3 Unrealistic Expectations of a Career Change

3 Unrealistic Expectations of a Career Change

“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” ~ Earl Nightingale

There are many people around the world who are unhappy in their career. If asked, most people would say that they’d gladly change career and would love to do something different. Yet, year after year they find themselves in the same career, feeling more and more dissatisfied.

Some people do take initial action and begin looking into what it would take to change their career. However after a short time, they give up on the idea and resign themselves to the career they are currently in.

I believe many people quit their pursuit of a career change because they have unrealistic expectations. When these expectations are proven wrong, they get stuck or feel fearful and retreat to the safety of what they know.

Here are 3 unrealistic expectations of a career change that people commonly have:

1. Once I’m clear what I want to do, the rest will be simple and straight forward

Many people feel frustrated when working out what they could do as an alternative to their current career. A lot of the women I work with believe that once they work out what career they want to move into, everything else will fall into place.

This is hardly ever the case and is normally just the start of the career change journey. Once you are clear about the career change you want to make, there are a number of steps you need to take and things you need to put in place before actually making the transition.

You may need to gain relevant experience, work out if that’s really something you would be happy doing all day every day, identify the organisations you would like to work for, complete any necessary training or qualifications and the list goes on. This doesn’t even take into consideration the financial or emotional aspects you will face.

Action: Do your research and create a plan. This will be an ongoing process throughout your career change.

2. I will have support from loved ones

This is a natural assumption to make. After all, your loved ones want you to be happy. However, a lot of people say this is the number one concern that prevents them pursuing a career change. They are fearful of what their friends and family will think of their decision. They are scared that they will be judged and not taken seriously. Often, their fears are justified.

Although friends and family do want you to be happy, they also have their own fears and concerns about life. They have their own view of the world and if their view of “success” looks a certain way, and your career change plans contradict that view, they may have some reservations and doubts about your choice.

More often than not, our loved ones feel it is their right to share their approval or disapproval of how we should live our lives. This can be verbally or simply by their facial expression when you share your plans and apsirations. When your personal choices conflict with the expectations of loved ones, it can be easy to doubt yourself and question your motives for changing your career.

Action: Find someone or a group of people that have either been through a career change or are experiencing something similar. I set up a free online group specifically for women who are considering or going through a career change and would like support and inspiration from other women in a similar position. You are more than welcome to join.

3. I will earn the same or a similar salary and position of authority

We’ve all heard the phrase “transferable skills” and we are often told that these are an asset when applying for new positions. Whilst this is true to some extent, it is more common for organisations to ask for actual experience in a particular field. Therefore if you are a senior manager in the travel industry, that does not mean you can move into IT at the same managerial level or on the same salary. Industry knowledge is just as valuable as the skills required for the job. In fact, sometimes industry knowledge can be more important than the skills themselves.

Action: Look into alternative ways to supplement your income until you reach a similar rate of pay. Some things you can do include reducing your outgoings, using savings, freelancing, getting a part time job or selling unwanted items. You can also look at increasing your industry knowledge and experience through shadowing, internships and voluntary work. Additionally, it can be incredibly useful to read and follow popular industry publications and organisations via social media as well attending industry conferences and talks.

Now I’m not saying that it is impossible for people who change their career to do it quickly, be supported by all their friends and family and to continue earning the same salary, or more whilst mainintaining their previous level of authority. It is absolutely possible. I just want to make clear the reality for the majority of people who change their career.

I am an advocate of people being in a career they love as we spend too much time at work to settle for feeling demotivated and unfulfilled five out seven days each week. I have experienced being unhappy in my career and I have been through a career change and I can say that it is absolutely worth the time, effort and energy it requires.

Over to You

What unrealistic expectations of a career change are keeping you unhappy in your current career or making your career transition a challenge?

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P.S. For tips on maintaining your happiness during your career change, download the FREE guide by entering your details below. 

About Leanne

Freelance blogger, qualified careers adviser, and certified life coach. Passionate about empowering women and young people to create a career & life they love.

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