step of quitting my job to figure out what I really needed and wanted to do with my life. In that time, I got a chance to be my creative self again. It felt so natural, like I was in my zone. But as money started to dissolve I had to look for work again. Of course friends and family told me to just stick with what I studied, so I went back to the same field of work. I also told myself, “I’ll just give it a try again. Maybe things changed and I’ll like it better this time around”. How very wrong I was. Waking up and going into work every single morning was such a burden. It was only this year I discovered what I truly needed—a career change. It’s a lot scarier than most anticipate so I can see why a lot of people don’t actually go through with it. But I can’t help let my heart overrule logic. No one can stop me, not even myself. Being the somewhat stubborn person that I am, it is my mission to find and love what I want to be doing in life. If you’re going through a career change too and feel what I’m feeling, here are some pointers:
Figure out what you’re good at or enjoy doing. A lot of times those hobbies of yours turn out to be great career choices. What I’ve noticed are the most successful people are the ones who started off with a hobby, and wonderful things just happened for them. I believe it is healthy to nurture the things you’re good at doing. This is why when parents see their kids have a talent in something they try to encourage it to better their kids skills. Sure, you can use many famous people as an example, but that’s the one percent. Although, I happen to know people I grew up who are still doing what they have loved since they were 5 years old. Some have gone off to become singers, dancers, web designers, and even a professional pianist/keyboardist. Using the people around you instead of what you see in the media is a bigger inspiration in my opinion. If they could do, so can you.
Get educated. Research away! You’re going to have to do some serious homework with this one. If you have a passion for something, figure out the steps to get there. If you think going back to school, taking a course, interning or volunteering at a company is going to better yourself, then by all means go for it. You have all to gain with the experience you will be getting. Having a good knowledge and understanding of what you’re getting into will help you in your career change. Find someone in the industry you’re interested in and get to talking with them. Weigh out the pros and cons to decide whether there’s a possibility that it’s the right career for you.
Don’t wait for something to come to you. Don’t we all wish someone would just notice our talents and hand over our dream job? The worst thing you can do for yourself is to dream without taking any action. The world just doesn’t work that way. We have to go out there ourselves and fight for what we want. You are going to experience rejection multiple times but it’s actually better than not giving enough exposure for yourself.
Find your support group. This is super crucial to have on many obvious levels. Good supporters applaud what you do and wish you all the best. Look to close friends, family, or better yet, others you know who are going though the same thing as you. You shouldn’t have to hear constant negative feedback when you are trying and doing your best. If you are the supporter reading this, here is some advice: Never tell them, “You’re not trying hard enough” when they really are putting in their best efforts. It may seem like a good way to push someone but it’s not showing them any consideration. They came to you out of everyone else they could have talked to because they trust you. They’re already going through a lot so the best thing you can do for this person that reached out to you is to help or give some advice and show them that you’re there for them. Finding the right support will make this difficult journey a little bit easier knowing your loved ones are behind you.
Network. Show people what you’re doing and introduce yourself in the title of your new profession. Let everyone know who you are and what you do. They might know someone who knows somebody that knows somebody, etc. Speaking from experience, I do suggest carrying a pen and your business cards around with you. It’s pretty embarrassing struggling to find a pen while grabbing a scrunched up paper from your bag to write on. They don’t have to be fancy cards either. Customizing and printing ones out at home are just as effective.
Don’t get discouraged. You’re going to have competition no matter what. Even the people you are competing with have competitors. Just keep trying and don’t give up. In the past, I’ve been lucky enough to get call backs and good feedback at interviews, but this time around I’ve never experienced so much rejection. It’s most likely because my previous career was not as competitive as the one I’m trying to break into. The feeling of applying to hundreds of jobs and not hearing back is such a letdown. It makes you question yourself as a human being. It sucks, but in times like this you need to keep your head up and continue to have faith in yourself. Never sell yourself short. Be the absolute best you can be and people will notice how you shine. If you keep going and show your dedication, things are eventually going to come your way. Leading into my next point…
Have patience. I know, I know—I hate this part too. This is pretty much what I’m going through right now. The days are feeling like months and the waiting game can be quite irritating. “Why haven’t they called or emailed me back yet?! How long will I have to wait??” It could take weeks (if you’re lucky), months, even years to achieve something we want. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Don’t have your mind set on just one company. I admit I do this sometimes and end up in disappointment when they aren’t hiring at the moment or I just never hear back from them. Keep looking and you’ll find something just as good.
It takes a lot of courage to drop everything and start over again. It is a big headache applying to jobs and internships and not hearing any response back, but don’t give up. I know I haven’t. I’ve been on a constant rollercoaster already but I believe I’m making it closer to the top with each effort. There’s going to be a lot of hard times and frustrations from waiting, but keep a positive lookout on your situation. You are trying to improve who you are and you care enough about your future to make necessary changes. And know in the end it’s going to be okay.
Image via givetwoweeksnotice.com.