Changing Career Paths ... Wisely
We're never just one thing in life.
We wear many hats. We change up our roles - even our careers - as circumstances or our desires dictate.
The trick is to know how to do so with foresight, thought, and planning. Otherwise, we may find ourselves battered by the vagaries of chance. Or, worse, dependent on the mercy of others.
Sometimes, we get lucky. We fall into new careers, meet unexpected benefactors, and have the time of our lives. Sometimes. Hmmm. Sometimes, we win the lottery, too.
Most other times ... not so much. We're much better off taking charge of our own destinies. Planning for our futures. Figuring out the next steps to ensure that there'll be money in the bank when we need it and that we're not risking the health and welfare of ourselves or our families to pursue our dreams.
There is a process we can follow that maximizes the upside and minimizes the risks. It's not just for the young starting out in their adult lives. It's one we can take anytime when we feel the need to reinvent ourselves.
I'll be talking about it in a breakout session at VO Atlanta 2022, the largest voiceover conference in the world, on April 1. No joke! Here's the gist of it:
Do something different. Start over! Or start something new.
It's OK to start, not knowing exactly where you'll end up.
You have a dream. A goal. Or perhaps just a general idea that you want to do something different.
The first step is to clarify what you want and why you want it. You may need some time just to steel your nerves to actually go about it, especially if you're thinking of leaving a comfortable job and income and venture into a new role as an entrepreneur. This is the time to visualize in detail what that means and how it'll differ from your present circumstances. And to develop contingency plans for when good ol' Murphy and his pesky law come along to disrupt your progress.
It's also wise to consider this transition into a new career as a journey. One that will take time to develop and require a degree of flexibility on your part. We don't always end up where we think we should. When we should. Impatience and unrealistic expectations can be your greatest enemy.
Discovery is part of the journey. And you have more at your disposal than you think.
Have you catalogued your existing skills and experience? Have you thought how they could be used - or adapted - in a new career?
Sometimes the skills that were most valued and used at your last job may seem superfluous in your new career, especially if you're moving from a corporate technical career to an artistic one, like I did. But surprise, surprise! They may not seem necessary, but they can help distinguish you from the competition in your new career. In my case, my experience working in technology allows me to excel in corporate and medical voiceover narration, because I understand the concepts and can handle complex terminology.
Business skills and a talent for organization provide valuable support in any field. If they're in your toolkit, you have a big leg up. So many people don't have either. You'll know to avoid commonly made mistakes and be less inclined to miss important details as you work in your new career.
Your existing skills can be mixed and matched in different combinations to bring value to even the newest situation.
Strategies for success
Plan. Review. Revise and set new goals. Keep both a long and short-term vision.
You'll know where you're going - and when you've arrived at each milestone along the way - by plotting your course.
There are a number of tools out there to help you do so, as well as strategies for ensuring that you're on the right path. I'll mention two: flexibility in your thinking and expectations and mentors. I've touched on the importance of flexibility. Look also for a mentor who is just a few steps ahead of you in your new career. He or she will mostly likely be able to relate to your current challenges and provide practical advice based on their own recent experiences.
Laura's Quick Tips
Plan your journey well to a new career - and put fear in the back seat.
Give yourself credit for what you bring to the table.
Turn for regular guidance to those who are just a few steps ahead of you on the same path.
And enjoy yourself! Yes, changing careers can be a scary prospect, but it can also be quite exhilarating, especially when you've taken the time to think it through. And as you reach each new milestone, you'll be able to look back on your progress and take pride in your success.