Take a look around and you’ll notice that the nature of work is changing. Where a job was once seen primarily as a means to pay the bills, enjoying a fulfilling career is now considered to be one of the main keys to a happy life. At the same time, people increasingly adopt more flexible, part-time or remote ways of working, while education and learning are becoming more modular, targeted and user-friendly.
In short, careers are no longer a lifelong decision. A survey carried out by Investec discovered that more than half of Brits were planning to change career in the next 5 years, while in the US it is estimated that the average person will reinvent themselves professionally 5-7 times throughout their working life.
If you’re less than enthusiastic about your current choice of career and have been harbouring a niggling desire to do something completely different, perhaps now is the time to explore how you really feel and whether you should make a change.
1. You’re bored and need a new challenge
Do you feel settled in your job, comfortable with your company and colleagues but no longer get excited about going to work? Are you stuck in a dead-end job with no career progression prospects in sight? Have you mastered your profession but lost the passion and feel like you’re just going through the motions?
If you’re the kind of person that needs to be mentally challenged and pushed to try new things, a career change may be exactly what’s needed to make you come alive again. Reinventing yourself on a new career path will encourage you to gain fresh knowledge and skills to spice up your professional life.
By way of example, take a look at this fascinating example of a woman who moved from being an art historian to an intellectual property lawyer and is now on her fourth career.
2. Your values are no longer the same
There are a lot of similarities between careers and relationships, and sometimes you just grow apart. Where once there was passion about your company’s mission and the drive to make a real contribution, it is possible that what you believed to be important in your early twenties may no longer tick your boxes aged 40.
People change for lots of reasons. Perhaps you are no longer motivated by money, preferring to make a difference in the world in other ways, or you now crave the financial stability you never thought was important before. Whatever your personal scenario, if your personal values no longer align with your occupation, a change of career may be the answer.
Here’s an inspiring story of a former Metropolitan Police Special Ops expert who had to reset his career after a brain tumour and rose from the ashes to become a successful training entrepreneur.
3. You want to be more in control of your time
It can be hugely frustrating if your career takes up so much time and energy that other important aspects of your life are suffering. Whether you’re juggling a full-time job with the demands of a young family, or wish you had more time to pursue a hobby you’re passionate about, perhaps it’s time to switch to a career that allows more flexibility and control.
Studies have shown that more people in Europe are opting for part-time work as the main job, so this may be an option for you. Priorities change and your career should be able to accommodate other needs too.
This working mother gave up a high flying career as a management consultant in order to start her own fashion business from home.
4. You want to follow your dreams
How far removed is your current occupation to the hopes and dreams you once had? Maybe you were a promising musician but the school careers adviser recommended that you take a business degree? Or you’ve always wanted to write a novel but have never had the time? With advancing years, there’s a growing realisation that time may be running out and you may forever regret the decision not to pursue your true passion.
Career decisions that were once made as practical, sensible choices may need to be reviewed, while new technology creates possibilities that weren’t there before. Why not start a blog as a first step towards a writing career? Or use social media and video platforms to showcase your creative output? If you have the talent and persevere, it is entirely possible to make a career out of doing what you love.
Take inspiration from this recent interview with Romesh Ranganathan whose career took him from maths teacher to becoming one of our best loved stand-up comedians.