The great ca­reer re­set

Found your­self in a job that doesn’t spark joy? Don’t panic. Here’s how to reskill for a new ca­reer, while still hold­ing down your 9-to-5

Women's Health Australia - - DECEMBER - By Penny Car­roll

Re­boot your ca­reer with­out giv­ing up your day job with our ex­pert tips

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High school ca­reer ad­vis­ers have a lot to an­swer for. How could they pos­si­bly pre­dict your for­ever job based on who you were at 17? Here’s an­other thing they prob­a­bly didn’t tell you in class: it’s never too late to do a 180, and, even bet­ter, you won’t have to re­live your days as a broke uni stu­dent to pull off a ca­reer pivot. “Chang­ing ca­reers doesn’t have to be a risky, scary ex­pe­ri­ence if it’s planned prop­erly,” con­firms Bris­bane-based ca­reer coach Suzanne Wil­liams (grace­and­grind.com.au). Itch­ing to hit re­set? Con­sider this your road map to se­ri­ous suc­cess.

Put in the prep

OK, so your cur­rent job isn’t tick­ing the ful­fil­ment box, and you reckon re­train­ing in [en­ter dream vo­ca­tion here] is the per­fect so­lu­tion. You’re prob­a­bly right – but be­fore you quit and recom­mit, take the time to suss it out. “I see peo­ple jump­ing in too quickly when they don’t know them­selves well enough or what that fu­ture ca­reer en­tails,” says Wil­liams. “Talk to peo­ple in the in­dus­try so you’ve got full knowl­edge and aware­ness of the space you’re mov­ing into be­fore you in­vest your time and money into train­ing.” You could try vol­un­teer­ing, shad­ow­ing some­one in the in­dus­try or do­ing a cheeky short course to get a taste of what’s to come.

Part of your recce should also in­clude a per­sonal au­dit – con­sider what trans­fer­able skills you have, and if any of your ex­ist­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions can count to­wards your new ca­reer. “Most peo­ple have a qual­i­fi­ca­tion al­ready and think they need to do a whole course of study, when they only need a short bridg­ing course,” Wil­liams ex­plains.

Take a good look at your fi­nances while you’re at it. Nikole Neal, a for­mer TV pro­ducer who segued into a ca­reer as a PT last year, tracked her earn­ings and ex­penses for a year be­fore mak­ing the leap. “I wanted to make sure I had enough money put aside for the changeover,” she says. “I was on a good wage and had be­come ac­cus­tomed to not think­ing about my spend­ing each week. I doc­u­mented it on a spread­sheet so I could see where my money was go­ing and then started slash­ing the ex­tras to save as much as I could.”

As­sess­ing your bank ac­count can help you move be­yond fears that might be hold­ing you back, says ca­reer change spe­cial­ist Jo Green (jo­green­coach­ing.com). “You could be think­ing that you need more money than you ac­tu­ally do, so get­ting clear on the num­bers can help that fear to set­tle,” she notes.

Pick your tim­ing

If your ideal role re­quires a shiny new qual­i­fi­ca­tion, you’ll need to be cre­ative with your time – es­pe­cially

if keep­ing your cur­rent job for rent-pay­ing pur­poses is a non­nego­tiable. Nikole’s PT course, a mix of on­line and in-per­son learn­ing, took eight months to com­plete around her full-time job. “I was do­ing shift work so it was tricky to al­lo­cate spe­cific days and times to study,” she says. “Some weeks I would power through chap­ters and as­sign­ments, and oth­ers I would barely touch it.”

You may not want to do this, but Wil­liams sug­gests open­ing up to your cur­rent boss about your goals and ne­go­ti­at­ing flex­i­bil­ity to your hours for study. “If you tell or­gan­i­sa­tions with enough no­tice, most ra­tio­nal peo­ple will sup­port their staff,” she says. Not an op­tion? “Com­mit­ting to the process and get­ting stuck in is re­ally im­por­tant,” says Green. Sheer de­ter­mi­na­tion helped for­mer ho­tel re­cep­tion­ist Rhi­anna Brid­gett jug­gle three jobs while study­ing a myother­apy de­gree full time at En­deav­our Col­lege of Nat­u­ral Health. “I was re­ally good at time man­age­ment; I had my weeks planned out in ad­vance,” the 29-year-old re­calls. “It took a lot of sac­ri­fices to make it work. But the thing that kept me go­ing was the ‘why’. I knew what it was like to work in a job that I didn’t like or care about, and I just kept re­mind­ing my­self that I didn’t want to go back to that feel­ing.”

Set firm bound­aries

Adding study to an al­ready jam-packed life can jack up stress, so it’s vi­tal to set clear bound­aries. “I had to get re­ally com­fort­able say­ing no to things that I just couldn’t do,” Rhi­anna says. “And if I was feel­ing re­ally over­whelmed, I’d get a cof­fee and sit in my favourite place near the beach ... to process what I had to do,” she re­flects.

Back your­self, adds Wil­liams, who says 90 per cent of her clients strug­gle with self-be­lief dur­ing this process – in­clud­ing cor­po­rate execs. “I doubted my­self in­cred­i­bly,” ad­mits Rhi­anna, “but I used it as a pos­i­tive in the end, to prove to my­self that I re­ally could do it.”

When you hit a road­block know this: at the end of your jour­ney is a job you love, and the achieve­ment of a goal. “When peo­ple over­come chal­lenges, they feel the growth that comes from that, and feel amaz­ing,” Wil­liams says. Go get ’em.

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