Jobs vs Careers
There are a range of different mindsets when it comes to doing our work. A lot of people all over the world can walk into a building five days a week for forty years and simply earn a living.
We don’t hate what we do, but we do not love it either. This is a perfectly normal attitude to have toward jobs. However, there are also those who have to feel some kind of attachment to their life’s work.
These types of people need more than just a paycheck. They need to feel as if they have made an impact on the world to some degree, or contributed to their own lives in some meaningful way. This can be everything from being a doctor to being the best paper salesman in your area.
These two jobs likely have very different daily realities and salaries. What is interesting in these two scenarios though, is that the likelihood of both of you being unfulfilled or unsatisfied in your jobs has nothing to do with how much you are earning. Both people can be happy, and both can be unhappy.
Your purpose isn’t always the most glamorous and difficult or mundane and easy. It all depends on you! Check out our jobs of the future article here to get inspired.
Now, regardless of how we feel about our work, changing careers is quite scary for many of us. As unhappy as you may be in our current position, it is comfortable and familiar to you and there is always the chance things will get worse.
First things first
Many of us fantasize about quitting our jobs, walking out with our belongings and starting down a new career path. Everybody stands up and claps for us. It’s great, but it’s not actually the first step.
The first hurdle in this ‘new you’ is not great and not simple. When asked the question what it is we would like to do instead, that fantasy suddenly vanishes in a puff of smoke. People will usually focus on the leaving part of this journey and never ‘restarting’ step. Dreamers dream and don’t plan.
Don’t curse out your boss at the next company picnic just yet. Before you make any decision to leave your current company, remember that while you soul search for your new purpose in life, it is easier to do it when you have a stable income.
It is also easier to find a job when you already have one!
Your Job Might Suck, Your Company Might Not
Changing careers doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change companies. Many companies around the world are very efficient in terms of growing and developing with their staff. When our current job becomes boring or stressful we can often assume every job in the company is like this.
You have to be careful though, your toxic work environment might be part of the office culture, not just part of your current role. The easiest way to check is to see how many people are leaving/staying along with how many people are moving sideways in the company.
A good company actively works to retain and redeploy staff to their best areas. It is super obvious when this is the case. If you have to wonder, it’s probably not happening at your company.
So weighing up the evidence to figure out your corporate culture is very important. Are they a modern, people-focused company, or are they just another ‘Megacorp’.
Look at what your company has to offer you in terms of further development before you do anything else. Inquire about in-house training programmes that may be available to you.
This may be new information to you, but finding an ideal employee who is willing to improve and climb into new territory is no easy task. And you could be that employee.
Ask any employer and they will tell you, “good people are hard to find”. You may be of more value to your company or manager than you realise. And perhaps they would be more than willing to help you in your journey towards a new career path. Growing you as an employee will save them thousands of dollars after all.
Simply saying to your boss or supervisor that you are not fulfilled in your current position and want a change may be just the ticket in opening up new doors for you. At the very least it will show them that you are motivated and determined to succeed.
A lot of companies today even have educational programmes that will send you to school to learn skills that the company is lacking. And they will take some of the fee’s. Always be aware of the possibilities you have at hand.
Note: If going the route of internal training/education, acquire skills for the job you want, not just skills to get you a raise in your current role.
Is your Net working?
Networking can sometimes seem like a very daunting task. This is because we always run the risk of looking foolish or worse, desperate. Sure, we can talk to strangers at the local bar. We can make a friend for life in a nightclub, but the moment there is something for us to gain from the situation, forget about it!
Networking however, is key to finding 90% of the best jobs. It really is who you know and not what you know out there in the work world.
When the stakes are as high as finding your dream career it can be very stressful to network effectively. Believe it or not though, you are good at networking, you’ve done it your entire life at home, in school, and in the office.
Even shy people can figure it out with the right mindset. You are not building a network to get a new job, you are building a network to be a part of something.
Accepting that everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to gain is key to this. Start by networking with people in your social or work circle that you are comfortable with. Even just joining a Linkedin group can be effective.
By being positive, polite, and helpful to people you meet you automatically grow a network. If you target this toward your career then job opportunities will consistently appear. Yes it can be stressful, but you have to just steer into the skid. Even introverts can network expertly.
