Radical Career Changes – Where Do You Begin?

It seems like everywhere you look, people are thinking and talking about making career changes. They’re unfulfilled in their job or don’t get along with either their boss or their toxic co-workers. Or, even worse, the company leadership is so darn weak or even non-existent that they are going nowhere in their careers. What does it take to make a radical career change today and how do you begin what may seem like a daunting process?

Step #1: Acceptance – This is the first step in getting to the next chapter of your career. Although the paradigm may have shifted from work hard and you’ll be successful to nothing feels safe anymore, you need to reach and embrace this place of accepting the very reality of where you are today. Whether it’s being laid off, collecting unemployment, or simply not loving the place you are in, step number one is accepting your current situation. Examine very closely what the problem IS with where you are right now.

Step #2: Examine Your Rulebook – This involves taking a long, hard look at what your beliefs are about yourself, your capabilities, and your future aspirations. Are you operating under faulty assumptions such as “I’ll never get another position. I’m too old. I’m over 50?” or “It’s too darn late to make a change?” Who says that you can’t change careers at 50? Having started a business at the age of 53, I am living proof that you can be happily employed and sustain a new business in the last half of your life.

Step #3: Name This False Belief – Critical to your change is to identify what’s holding you back. Naming your challenges and obstacles helps you to empower yourself in moving forward. Unless you name it to change it, you end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Scared of moving forward? Heck, everyone is fearful of change, but let’s drill down on exactly what kind of faulty thinking is holding you back from your next steps.

Step #4: The Next Chapter– Everything you need to get to the next chapter is centered around your acceptance and belief that it is possible to win. Changing the energy and attitude that you are operating under is essential in turning your career around. You’ll need to perform due diligence and research your next steps while maintaining an overriding belief that your next move is possible and that it will happen. You might consider investing in career counseling to uncover viable options, one of which just might end up being your next move.

There is no question that radical career changes are tough in this market. Understanding your strengths as well as your weaknesses are important steps.

But, also understanding that if you drag that ball and chain (and the mentality that your past equals your future), you will unconsciously close the door for facilitating a radical career change. Have a meaningful conversation with a friend, counselor, or trusted confidante now, so you can determine whether you are prepared to take the risk. I can assure you that it’s well worth the time and effort. After all, sometimes opportunity does knock only once.

Author: Mindy Thomas (57 Posts)

Mindy is the founder and principal of Thomas Career Consulting. Leveraging her 25-year business background with a solid foundation of career counseling, Mindy’s expert services span career exploration, résumé writing and career coaching. Whether you’ve been downsized, fired, stuck in a dead-end job or simply don’t know what you want to do next, Mindy can help. And once the focus is clear, count on Mindy for customized one-on-one career services to personally generate powerful marketing documents ranging from résumés and cover letters to online profiles.

Mindy graduated with an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Mary Washington University and received her Masters in Higher Education Counseling with a concentration in career development from West Chester University. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Federal Job Search Trainer™ (CFJST), Certified Job and Career Transition Coach and Executive Leadership Coach. Mindy graduated from Georgetown University’s executive leadership program where she did extensive post-graduate work in the field of coaching.


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