You want a change. You know what you would rather be doing. However, everyone has discouraging advice that stops you from taking that important first step. How can you overcome the doubt and get started? Read on for advice to combat five common career myths.
Career Change Myth #1: You can’t make a living doing something you really, truly love
This is the grand-daddy of career myths, the belief that you cannot have a “practical” career while exploring your passion. That you have to choose one or the other.
This is foolishness rooted in fear. You do not have to sacrifice your happiness to make a living. Do you maybe have to adjust your expectations of course. Every job has its challenges, barriers, payoffs, and earnings potential. But please, Don’t buy into the idea that you cannot earn a living doing what you love.
When I first started writing, I heard from plenty of well-intentioned people that it would be tough to make a living doing this work. It is disheartening, but rather than be discouraged, I sought out writers who were successful, and learned from them.
Consider this question – As you look back on your life, what will you regret more? Following your passion or following your fears?
Career Change Myth #2: Changing careers is risky
A career change means leaving behind what you know to chase the unknown. Does it get any riskier? What if you cant get a job in the new field? What if you do, but dont like it?
When you change careers you leave behind a piece of your identity – your “I’m a carpenter” response to the “what-do-you-do?” question. It may feel like admitting to a mistake with your initial career choice. But is that the end of the world? Have you not learned and grown as a person and a professional from those choices, right or wrong?
Nothing absolutely nothing is a riskier career choice than not changing careers if you are longing to do so. Here’s why: The longing doesnt go away. It will always be there, under the surface, picking away and waiting for you to act on it.
Career Change Myth #3: There’s a perfect job out there for everyone
Its surprising how this belief can just eat at people. While some job seekers wont focus and try to appeal to everyone at once, others are far too focused. They just know deep inside, that there’s an ideal job out there that’s perfect for them. It fits their personality, skills, and interests to a tee. And of course, it pays well. They just need to find it.
But heres the catch there is no perfect job. Sorry. The good news, though, is there are more jobs than you can imagine that would be “perfect” for you. They are everywhere. If you missed one, there will be another.
Re-focus. Open your mind to realize there are many ways to reach your goal. Determine what you want and what that looks like in a job. Determine what you need (if anything) to land that job additional training? Updated resume or LinkedIn profile? Interview coaching? Instead of dwelling on the past, which you can’t change, vow to keep your eyes open and to look beyond the obvious.
Career Change Myth #4: Start by asking “What’s the best thing for me to do?”
No. Stop right now. This is one of the most common questions people ask when considering a career or job change. It seems logical but it is starting from the wrong place, and rarely leads you to the answers you are seeking. Instead, you will end up overwhelmed with options, or trying to choose what’s practical over what seems to be impractical.
To find the answers you need there is a much simpler question though it is perhaps harder to answer: “What do I really want to do?”
Career Change Myth #5: Ignoring your career dissatisfaction will make it go away
Honestly. If a strategy like this worked, wed all be happy. So why do we hear it so often? Possibly, because it can work at first. When you find yourself beginning to doubt your career choices, it is easy to push the thoughts aside and pretend they aren’t there. You bury yourself in your work or distract yourself with hobbies and projects in your free time, and pretend this is enough,
However, ignoring concerns and feelings of unhappiness never works in the long run. Over time, the random doubts become nagging thoughts. You spend more and more time daydreaming about career options. And you build a list of reasons to ignore your increasing job dissatisfaction:
You’re too old
You don’t want to take a pay cut
You don’t want to go back to school
You missed your opportunity 5, 10, or 15 years ago
Find a friend, family member, or career professional to help you identify and challenge these fears. Find a mentor or role model, in person or online, who has achieved what you want and can prove to you that it is possible.
And now, readers, your challenge: knowing that one or all of these myths may have been holding you back, what are you waiting for?