Life is an unpredictable quest. One year you may find yourself settling down on the west coast after accepting a highly coveted position at a renowned company, the next, however, you could be looking to start fresh by relocating to a small town in another province after finding your work disenchanting. Varying circumstances can throw your initial career trajectory off course a bit, but the traditional sense of a career path has evolved—and it isn’t uncommon to see skill sets evolve and transfer to different roles in different industries.
It’s important to encourage fluidity and flexibility in your life path and career, as this is the way to ensure you get the most out of both of them. Here is the convincing argument for why you shouldn’t close the door on the idea of a second career, and advice to succeed in finding the ideal one for you.
You’ll have a better understanding of what you’re looking for
Think back to when you were a child. With your limited scope of the economy and global landscape, what was it that you imagined yourself doing when you grew up? Chances are, the position you once dreamed of working in changed multiple times before you even graduated from university.
When you initially embarked upon your career path, the professional world was an unknown land of possibility. As you gained experience, your ambitions and preferences may have very naturally shifted with time. A second career provides you with the opportunity to curate an additional life path that incorporates all you’ve learned about yourself in the professional sphere.
- What skills do you still wish to learn?
- What field has intrigued you over the years?
- What do you appreciate about your current career?
- What bothers you about it?
All of these are crucial questions you can ask yourself as you brainstorm what your next step could be.
Research is critical
If you are looking to transfer into a field that requires similar skillsets to your current one, start researching the qualifications you will need to obtain to get the certification or education necessary to make the transition. Night classes may very well be in your future, so do some research on your options for continuing education. Furthermore, if you have a connection in your field of interest, why not set up a lunch or quick coffee meeting to pick their brain? Take the initiative and make opportunities happen, rather than thinking that something will fall into your lap. The desire to learn has to be there.
It’s Not (Always) About the Money
When exploring other career options, the desire for a higher salary is often a primary driver. While this is completely natural, ensure that the job that comes with a projected bump in pay grade and won’t limit you for future growth.
To enter a second career is a big step, and it will be difficult to succeed in your new field if you simply detest the work. Furthermore, since you might be entering the job later in your life, there will be added pressure to perform at a higher caliber and build a strong reputation for yourself. If you find yourself failing to succeed in your new field due to something as basic as lack of passion, you’ll quite possibly end up regretting your choice to transition in the first place—even with the higher earnings.
Emotional Benefits are Valid
Despite cutthroat business mantras about making it to the top that pressure you to neglect your personal needs in favour of your career success, how you feel about your job is imperative to your success in the field. You wouldn’t make a decision in your personal life that made you unhappy, so why take a job that does?
While it is not only wise, but critical, to conduct a cost benefit analysis that will inform you if your career change makes financial sense, there are other factors besides money that are important to consider. When analyzing your options, be sure to include benefits such as upward mobility, satisfaction with the work, positive office environment, decreased stress, and expansion of knowledge and skill sets.
Similar to childhood ambitions of being an astronaut or veterinarian, there is a sense of wonder and anticipation that comes with brainstorming for a second career. Everyone is on the pursuit of happiness, and a mentally taxing career does not need to be an exception on this journey. Uncertainty accompanies the territory where major life changes lay. Trust your instincts, take the leap, and reap the personal and financial benefits that a second career can bring.
While your career path will most likely not take a linear one, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan your next step. Thinking about what your next career move will be is crucial to ensuring you are investing in yourself and staying ahead of the job market. Learn more about why the traditional career path is all but dead.