Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash
So how is your career change going? How much time have you spent on it recently, and how much of that has been online?
Think about it for a minute – how many hours have you spent ‘just having a quick look’ at job sites? How many commutes have you spent reading career change blogs and articles? How many Sunday evenings have been spent googling ‘finding your passion’?
I get it - the internet is so vast that the perfect piece of information, the perfect job must be out there. Somewhere. Maybe if you read one more article, it’ll be the one that makes a difference. (and yes, I do get the irony of writing a career change article about not reading too many career change articles…)
And now, think about it again, what actual, tangible benefit have you got from all of those articles, all that job site scrolling? I guess, since you are reading this article, the answer is very little….
Now don’t get me wrong, the internet is a wonderful tool, but it is also a wonderful distraction device – and could it be keeping you distracted from the real things that will help you get closer to the work life you want?
Googling, scrolling, doing ‘research’ are all easy things to do. You can do them sat in your PJs at home, with a glass of wine. Firmly within your comfort zone. That networking event? That volunteer role you saw advertised? That new gym class / language class / cookery class? Definitely not in your comfort zone.
But that’s the trouble with making changes in your career, they aren’t easy (or everyone would do them). Making decisions about your career is going to require you to put on your big girl / boy pants and stretch out of your comfort zone. If your new dream role was easy to find, you would have found it by now, so it’s time to stop googling and do something different.
Still thinking about googling your career decisions?
I’m guessing you probably fall in to 1 of 2 camps – the new role searcher, or the career changer…..
The new role searcher – “My perfect job is out there. Somewhere. It must be…. ”
How many hours have you spent looking on job sites in the last few months? And how many times have you read a job description that looks amazing and thought “I don’t have x,y,z so no point in applying”?
Now consider this statistic – 75% - 80% of jobs are never advertised. That is huge! So just think about your idea of the perfect role for you, the one that excites you, that makes you jump up and down? The chances are that its not going to be on a job site. And if (by some small miracle) it is on a job site, and you happen to see it, you may not match the specification exactly, you may not have the "perfect" CV for the role.
This doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be amazing at the job, it doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t get an interview. But it would be tougher to get that foot in the door... Surely there has to be a better way?
The career changer – “I don’t know what I want to do - I’m still doing research…”
Ahhh, “research”, that old chestnut. You can spend hours, days and months doing research, and it can give you a sense that you are doing something, but actually, nothing has changed when you shut the laptop. You are still in the same position you were before, you’ve just filled your head with more stuff.
In many things in life, the more information you have, the better choice you will be able to make – fixing washing machines, booking holidays. I get it – changing career is a big decision, who wouldn’t want to get as much information as possible? But the things is, finding out what makes you tick, the things that light you up, that make you jump out of bed in the morning – the things you want from your new career – these cannot be found by googling. These are feelings, and the only way to get feelings about things is to experience them….
Which leads me nicely on to a couple of quick tips around what to do instead of googling your career change….
1) Expand your reality - Say yes – if someone invites you to something, say yes! I’m not suggesting you fill up your calendar with every invitation going (that way lies exhaustion and burnout) but think about things you might want to try out, the kind of people you might want to hang out with and go for it. You never know who you might meet or what you might find out.
2) Talk to someone new – now this is where the internet might come in handy. Find someone who does something you are interested in, or who inspires you, or who does the job you would love to do, and say hello. Send them a message, invite them for a coffee, hop on the phone with them. You may only get 10 minutes of their time, but those 10 minutes could answer more questions that 10 months of googling.
If you’ve just looked at the ideas above and thought ‘nah, no way, not yet’ then I have one last piece of wisdom to share – any action you can take is better than none at all. Read a new book, listen to a new podcast, walk home a different way from the office / nursery / supermarket. Changing your perspective on everyday things could spark something that leads you down a whole new line of thinking.
What I’m saying, in a nutshell, is try something new, what have you got to lose?
If you’d some support in taking action in your career change, please click here to arrange a free 20 - minute Discovery call, where we can discuss your career to date, your hopes for the future, and how we can work together. I also run a free Facebook group, the Returnity Lounge, for women looking for develop their career and find work that works for them and their families – click here to join.