I went to university for four years to be a primary teacher, but despite that huge investment I always knew it wouldn’t be forever. After sidestepping for a year as secondary school librarian, I finally took the leap to quit the world of education about four years ago. It was obviously a tough decision; leaving a successful, stable and safe career without a clear path of where else I could go, but I just knew that I wanted more. More challenges and more freedom to succeed. Teaching has such a defined career journey, that it began to feel suffocating.
I had been a successful teacher, but no confidence in my ability to be good at anything. I had to take a lot of time to reflect on my abilities to allow me to believe I could succeed elsewhere.
If you’re looking to change career but don’t know how, here are my five top tips for discovering what else you could do for a living:
- Really visualise the life you’d like to lead. Could staying put get me to wear that life? I used a mixture of verbalising (saying things out loud to other people is so different to keeping it all in your head), free-writing (just writing, no stopping allowed, no conscious thinking needed) and devouring books about business and success. Without knowing where I wanted to be, I had no chance of getting there.
- What are you able and willing to sacrifice to get there? Are you willing to get a lower level part time job? Can you make savings on your rent or mortgage? Work seven days a week? We all have different levels that we’re willing to sacrifice to. It’s smart to work out what you could give up first.
- How much of a risk-taker are you? What do you have to lose? Do you have dependents? Does risk feel overwhelming or exciting? No change comes with guarantees. Would being employed suit you more than becoming self employed?
- What personality type are you, and what sort of roles do your strengths suit? Are you an early riser? A people person? Do you like working under pressure? I was a teacher who was a complete night owl – not a great mix!
- What exactly aren’t you happy with in your current role? It would be annoying to switch one set of unhappiness for another. Do you want to earn more money? To have more flexibility? To have more responsibility? To be able to travel more? You may well be able to adapt your current role to suit, or you may find simply using your free time differently is enough to satisfy your cravings for change.
Have you been through a career change and come out the other side unscathed? What are your top tips? Leave us a comment below.