7 Steps To Your Midlife Career Change

Precontemplation

1.Disbelief: You are unconvinced of the need to change career.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Your New Career SignAm I happy about my current job and my career path? Am I fulfilled in my career? Am I appreciated for my personal career contribution? Am I the person I believe I can be? Am I fully alive, having quality time every day at work and outside of work to share with family and friends? Am I confident of my future career success?

If the answer is yes to all of the above, then you probably don’t need to change career.

If the answer is no to several of the questions above:

Read inspirational stories of people who have changed career.

Speak to others who have changed career.

Talk to your family and friends about your dissatisfaction with your present career. Listen to their thoughts about the risks to your mental and physical health of continuing as you are versus the long term benefits of changing career.

Contemplation

2.Belief but uncommitted. You believe you should change career, but cannot get started.

Visualize yourself as a new person. How do you feel about yourself? What do you look like in your new career? How have the attitudes of those around you changed? How much more energy do you have?

Add up all the benefits. How will the reduction in stress affect your health? How will the mental stimulation and challenge improve your emotional wellbeing? Visualize the social and economic possibilities?

Be realistic about the alternatives. How many years work do have left in you? Do you want to spend them doing what you are doing now? How will that make you feel in 5 years, 10 years, when you retire? Will you be satisfied that making no decision was the right decision? Would you rather be active in seeking your next career, or passive and wait for something to come along that might suit you? Which is more likely to be successful?

Preparation

3.Active planning. You are actively planning your new career.

Set a start date.

Set small achievable goals. Even if it is only minutes a day, try to do something every day that takes you closer to achieving your next career.

Make a detailed plan, including scheduling time for your career change activities (research, networking, letter writing, changing your resume, part time study)

Be specific. When, for how long and where will each task or activity be done. What contingency plan do you have if your first choice college has no places available, you are given the brush off by someone you hoped would help you, your current workload increases and you have less time to spare, you are made redundant, get sick, or have some other spanner thrown into the works? What will you do to regain your momentum and get back on track?

Enlist support. Let your friends and family know your plans, ask for their help and advice.

Set goals. Make them realistic, achievable and set a time limit. Use them to encourage yourself that you are making the right decision and to keep your interest levels high. If you are planning on becoming a programmer, set a goal of writing a small application by a particular date. If you want to be a scientist, design an experiment, perform it and write up the results and your interpretation. If your dream is to be an organic gardener, dig out a small vegetable patch and plant some seeds or seedlings, and make a salad with your first crop. You should enjoy these tasks –they are what you believe you want to do with your life. If you are not enjoying them, but onlylooking forward to completing them, reassess your career choice – are you sure this is what you want to do? If they are a chore now, then you may be on the wrong path.

Believe in yourself do not allow any obstacles in your path to stray you from your course.

Action

4.Active engagement. You are currently engaged in pursuing your career change.

Keep a journal of your progress.

Reward yourself every week. Dinner with your family at your favorite spot, a movie, a few hours of kite flying at the beach or anything you feel is a treat.

Maintain a positive attitude towards your progress.

Be consistent.

Make your activities and tasks a daily habit, like brushing your teeth.

Don’t worry if you miss a day. Make it up tomorrow.

5. Visualize Your New Career.

You are not only changing your career, you are creating a new image for yourself. You see yourself as a trainee chef, student engineer, apprentice landscape gardener, research assistant.

Visualize the paradigm shift. You should be trying to define yourself by your actions – you are a programmer, farmer, scientist.

Subscribe to magazines or journals that reinforce your new image.

Seek others who are involved in the same or similar careers.

Maintenance

6. Maintenance.

You have a new self image and only severe setbacks such as illness or injury will deter you from keeping up your new career.

Make a backup plan for setbacks.

Continue to refine your goals. Are you studying/training for the new career only? Would you like to set some related goals? What other areas in your life can be improved at the same time?

7. The new you. You are a new person.

Expand your horizons by seeking more knowledge about your new career.

Help others to become whole by introducing them to your techniques.

Consider writing about your experiences.

Maintain your progress diary.

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