Six things holding you back from changing career (and how to overcome them)

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Hate your job? Can’t bear the idea of countless decades doing the same unfulfilling work? Dreaming of a lottery win so you can chuck it all in?

We wish you the best of luck. But the odds of winning the jackpot currently stand at one in 45million. So you have a far better chance of happiness if you start thinking seriously about changing careers.

And believe us, you’re not alone. At Shillington, the desire to change careers is one of the main reasons people sign up to our graphic design courses, so we know a fair bit about the subject. In this article, we look at five things that typically hold people back from making a career change, and how to overcome them.

1. Fear

"I won't be good enough. People will laugh at me. I’ll fail."

Whether you’re young or old, everyone has that little voice in their head. It’s perfectly natural to have doubts and anxieties; they’re what stop us from doing really stupid things, like playing on the train tracks or driving without a seatbelt. But in matters like this, where there’s no actual threat to life and limb, you just need to ignore them.

Yes, changing careers is going to be tough, but let's face it, so is anything worthwhile. And while nothing in life is guaranteed, people who have a real passion for something, and follow it with all their heart, rarely fail. In fact, they usually turn out to be the most successful ones.

It's also important to think about what might happen if you don't retrain. We only have one life: do you really want to reach the end and realise you’ve wasted it? Now that’s something you should really be afraid of!

2. Money

"The job I'd really like pays less than my current role. How will I cope?"

Indeed, if you’ve had a good income for a long time, it can be scary to say goodbye to it. But it’s a question of priorities. The idea that “money doesn’t buy happiness” may be a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason.

Cash is not the be-all and end-all of life, it's just a means to an end. And what end could possibly worth throwing your life away on a job you don’t enjoy? Is a new kitchen, exotic holiday or expensive car ever going to make up having an unfulfilled existence?

And conversely, if you woke up each morning with a spring in your step, looking forward to spending all day doing what you love, wouldn't you need less money overall to be happy?

3. Time

"I hardly have time to myself as it is! How will I find the time to retrain?"

Again, it’s a question of priorities. Maybe that Game of Thrones boxset can wait a while. Perhaps you'll meet up with friends a little less often (if they’re true friends, they’ll understand). And maybe, if you disable the social media apps on your phone for a bit, the world won’t actually come crashing down around you.

If you have a real passion for your new career, you'll probably find it surprisingly simple to fit your new life around retraining for it, because it will seem less like work and more like fun. And you won’t be alone. Every year, many people combine their day jobs with part-time courses, such as the nine-month part-time graphic design courses offered by Shillington.

4. It's too late

"I’m too old to switch careers."

That's simply not true! History is filled with famous people who changed careers late in life. Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist, before entering the fashion industry at the age of 40. Jonah Peretti was a schoolteacher before moving into media in his 30s, where he launched Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post. Grandma Moses, whose artworks exceed $1million in value, was a housekeeper and farm labourer before she started painting at 78. The list goes on.

So don’t tell yourself age has anything to do with; it’s just an excuse.

5. It's too early

"I've only been in your current career for a couple of years. Maybe I need to give it a little longer."

How long exactly are you going to give it? Three years? Four years? Five? By that time, you’ll probably have transitioned from saying “it’s too soon” to saying “it’s too late”!

The truth is, if it’s not working, it’s not working; and no amount of time will make much difference. Of course, only you know what will truly make you happy. But the very fact that you’re reading this article suggests that your current job is not it.

6. Status

"If I leave my job, people will think less of me"

We often don’t notice it, but social status is hugely important to us as humans. We tend to get that from our jobs, and if we’ve achieved a certain position, that tends to be extremely important to us, sometimes more than the money itself.

So facing the idea of walking away from a role, even if it’s a job we hate, can be a real wrench. Particularly as we associate retraining with going “back to school” and feeling much like a schoolchild again.

Let's take both those points in turn. Firstly, adult education is very little like going back to school. On Shillington’s graphic design courses, for example, the relationship between teacher and student is geared to replicating what takes place in a real-life design workplace. So you’re treated like an adult and an equal, much as should happen on any adult education course.

Secondly, it’s our experience that people in general in no way think less of you for switching careers mid-stream. Indeed, the fact that you’re taking charge of your life, steering it in a direction that suits you, not others, and having the courage and determination to press the ‘reset’ button, means they’ll almost certainly think more of you as a result. So what are you waiting for?

If you'd like to switch to a creative career in 2019, visit shillingtoneducation.com to learn about studying graphic design three months full-time or nine months part-time in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane.

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