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The learning curve of a career change

By Lisa 09 Apr 2019
3 professional employees walk through corridor out of office.

When I think long and hard about the career changes I’ve experienced in my life I can count a total of twelve to date, and I say to date because there will definitely be at least one more. That next change is scheduled for when I finish my degree at USQ and go out into the big wide world again and into my new career. 

In my working life so far I have done everything from being a door-to-door salesperson to installing data cabling and with each career change in life comes the usual range of emotions and thoughts, from doubt and anxiety to excitement and hope. In my experience there is, and always will be, the lingering fear of failure. The fear of leaping off into a new direction only to realise that, for whatever reason, it’s a dead end. 

So why would someone want to put themselves through all that emotional turmoil? I believe most people change direction in their career for one of three reasons. You may find that your career is flat lining, just more of the same day after day without any sign of new challenges or opportunities. Or maybe you can see your career plummeting, fast! There might have been a shakeup in your industry or the company you work for and you know that it’s time to make a move. Last but not least, you may just be wanting more from your current career, to take things to a new level.

If you’re considering a career change or are in the midst of one right now, it’s important to remember that changing careers is a learning curve. With each new professional adventure comes the chance to learn more about yourself, build your resilience and acquire new skills you may never have developed otherwise. These skills will help build the bank of knowledge and abilities that will eventually make up the whole you. After a dozen turns in my lifelong career, here are the pieces of advice I’d offer to anyone embarking on their own learning curve.

  • Don’t let yourself get hung up on the failures. If you career change doesn’t work out as planned, remember that there is always something to learn from every situation, and the skills and experiences you’ve gained on this venture are only making you a stronger, more dynamic and interesting person.
  • Stay positive and focused on what YOU want from your life. No one else can decide your career for you and would you really want them to anyway? The feeling of empowerment you experience when you make a bold career decision is very seductive and really good for the ego; trust me I know from experience!
  • Above all, be committed to your choice because this could be the first step to a brilliant and exciting career! Don’t let those lingering fears hold you back from reaching your potential. 

With each new career change comes a sense of fulfilment and gratification and the trepidation and concern that you originally felt will ebb away like a receding tide. If you’re ready to make a change, it’s time to back yourself and take the necessary steps to move in the direction you want to go! You’re bound to learn a lot about yourself along the way, and from my experience that’s the best part of embracing the learning curve of a career change. Good luck!

If you can see your ideal destination but the path between here and there isn’t clear, the Careers & Employability Team can help you to fill in the blanks.

Image of Lisa.