To change or not to change? Seven common career change myths exposed

career change

Did you know that statistically speaking, you are likely to undertake a career change on average of five to seven times during your working life? As a career coach, I get to talk to lots of clients who are thinking about a career change. I also get to hear plenty of myths about them too.

Here, I debunk the seven most common…

Myth #1 There is a one-size-fits-all approach to making a career change
I have read hundreds of books and taken courses on how best to go about making a career change. Let me tell you, like all difficult transitions in life, a career change is a deeply personal experience and so, a one-size-fits-all strategy is unworkable. Instead, I advise you to focus on what feels right for you.

Myth #2 Personality testing and/or journaling are the keys to career change success
Yes, personality tests and journaling about your possible career change will provide new insights and ideas. However, if you were stuck in a career and mindset for a long period, the answers you are looking for will take time to uncover.

Furthermore, as humans, we are our own worst enemy, creating our own perception of reality. Because of this, we conjure up  beliefs about ourselves and the world. My clients often tell me that they don’t feel good enough, are too old or that they can’t afford to make a career change. The deeper and more ingrained the belief, the less likely you are able to recognise the difference between belief and actual reality. If this your case, I suggest working with a coach to pick apart these beliefs (for they are beliefs) and to learn to rephrase them. For example, you could turn “I can’t make this work financially” into “I need to improve how I monitor and manage my finances”.

Myth #3 You need to have everything figured out
Some people wake up, decide they want a career change, do the research, weigh up the options and go get another job. Simple as that. For most of us, however, truthfully it’s a bit of a shit show! In many cases, people start to explore a different career and get disillusioned. This disillusionment can be for a variety of reasons: financial, self-confidence or losing/making friends. In reality, you need to try out a new career for size. The quickest way to do this is through job shadowing (if possible) or by speaking with people currently in that role.

Myth #4 A career change is only for the loaded
I’ll be honest, it helps if you have a partner, a large savings account or a well-paying job to support you during your career change. That said, it’s still possible to change careers regardless of these things. I think of it like this, if you hate your job and you’re making very little money doing it – run headfirst towards a new career!
Let’s face it, researching new careers is hardly difficult. We are so lucky to have information and research capabilities at our fingertips through online searches or networking as well as industry events, seminars and day to day interactions. Just get out there and start researching.

Myth #5 You need a degree to make a career change
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard: “I can’t do that job because I don’t have a relevant degree,” and all before they’ve actually checked. Yes, some jobs do require a degree or formal qualification (a doctor, registered nurse, psychologist etc) but many jobs don’t. Instead, they require a person who has the desirable skills and attitude. Does that sound like you?

Myth #6 You need to be the next Richard Branson to start a company
Do you need to be “good at business” before you start one? No. Most people have absolutely no idea how to run a business and instead, pick it up along the way. Don’t let your lack of knowledge or experience hold you back. If you want to gen-up, there is a plethora of online courses that will teach you how to market, attract clients and manage your finances etc.
A great tip for starting a business is to begin with a side hustle (running a business whilst in your 9 to 5 job). A side hustle is a useful way of testing out if you like being your own boss and whether your business idea is financially sustainable and viable.

Myth #7 If this career change doesn’t work out, my life will fall apart
Making life changes are risky, even more so when it involves your career. However, how boring would life be if you never challenged yourself to learn new things or stepped out of your comfort zone? In the worst case, if your new career doesn’t turn out to be a good or exact fit, you can pivot and try something else.

I hope that you can now see how separating myth from reality allows you to prepare for the real dynamics and challenges that a career change involves. Being aware of these things but doing them anyway involves deep introspection, the odd little tweak here and there and the ball busting bravery to set out on a journey that isn’t fully mapped out.

So, what’s stopping you ……?

If you want help with your career change, take the first step now and book a discovery call today!

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