5 Tips for Navigating a Change in Career Direction

The peaks and troughs that we experienced over the last year provided an opportunity for reflection like no other. Suddenly, with remote working being the new commonplace and organisational cracks beginning to show, many individuals begin to recognize the importance of being on the career path that’s right for them.

Today more than ever, it is so easy to get swept up in following the path you think is expected of you, or not realizing true professional desires until later on in life. For many, the idea of starting again or changing lanes is far too daring to consider with any serious thought. However, history shows that fortune favors the brave, and in the long run, being at the bottom of the right ladder is a far better situation than being halfway up the one you don’t even want to climb.

The deciding factors for a career change are hardly ever exactly the same from person to person, some may want better pay, better work-life balance, or to pursue a suppressed life-long dream. This blog is going to try to help clear up some confusions and provide a bit of guidance on where to get started.

Evaluate Your Current Situation

Despite coming to the realization that a change in direction is necessary, the concoction of excitement and fear of the unknown can make it difficult to identify exactly what it is about your current job that you would like to change. Spending some time making daily notes about what you find satisfying, what you don’t, and where your mind wonders a lot of the time when you get bored, can start to paint a vivid picture of the roadmap to follow, and most importantly how to do so.

A checklist of strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and interests can also help to identify whether your professional abilities are being utilized in your current position. To make things easier there are now lots of online tools and quizzes to help clear up these areas.

Discuss Options With Those Around You

It can often feel like the mere suggestion that you want to change career direction is seen as slander and that colleagues in your current job will be offended, however in reality this is rarely the case. Your co-workers usually have your best interest at heart, and it can help greatly to voice any concerns or interests you may have so that steps can be taken to either revolve them, or help you to find something new.

It can be extremely valuable to have a scan of friends and associate who might be working in the industry you are looking at, as they can provide valuable insights into what it’s like to work in that given professional environment.

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Take manageable steps

The decision to change direction is exciting, but can often be met with hasty actions, and a wild scramble to make up for lost time. Whilst this is natural, it might not be the most effective course of action to reap the benefits you hope for. The wonderful thing about living in a time where resources are consistently at our fingertips, is that it becomes very easy to take manageable steps toward improving relevant skills, and gaining industry knowledge in preparation for the move, without blindly diving head first.

These manageable steps I talk about are not to be confused with overplanning and talking yourself out of something you know to be the right move, which we humans are great at. The balance is an art, but by figuring out your plan of action and the contingencies involved, you can make the jump a lot less daunting by preparing yourself for what’s ahead.

Set Yourself up for Success

Alike anything worth doing, changing careers will take work, patience, and resilience when things don’t go exactly to plan. It is crucial that amongst the excitement of everything, to remember that nothing is a consistent upward trajectory, and that unexpected road bumps are a natural part of the process. Checking in with expectations can allow the freedom to try without fear, because when your reservations and expectations are put to the side, you are suddenly able to cast your net wide, and discover entirely new things along the way.

Testing the waters allows a peace of mind to give yourself fully to new ideas and professional paths, because you now know deep down that you have given the time to test them against your expectations and the current situation.

Clearly Define Your Walk-away point

The defining reason you’re considering this change, is that at some point you recognized your inability to tread water any longer in a position that you don’t feel is right for you. In order to follow through with this it is vital that there is a clear point in which you decide the draw a line in the sand, and turn your back on the career you want to move away from.

 Without a clear point in which we decide to leave, there is this eternal struggle that could go on forever. We have all been in that Netflix binge where you just keep letting the episodes roll one after another, because even though we know we don’t want to watch anymore, we haven’t set a clear end point. We are creatures of habits, cues, and rewards, and without signals to get out of bed, or to put on those running shoes, that next step is always just out of reach for definitive action to take place.

How Fourblue Can Help

Fourblue are expert recruiters within the built environment, with a wealth of experience in helping people along the right professional course for them. If you are considering a change in career, or would like to know more about the steps you can take, please get in touch at team@fourblue.com or give us a call on 01892 234999.


Author: Merlin Parr