How to Do a Career Pivot (Instead of Having a Mid-Life Crisis)

Do you stay or do you go? It’s a question lots of us ask and not an easy one to answer.

If you’re thinking of a career pivot, you’re not alone. In fact, a survey of 17,000 US workers discovered the majority were unhappy in their current job, with 71% wanting to change.

But there’s a difference between wanting to and doing – and having a mid-life crisis. There’s no shame in switching to a new career, but it can be scary if you’re not sure what to do.

To help you out, we’ve put together some advice on how to make a real change in your life for the better.

Why Would You Want a Career Change?

Not everyone gets the urge to switch careers. Some people are happy to stick with the same role they worked towards in college until it’s time to retire, and that’s great. But it’s not for everyone.

If you’re finding yourself reaching a point in your career where you feel dissatisfied, it could be time for a change. This could be because you’ve hit a plateau, which is when you’ve exhausted your skills and can’t get any higher in your role. There’s no more room for growth.

When you get to this point, some people may wonder why you’d want to move on. After all, haven’t you got where you’ve always wanted to be? But if you love the progress of a career, it makes sense that reaching the top’s going to leave you feeling unfulfilled.

You might also just realize you don’t actually like your job, and that’s fine too. You’re not the same person you were when you started to pursue this career and your interests and goals have probably changed. Or, you just really hate the place you work.

Whatever your reason, if you’re not getting the joy you wanted from a career it definitely warrants making a change. You spend about 90,000 hours at work, so making it something you actually want to do is hugely important. But you do need to make sure you can do it and you pick something that’s right for you.

How to Prepare for a Career Pivot

Before you go handing in your resignation, there are a few things you need to consider. Here are some things that make navigating how to pivot a bit easier.

Financial Stability

Having the money to quit your job is crucial, especially if you’re leaving without a better offer. You should have enough money to cover all of your expenses for at least 6 months, giving you time to find a new career or launch a business. If you know you have people who can support you during this time, have a chat with them to make sure they’re okay with it.

Wait Until You Get an Offer

If you’re worried about not having the money, you can always continue your job whilst you pivot. It may be hard work to balance the two so be prepared, but it is much more secure. If you change your mind at least you haven’t done anything drastic.

What Are You Willing to Change?

A career switch can mean a lot of changes both in your work and personal life. Are you willing to work more hours for less money? Are you prepared to start at the bottom of the ladder? Make a list of all the sacrifices you have to make and if the switch is still worth it then you’ll know what to do.

How to Pivot

If you’ve decided on the switch, congratulations! But now it’s time to get to work. You need to find a new job and we’ve got the tips to help.

Look at Your Skills

If you’ve already gathered qualifications, experience, and skills during your career, can you use them? It’ll be much easier than starting again and the skills you’ve been using in your job might help you get a leg up in another industry. Take stock of what you can do and start looking for careers that match your skillset.

Going Back to School

Heading back to school can seem daunting but it might be necessary for a big career change. If you don’t want to actually attend campus, check out online courses that give you the same qualifications to pursue a professional certification. You can always look for apprenticeships or jobs that help you get the qualifications whilst you work too.

Look to Your Contacts

Don’t be scared to ask for help when changing careers. If you’re moving to a different area within your company then talk to someone who might be able to help or even mentor you. If you’re moving out of your company, get in touch with old bosses, professors, or friends and family to see if they can help.

What About Starting a Business?

If you’re not happy with your career, it might be time to start your own venture. Whether you’re not enjoying working for your current employer or you’ve reached the top of your game, starting your own business could be exactly what you need. Just make sure you do a lot of research on how to first and you have the funds for any eventuality.

Start Changing Your Life Today

If you’re unhappy with your career, you don’t have to sit down and carry on. Everyone has the potential to change their lives, whether you’re 3 or 30 years into your job. Just make sure you’re prepared for your career pivot and you’re 100% committed to the idea before you take the leap.

If you’re looking for career help, be sure to check out more of our blogs.

Written by
Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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