If you are starting to feel that career change itch… that nagging thought growing louder and louder: “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life,” you are not alone.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the average person entering the workforce in 2010 are projected to face seven career changes in his or her lifetime. This is certainly a transformation from the days when our grandparents were retiring from 40 years with the same company. So, what has changed? Well, it’s not just one singular factor:
As the United States struggled through a major recession from 2007-2009, job stability decreased. More than ever, workers had to move outside of their career fields to maintain a job. This opened a door for job applicants to translate work experience from one industry into skills for another industry. In the teaching field, we have found that the ability to transfer skills is one of the most valuable abilities that a teacher can offer.
As we experience a shift from a “department-store” culture to a generation of consumers who fit into unique niche segments, we are also seeing an increase in specialized career choices. We see this even in the teaching field. There are no more General Education certifications. Teachers must show knowledge and skills for teaching very specific subject areas within defined grade levels.
People want to love what they do
This is probably the most intrinsic influencer of career change, and it can be the scariest. If you have stability in an unhappy occupation, it can be a lot harder to make that leap. Many people live their lives in a job that they hate because it is practical and pays the bills. Gallup News Service says that only 32% of workers truly love what they do, 61% of those that loved their jobs, said that they would keep their jobs even if they won the lottery. Don’t you want to love your job that much?
Who are these people that love their jobs so much? According to Gallup:
Those who love their jobs are more likely to say they enjoy working with children (a substantial portion of these workers are teachers and social workers).
It is possible that the high satisfaction among government and non-profit workers is due to the more service-oriented nature of work performed by… teachers, social workers, protective services, etc. — as compared with private sector employees.
Of course, we agree. That’s why we work to help people become teachers. But, we also see ourselves as liaisons to career change. We help future teachers plan the transition, everyday, and we have learned a thing or two.
A Guide to Career Change
You’re thinking about making that jump… for whatever reason. Don’t jump too fast. If you want to successfully move into a more fulfilling job, there are a few things you should do:
Take the time to assess.
This means reflecting on yourself as well as your new career. There is a wealth of free assessment tools out there that can help you decide what jobs might be right for you. We really like MyNextMove. This tool takes into account the level of enjoyment you get out of your individual skills. Monster also has a list of several other assessment tools.
Get the training.
If you want to move into a field that requires training or professional certification, don’t let that stop you. Find a training option that is flexible and can fit into your schedule. Look into your local community college for night classes or research an online university or program that offers the flexibility if you need to keep working while you prepare for your career change. In the case of education, there is nothing more unfortunate than a potentially excellent teacher who is stuck in different job, because they don’t have the time to get a certificate. We solved that problem with an Online Teacher Certification Program that offers an alternative route to certification. People who want to teach don’t have to go back onto a campus for 2 years to make it happen. You would be surprised at the number of vocational training programs out there that offer this type of flexibility. You just have to do the research.
Make a financial plan.
It’s hard to be successful in a new career when you are struggling to make ends meet. In the transition from one occupation to another, you are bound to experience financial changes. The best way to beat them is to be prepared. This means something different for everyone and there are several questions to consider:
- Will you be moving to a career that pays LESS in wages but MORE in gratification? You will want to plan for long-term expense changes that will allow you to continue saving for retirement. For a start, check out Lifehack’s 30 Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses.
- Do you need additional training or certification to make a change? Look into funding options to help manage your budget or talk to the school about paying as you go. We help our teacher candidates to reach their goals by setting up incremental payments and providing funding options.
- Do you need a guide to help you navigate through your finances? Talk to a financial planner to help you make a budget by exploring options based on your current financial climate. Companies like SoFi specialize in managing student loan debt, mortgage, insurance, and assets to let you stay practical.
Change can be scary – even when you are fully prepared. Remember that the greatest opportunities lie behind doors that are not yet open. If you are thinking about taking the leap, make sure you are making a calculated choice. If you know you want to become a teacher, we can help.