The midstream career switch

When you are in primary and high school, you have many ideas of careers you would want to pursue. You then investigate what further studies or training you would need for that specific career. Fast forward to a few years into your career, after learning some things and accomplishing your goals, just to realise that your interests could lie elsewhere and you consider making a career change.

Sometimes parents / caregivers expect you to get a traditional qualification first, so that they are comfortable that even though you are venturing into unchartered territory, you have something to fall back on. Other times, you stumble upon a new passion or interest whilst you are working and you start considering the “What if’s�?. What if you change careers? What if you choose your passion over the “safe and practical�? career? What if there is a way to carry on working whilst you pursue what you’re really interested in? A best of both worlds.

The question does come up every so often whether making a career switch is feasible. Here are a few steps to take to help you make a successful transition from one career to another:

  1. First things first, do your research – find out what it takes to work in the industry that you’re considering making a switch to. This includes reading as much as you can: newspapers, books. Also consider speaking to people who may be in that industry. You might want to read more about job shadowing.
  2. Volunteer for a company that is in the industry that you would like to move into, whether part-time or on weekends. This will allow you to experience the practical side of this industry before you make the change.
  3. Research what further studies you would have to do in order to be ready to make a career change and be able to handle the challenges that come with it. Make a list of your current skills set that you have and see what you can transfer into the career you would like to pursue
No matter what you eventually choose to do, it is important to choose something that you enjoy. It may be idealism, but we all deserve to be fulfilled by what we do for many hours in the day and to feel a sense of contentment. The best thing to do before taking that “leap of faith�? is to ensure that all your bases are covered and to also include the people in your life who can offer you guidance and support.

In the words of Dr Seuss “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.�? For as long as you have the energy, the inspiration, the eagerness and adequate preparation, there is always the chance to steer yourself in the direction that you choose.