You’ve put so much time and effort into your career to date. You’re respected, you know your job well and you’d hate to have to start from scratch again. Renate shares how transitioning your career can help you avoid starting at the bottom. She will also cover how to be taken seriously in a completely new industry.
One of the scariest things about considering a move into a totally new field is the thought of being a beginner again. Where do you start?
Being the newbie doesn’t just affect you once you’ve landed an opportunity in your new career. The challenges and uncomfortable feelings begin right at the start.
You have an idea about what you want to do next and the feeling of being ‘an outsider’ or new to the industry/ role makes you nervous about applying for jobs. This shows in the way you network with people in the new field. You find yourself feeling not-good-enough (as in you don’t belong there) unimpressive and lonely. Psychologists call this the impostor syndrome*.
*Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be
The challenge, then, is to find a way to rid yourself of that impostor feeling. To become an ‘insider’ while you’re still transitioning into your new role. To equip yourself with the knowledge, confidence, and behaviours of an insider, before you’ve even started your career transition.
Sounds like a nice idea, right? But is it really possible? What if you’re pressed for time, working a full-time job? Won’t it take years?
In short, yes, it’s possible. And no, it doesn’t have to take years.
The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t just leave you feeling more confident and capable; it changes the way you connect with people who can help you make a shift. This in turn changes the way people see you, the opportunities you can bring, and the speed, effectiveness, and excitement of your career transition.
To start becoming an ‘insider’ in your chosen field, there is one very simple yet effective approach:
Stop Reading, START ACTING approach
Take action like an ‘insider’
“You are what you do” – a hugely controversial statement. Of course, what you do for a living doesn’t define you as a person (at least, it doesn’t if what you do isn’t aligned with who you are. The people who argue most strongly against the above statement are usually the ones who are doing work that doesn’t mean anything to them).
But you can start TAKING ACTION towards ‘being’ what you want to be without getting paid for it. I’d invite you to consider the idea that getting paid for something isn’t what makes you a credible member of that group of people.
Is a writer only a writer if they get paid to write, even if they write the most incredible fiction?
Is a natural salesperson only a salesperson if they get paid to sell? Or would you describe them as a salesperson based on the fact that every time they see you and tell you a story about their experience, you’re left dying to try out the holiday destination they told you about, or to get the same house appliance as they’ve just bought?
This process is about detaching the idea of work (and the status that doing that work gives you) from the idea of money. It’s about becoming an industry insider without the payslips.
If you’re worried about having to start from the bottom in your new job / industry, it’s probably because you feel under-qualified, under-experienced, and as though you’re an outsider to the field.
So what do you need to do to change that?
Having transitioned careers myself, this blog will share what’s worked for me. I’d encourage you to start thinking seriously about what and who you want to be.
Between now and Christmas, even if you’re working a full-time day job, I invite you to set a career goal and commit to TAKING ACTION. However small, this action will set the wheels in motion and give you momentum. You will build your confidence, gradually and step by step you will accomplish your goal. So, without overthinking it and allowing yourself time to make excuses I suggest the following steps:
- Take out a sheet of paper
- List the answers to the following questions:
- How would you spend your leisure time?
- What relevant networking events would you go to?
- Who would you choose to ask questions / share your goal with?
- What professional development classes, courses, or workshops would you attend, to further your expertise in your new field?
At ‘The Interview’ we encourage career changers to focus their time on finding ways to build relationships with people who work in their chosen industries and tackle the hidden job market rather than spending hours on job sites.
Why? Here are the top things we’ve discovered from working with thousands of career changers:
- What you’re looking for when you’re looking for a job is a new opportunity
- Opportunities only exist where there are people.
- As a career changer (who’s lacking in CV-worthy experience), it’s much easier for you to interest and motivate people to get to know you (and offer you an opportunity) in person than it is using the standard CV-and-cover-letter-sent-via-email-to-a-nameless-faceless-address approach.
So what is there to do?
Tame the fear that’s stopping you from taking action. However small, your action will always beat intention! Do not let this fear of failure or any mental barrier get the best of you. The more you think about it, the more likely you will come up with a reason for not doing it. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to try something new. What’s the worst that can happen if you fail? You will still be doing the same job you are doing now. So, no worse off. Nothing else will happen. However, if you don’t give this a go, I can guarantee you will be feeling guilty for not doing anything about it…and this will impact your family and work life, your mood, energy and appetite towards life. I challenge you to take a moment and reflect on this… What impact would you have on other people if you continued to do what you are doing now 10 years from now? How does it feel?
I am a great believer that “You create your life” through your daily choices and decisions. I hope that you will find the courage to start something bigger than yourself and enhance your quality of life. I believe you can overcome your current fear and create new opportunities for yourself. You will be more confident and fulfilled as a result. I will be sharing more on this during The Interview’s event at CBL on 29th November 2017.
Meanwhile, start deciding: what action are you going to take this week?
Here are the brave stories of others who have done something about it: Success stories of people like you
My gift to you ahead of Christmas is a personalised 1:1 complimentary 20 minute session to discuss your situation. Given my schedule I can only offer 3 spaces on first come-first served basis. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book your slot.
To Your Success,