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How to Change Your Career When You Don’t Know What to do Next
How to Change Your Career When You Don’t Know What to do Next
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How to Change Your Career When You Don’t Know What to do Next

Sheila Brenda Andoi
November 26, 2021

Majority of people were told to get good grades in school, go to college, and obtain a decent job.  Many obediently followed that route until they woke up one day and realized that “kwa ground vitu ni different” - the reality is different in the real world -  there are much fewer employment opportunities or they don't enjoy what they are being paid to do.

It could be the career itself, the organization they are working for, or the workplace culture. It may even be a realization that they just want something totally different in life.

People change careers for a variety of reasons. It could be that they have looked for a job without being successful, or they have stopped being interested in their current field of work, or that their company is restructuring and they are being laid off. It isn't unusual for people to multitask or work in more than one industry during their career life.

A career has a significant impact on our lives. It provides us with a sense of fulfillment, social environment, and financial benefit in order to sustain our lives. Because we spend so much time at work, it should be fulfilling, and that fulfillment has significant implications on our personal well-being.

Consider the following: A 40-hour work-week multiplied by 52 weeks per year and a working life of at least 40 years equals 83,200 hours! Imagine how the rest of your life would be affected if you spend the majority of those hours unhappy in your job/career.

It's already difficult enough to switch careers. But what if you want to but you don’t know what to do or how to start? Here are some tips that can help you find a rewarding career path efficiently.

Create a Transition Plan

Begin by asking why you want to leave your current job or career path.  Is it the organization's culture, the individuals you work with, or something else that's weighing you down? 

If you have a clear answer to all of the questions above, then you could start planning for your transition period which involves;

1. Find Your Career Anchor

Reflect on what anchors you in the career path you’d like to follow to gain more focus and clarity.

Edgar H. Schein, in Career anchors and job/role planning: The links between career pathing and career development, described eight career anchors: 

  • Security/stability - If this is your anchoring, you place an emphasis on jobs that are solid and financially secure.
  • Autonomy/independence - You want to be in charge of your work life and dislike regulations and organizational routines.
  • Technical or functional competence - When you use your specific abilities and talents, you are most "yourself."
  • General management competence - You want to get to a point where your competency can be measured by the productivity of your company or organization.
  • Entrepreneurial creativity - You've constantly wanted to start your own company, product, or services, where the success is solely entirely on your efforts.
  • Service or dedication to a cause - You think about your profession in terms of key principles that you want to attain through your job. Helping others, saving lives, or conserving the environment, may motivate you.
  • Pure challenge - You look for jobs where you can push yourself to tackle "impossible" challenges, and you tend to think in terms of wins and losses.
  • Lifestyle - Even if it means sacrificing your career, you desire your work life to revolve around the rest of your life, such as family commitments and other interests.

Although not everyone may fit neatly into one or all of the categories, that is a useful tool for understanding your aspirations and providing direction for yourself.

2. Research on the Careers You're Interested In.

After you've done your self-evaluation, you'll need to look for jobs that you're interested in. There are numerous career search resources, with most of the best material being available online. 

You can do this by making connections within your community, attending networking events, going to career conferences, earning further education in the field you are interested in, or discussing with your friends and family.

Be sure to also find out what it is like to work in another industry/career, the specific company that you’d love, and how you can position yourself in order to land a position in that particular field.

3. Get More Skills: Training or Higher Education

Through research, you will identify the best careers for you. You'll then trim down your options to a few and check to see if you need any advanced training or certification. 

You may not require training if your present skill set is applicable but if you believe you require extra training, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is the certification worth the cost?
  • What will you need to do to maintain it?
  • Will it lead you towards the role you really want?
  • What value will it add to your resume?
  • Can you afford the certification?
  • Will your life schedule allow you to focus on it?

4. Think 'Outside the Box'

After your self-reflection, maybe earned a few extra certifications, and finally found out what field you want to work in, do not hesitate to try something new.  You never know, it could work for you.

Do you ever consider or jot down your strengths? How well do you understand your set of abilities? One way that can help you to think outside the box is by asking people. What do they love and admire about you? What do they believe you are good at? This could open up your mind to newer options.

The world has transformed and people are no longer required to sit in an office for 40 hours per week. Employment possibilities can now be found in the most unusual fields. Take some time to look for chances outside of the office building or outside your comfort zone.

Make the Change

Many young people are afraid of change because the old, familiar, and regular are comfortable – even if they are unsatisfying and unchallenging. But it is all too easy to overcome taking the very first step towards something different.

Once you've decided to embark on a career change, no matter how gentle or course, ensure that you're taking the very essential steps and take action.

Best wishes.

Sheila Brenda Andoi is a communicator, journalist, editor, and writer passionate about human-interest stories. You can find her on Twitter @sheilaandoi

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