HOW TO TACKLE A CAREER CHANGE AFTER DIVORCE
While entering the world of single motherhood is foremost a change
to your personal relationship, it’s effects are far- reaching and to some extent, infiltrate every part of your life. It’s a time of upheaval, it’s a time of reflection, and as I’ve seen, it can be the time that women make the most deeply fulfilling changes to their career.
While the thought of a career change during divorce may at first seem counter-intuitive, it can actually be the perfect time to re-align your life with what matters to you most and steer your career in a direction that will support you emotionally and financially, not just now, but for many years to come. It may help you with the practical considerations of having greater financial responsibilities as a single parent, it may help you close the chapter on your old life and focus on new beginnings, or it may let you dream big and fulfil your life’s purpose in ways you couldn’t when you were in a relationship.
And while the actual process of a career change may seem overwhelming along with all the other changes that separation and divorce brings, it is absolutely achievable. You just need a plan of action to tackle it!
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make during my 15 years in recruitment, head-hunting and career coaching is to jump right to the end of the career change process. They start scouring job boards, online portals, social media news feeds and newspapers for career opportunities only to become even more discouraged, stressed and overwhelmed as they can’t seem to find what they are looking for. Often, this is simply because they don’t know what they want, what best suits them and what would make them happy.
So then, where do you start?
ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES
I’VE SEEN PEOPLE MAKE IS TO JUMP RIGHT TO THE END OF THE
CAREER CHANGE PROCESS.
1. KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
Your purpose is your why. It gives you that all-important sense of fulfilment, meaning and focus and therefore happiness. It’s been shown to be one of the key habits of highly successful people because it provides you with a career framework, a path for success, and, even more importantly, it gives you permission to say no to the things that are distractions.
So ask yourself this – What is my purpose in life? What on earth was I put here to do?
If you’re having trouble defining it clearly, answer these questions:
What would you like to be remembered for in your life?
What would you like your legacy to be?
What would you like your kids to remember you for?
Think as big as you can!
And don’t worry about the ‘Hows’ right now. How much will it pay? How would I get a job when I think I don’t have the relevant skills or qualifications? Or how would I pay for training if I need to re-train? Just give yourself permission to dream. Once you find your why, you’ll find the how.
2. DEFINE YOUR PASSION
I’m not referring to the things you like to do or find remotely interesting. A passion is something that you LOVE to do! It brings on a feeling of intensity and excitement when you talk about it and it’s what fuels you and helps you stay on course when obstacles get in your way. It makes you go that extra mile and open yourself up more to new possibilities.
Right now you might be thinking ‘Nothing!’ or ‘I have no idea’ or ‘I’m so tired I have no energy for passion!’ As children we’re naturally passionate creatures, but as we grow up our passion can get buried under the need for financial stability, our dedication to our roles as wives and mothers, and just getting through the day… but it’s still there.
If you are struggling to come up with anything, think back to when you were a child. What did you want to do when you grew up? What did you dedicate many hours to? Who do you admire the most in your life now, and why? If failure or money was no object, what would you spend much of your time doing? What would get you excited, fired up and out of bed in the morning?
The key to this is letting your imagination soar. It doesn’t have to be something serious, conventional or practical. Be playful!
Once you’ve taken some time to identify these two key elements, you will be well on your way to having a much clearer idea of what your next steps need to be… whether it’s knowing exactly where to start to look for that new role you want, acknowledging that you may need to find a new mentor or coach or perhaps even that you actually really do enjoy your current career and it may just need a some tweaking, perhaps a change in hours or a new employer.
Whether it’s a simple job change or a whole new career path, don’t let your circumstances or financial pressure stop you from putting your toe into the water to start the process. Your career path is a life-long journey, and every little step towards your dream job will set you up for long-term happiness… because when you are happy in one important area of your life, it will flow onto all the other areas which is a win-win for not just you, but your whole family.