Start small and grow your circle both intentionally and naturally. The sweet jobs rarely go out for open competition. A recommendation from a friend/colleague is gold dust.
Friends Can Help Career Changes Too
You could also talk to your friends and family about their career choices. Ask them what they get out of their work, why they chose that direction in the first place etc. However, the best question you can ask someone is what do they see you doing?
More often than not we cannot see our own skills, and even our own interests. Or we are too modest and don’t give ourselves enough credit. But friends and family members will be the first to tell you about your “hidden” skills and talents. This is an optimal way to hone in on your new career path.
Note:Absolutely nobody* likes the ‘fake friend’ networker, the person that tries to network with absolutely everybody. That can be worse than not networking at all.
*Maybe HR and PR people do but that’s another story altogether!
Job Boards Are A Gift And A Curse
Jobs Boards can be a difficult one. In a lot of ways they are just another form of social media. And although their original intent was to help individuals reach better job prospects, they mainly serve as platforms for personal opinions, politics, religion etc.
When you add the fact that many companies post jobs on these boards out of policy rather than need, it can be frustrating. There is nothing worse than trying to get your dream only to find out an internal candidate was always going to get it anyway.
But don’t turn away just yet.
Having a page with a clear list of your skills and achievements, in a format that is at least average is going to get you a lot of solid job recommendations. It will also give you the occasional perfect role.
The real benefit though is seeing the language and skills that the biggest companies in your field are looking for. For this you don’t have to keep an ongoing presence, but posting around the general area of your industry might just catch the right eye.
Of course there’s also things like LinkedIn Premium that will literally put your application at the top of the pile. Your mileage will vary on this though.
Finding a job while pretending you’re not looking
If you have ever had your boss say to you “I noticed you were applying for jobs on Linkedin”, you may want to pay close attention to the next paragraph.
Thankfully there is still such a thing as common courtesy. But maybe it is not in your best interest for your employer to be knowledgeable of your linkedin or your Indeed activities.
Go to To choose private mode:
- Under “Settings & Privacy,” select: “How others see your activity. “
- Select profile viewing options to choose to be public, semiprivate with general details of your industry, or private.
These are the directions for Linkedin, but the steps for other jobs boards should be more or less the same. You may think Linkedin and Indeed are your only options when it comes to Jobs boards, but there are other ways of reaching out. Particularly in specific career area’s, so it is important for you to do advanced searches if you are in a particular field.
Facebook groups have led me to several opportunities with recruiters in my local community, sporting community, or even through general hobbies.
Stepping Back Entirely, Learn to Earn.
If you’re serious about a career change there are few things that are likely to stop you. One of those things is a lack of direction and strategy.
This can happen to us when using the above three methods of job hunting. For better or worse we surround ourselves with people that match our worldview. This will definitely shape how we view the world of work and its opportunities.
If you want change but don’t know what, or if you want a huge 180 degree change (like going from lawyer to baker) the best strategy is to spend time exploring the wider economy. To do this we can either seek out new people or expand our general knowledge.
By using a site like FutureLearn you can access dozens of college level course at a ‘sampling’ level. You can study and decide if this career is for you. The website covers an array of subjects in Business, Law, Science, IT & Computer Science, and the Arts.
Some of these courses are provided by the absolute best Universities in the world. If you don’t spark inspiration here it’s a solid sign that your planned change might be off.
On the other hand, if you want a more practical application then consider taking evening classes in certain areas. You can sample many practical skills as well as engage with active professionals. For example you could learn woodworking and what a career in it entails during night classes.
A practical view is worth more than any LinkedIn job posting or college course. Over the course of 6 months to 1 year, you can bring any combination of these together to truly see if ‘the grass is greener’.
A Career Is A Journey, Not A Destination
Whatever your route, this is not something you want to rush. Changing careers could also mean changing state, changing country, and in the future maybe even changing planet, who knows.
Take as much time as you need to make this decision and browse through the courses to see if anything truly resonates with you. All of the options in this article are effectively free.
There are so many ways to change careers and indeed careers to change into. With a little time and effort you can explore a whole world of opportunities for your future.
If you can hold off just quitting to ‘find yourself’ for half a year, the gears will definitely start turning in the back of your head.
Whether you’re going to train, transfer, network, or become a travelling yoga instructor, there is an effective strategy for you.