One day, when I talked to a social psychology professor and lecturer, she told me that she considered a change of profession when you are an adult already something like a disease and a deviation from the norm. It’s a pity, that some people continue living with illusions that they know exactly what a norm is. But fortunately, some of us are brave enough to overcome the stereotype that a professional development is a linear process: a school, a college, a work, and that is it. If we remember about the fact, that every year many new skills appear, and they are not taught in high schools, where will we take professionals then? One more trend is professions which allow to show new technological solutions to the world.
I am deeply convinced that the modern approach to career counselling should be focused on the development of personal qualities, the acquisition of so-called soft-skills, and the development of professional competencies that are most appropriate to an individual’s interests. This approach allows us to expand the range of choices and work to change the course of action. I think you’ll agree that times of narrow specialists are over, and only specialised knowledge and skills are not enough to become successful today.
If your life has brought you the urgent question: “Do I do what I should do actually?” and “Do I need to change my direction?”, it will be interesting for you to read the recommendations of Herminia Ibarra, a professor of the international business school in France. She researched the stories of 39 people who had changed their careers, and she analysed their experience through the lens of psychological and behavioural theories. I would like to tell you them and share my personal experience in relation to these approaches.
Strategies that change your career
Tip 1: Pave your way to your new life with actions. It’s impossible to open yourself again with thoughts only.
Me: First, I thought a lot and spent much time on thinking actually. I promised myself to do something one day, and I was sure that I would do it! I had some plans, but I did nothing to make them a reality, though I perfectly knew how to do that. Once morning I woke up and realised that it was time to act. I switched to a part-time job in order to research some alternative variants of my professional development.
Tip 2: Give up you attempts to find the only one true “I”. Focus your attention on which ones of your many possible “I” you would like to test and learn better. Actions help us see this “I” through the prism of our behaviour, and allow us to adjust our expectations while getting information. When we don’t act, we hide from ourselves.
Me: One of my dreams was to become a designer and create beautiful interiors. I thought a lot about this and wondered: what if it is my new profession. After three design repairing and improvements, I realised that the part of a designer’s work was shopping and presence at the project, but I did not like all that stuff. So, one variant of my possible new job was dropped by itself.
Tip 3: Arrange a such-called transitional period during which the question “to stay or to go” is perceived as the norm. It is better to overcome the contradictions than to come to a premature conclusion. Beware of the decisions taken in a rush to move from the old to the new – it takes time. Those who try to take shortcuts, often appear on a long road.
Me: When you run a long marathon which is called a career, you need some time to stop for a while to let your soul catch up with you. Before you start something new, it’s important to stop and take a look at the world from a different point of view. You will agree that what you see when you run and what you see when you stay can be two totally different pictures, will not you? But your stop doesn’t mean doing nothing. This is doing of what you never had time for. When I stopped, I studied web design, Photoshop, SMM and SEO basics. I went in for yoga, draw the picture, read 100 books, and watched 100 movies that were waiting on shelves patiently.
Tip 4: Do not be tempted to start with making a serious decision that will change your entire life at once. Use the strategy of small victories, when gradual promotion leads you to a profound change in the basic settings that define your life and work. Deal with the fact that your path will be sinuous. Small steps lead to big changes, so do not waste your time, energy and money, trying to find “answers” or “arms”, which will produce an unimaginable effect when clicked. Almost no one succeeds at the first attempt. Forget about moving in a straight line.
Me: I can’t say that I totally agree with such a statement. Sometimes it’s useful to do everything once and hurriedly, because when you continue doing earlier cases, it’s difficult to devote time and energy
to explore your new opportunities. I never had time to explore new things when I worked 12 hours in the office 5 days a week.
Tip 5: Identify the projects that will help you get a feel for what the new area or a new way of working is. Try to deal with them overtime to be able to experiment seriously without taking final decisions.
Me: Well, if your current work lets you doing this, and it doesn’t take 100% of you of curse. I must admit, that I always failed here.
Tip 6: Do not focus on the job only. Find people who are the great example of whom you would like to be, and who can provide your support during the changes. But do not expect that you will find them in the same social circle with you. Break the limits of your established social circle. Expand it. Look for role models – people who give you an idea of who you could be, and who are living examples of other ways to live and work.
Me:Believe me, your social circle will change dramatically.
Tip 7: Do not wait for a catalyst moment, when the truth will be opened. Use daily scenes to search for the meaning of changes happened to you. Train to tell and re-tell your story. Time will make everything clear. Significant career changes take 3-5 years.
Me: It took me 4 years.
Tip 8: Lie up. But don’t do that too long. When you stuck, and you don’t know what to do next, don’t be in a hurry: just step aside and think on how and why you are changing now. Even if you take a one-day trip to a country, it can open your eyes to something. But do not disappear for a long time, otherwise it will be very difficult for your to integrate into the stream again. We can find ourselves again only through dialogues and active engagement with others.
Me: I had such a period last year, when I didn’t want to see anyone, and I didn’t actually know what to do and where to go. I had a feeling that I should change something in my life, but I didn’t understand what it should be exactly. My career was ok, but it was not enough for me. I spent one week alone with no phone, laptop, and other devices, thinking of my life, and what was wrong with it. Such a reclusion helped me understand a lot.
Tip 9: Changes occur suddenly. Sometimes you are ready for a big change, but sometimes you are not. Catch perfect moments. Good opportunities come and go.
Me: Opportunities arise when we know what we want exactly. Only then we are able to see, understand and implement them. Otherwise, we pass by them. Sad, but true.
It’s never late to change your life and career, when you feel you should do that, and if you really need this. No matter how old you are, you should follow your thoughts and dreams with no fear to fail. If it’s your way, it will be yours, and you’ll be able to do everything in a right way to reach your goals. We live once, that is why don’t waste your time on anything you don’t like and don’t feel being yours actually.
Nothing is worse than finding yourself in a wrong place and doing nothing to change it. Your fear doesn’t mean you are weak and you won’t be able to change anything. Your fear means your strength to overcome obstacles. And remember: if your life gives you a challenge, it also gives you strengths to deal with it. Such a philosophy helped me many times in my life, though I was always afraid of changes. Once you find a will to accept a challenge, you will not be afraid of fails anymore, because you are a wise person, and you exactly know what you need in your life.