I had an encompassing conversation with an acquaintance last week who felt stuck and thought that she needed a career move and was in a dilemma about how to proceed.
Most times, we experience the need to try something new, explore a new field, pivot to a new practice or move to a new industry entirely. A lot of times the reasons are justified, either it is the discovery of a new interest, weariness of an old job or glass ceilings that exists because of a filter. Career transitions are crossroads we would find ourselves in at different intervals.
According to Harvard education online research, 53% of professionals with less than 5 years experience in their current job are seeking a career transition while 47% of millennials would leave their current job to explore a new path. This is not exactly surprising as we are in a continuously evolving path with an array of novel fields.
While exploring a new field might seem exciting, the other side sometimes, is not necessarily ‘greener.’ Below are few things you should consider before making the next transition.
Are you ready to begin again?
Making a transition sometimes requires that you begin again, this time, more strategically. Sometimes it could be you leaving a managerial role and beginning as a trainee or an associate, learning under someone who you are probably chronologically older than or ahead of career-wise. Making a decision to transition means that you have to be open to learning from a different set of people.
Are there transferable skills?
According to a Mckinsey report published in 2017, people who pivot from engineering to investment banking and other finance-related roles perform excellently thanks to their abilities to think logically and systematically. Transferable skills are quite critical when making a career switch. A good architect would probably make an excellent product or creative designer because both fields have the elements of images and creativity in common. A mathematician might do well as an accountant and a lawyer might be a good research analyst. The nucleus of this point is that there is always an array of skills that might come in handy in the next career path you are looking to embark on.
Have you counted the cost of investment?
Venturing into a new field requires a lot of investment, not just of money but of time and energy. Either it is taking a professional course or studying for an examination, it is quite pivotal that you count the cost of pivoting and ensure you are willing to pay the price. From long hours of studying to attending conferences, meetings workshops and other things that enable an easy integration.
Are you transitioning for the right reasons?
Most people transition for the wrong reasons. A couple of times, a lot of people reach out to me about transitioning to HR because they love people or they love working with people. While these are good traits to possess, they are not exactly a direct indicator linking to HR. HR is beyond loving people, at a glance; it involves managing people and processes to achieve desired business objectives and organizational goals.
It is always paramount to ask why you are transitioning in order to ensure you ain’t creating false hopes for yourself.
Have you connected with people in the industry?
Networking with professionals in your intended industry opens you up to a lot of handful insights. Ask deliberate questions like:
- What does every day look like for you at work?
- What skills do I need to thrive in this industry?
- What excites you about your job?
- What challenges do you face every day?
These questions are light shining on the murky path of the new field you intend to explore.
You can also attend networking sessions, open-door events, conferences and other formal and informal gatherings that enable you connect with your prospective career-clime
Conclusively, transitioning into a new path is a lot of strategic planning, diligent execution and a discipline to stick through the process. It is important to count the cost while creating a support system that helps and guide you through the transition journey.