Career Pivot: 5 Steps to Seamlessly Change Careers Without Stressing OutReading time 5min
We’ve all been at that moment in our careers where we wondered if this is really what we want to do for the rest of our lives (or if there we could be doing something that would be more fulfilling in the long run).
There is no black and white answer or safety net guaranteeing you that having a career change will be a better alternative than your current job.
But if you’re considering a career pivot, know that there are ways you can avoid stress and prepare yourself for this exciting new step in your professional life.
What Is a Career Pivot?
As remote work gradually becomes a reality, career pivoting has become increasingly popular. Now the job offers and work possibilities are seemingly endless and it can get tempting to completely shift into a new career path.
And that’s exactly what a ‘career pivot’ means: Switching from one career path to a completely new one, with little to no experience in the area.
A 2021 survey carried out by Achievers Workforce Institute focusing on engagement and retention found that a surprising 36% of employees were considering changing careers in 2021 due to better compensation and corporate benefits, with 25% considering a shift for an improved work/life balance.
There are a variety of reasons why workers aspire for a career pivot. Joblist's Midlife Career Crisis survey reports on the top five reasons why people change careers:
- Better Pay: 47%
- Too Stressful: 39%
- Better Work-Life Balance: 37%
- Wanted a New Challenge: 25%
- No Longer Passionate About Field: 23%
So if you’re by any chance feeling professional burnout in any way, or simply if you’re planning to resign from your current job and pivot careers, follow our advised steps to avoid stress in the process.
How to Make a Successful Career Pivot
To successfully pivot into a new career, it’s important that you prepare yourself effectively in order to avoid feelings of stress or even impostor syndrome. Let’s go over some steps to consider before switching careers.
Start with your WHY
Are there any particular aspects of your current job that you love or hate? What are your current work dissatisfactions related to? Your responsibilities, management, company culture, or your colleagues?
Think about the following questions:
- Why do I want this?
- Why do I think this new career will make my life better?
- What are the downsides or risks?
Assess your interests and skills
At this point you’re probably more than aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Now it’s time to determine whether your core skills are being addressed through your current job. I bet many of your skills can be transferable across different career fields.
Make a plan
Once you understand the career path that you want to take, it’s time to make a strategic plan of how you are going to get there.
Do you need to update any skills? If yes, how? Will you be taking any online courses? Rather, are there any important hard skills that you still need to master to jump the wagon into the new career path that you want to take?
To be sure you comply with this, assign yourself daily or weekly tasks that will help you enhance the skills you need in order to make your career pivot.
Test drive your new career
Try it out before making the jump. A good way to test drive your new career path is by volunteering or offering freelance activities related to your target field to test your capabilities (and interest).
As an example: perhaps you’re interested in working with animals. A good way to try this out is by volunteering at an animal shelter.
Reach out to your connections
You most definitely know a pool of professionals in other fields that you could connect with to ask questions (and perhaps even find a mentor who can guide your career pivot – win win). A good way to do this is by networking with professionals who have the job you want.
Who knows? Perhaps the next person you talk to could be the one who helps you land your dream job.
How to Manage Stress When Making a Career Change?
It’s equally important to understand that it is absolutely normal to feel anxious or stressed whenever you consider a career pivot. Things are going to be different, and it is natural to feel jittery about what’s coming your way.
It is not uncommon to find yourself second-guessing your decision to leave your previous job. But don’t panic yet. Remember the reasons why you decided to change careers and be confident in your decision.
If you still feel uneasy regarding a career pivot, here are helpful tips for you to avoid stress when changing careers:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Get support from friends and family
- Clearly communicate questions or concerns with coworkers and managers on how to complete your work
- If your feeling anxious or overwhelmed, seek professional guidance from a therapist
View your coworkers as people, not robots
- You’d be surprised with how supportive new coworkers can be
- Consider getting to know them outside of a professional context – who knows, they might even become your new best friend
Don’t forget to breathe
- Proactively take time away from work to consciously breathe
- Get up, stretch, elongate your body, and allow your muscles to relax
Keep a routine outside of work
- Don’t forego the gym or physical activity that brings you joy
- Implement healthy sleep and eating habits
- Try going to social events (if that’s your thing)
Remember the learning curve
- Keep in mind everyone was once new and had to start somewhere
- Managers understand there is a learning curve to master any new position
- Learn from your mistakes and improve as you go
Ready For Your Career Pivot?
Whenever planning a completely different career path, it’s important to be open minded. It’s not always easy to restart from scratch, especially when you feel you are older than your peers, but that should not discourage you from switching careers if this is something that you want.
Perhaps you will have to take on roles that may be a bit junior to your liking. But keep learning, keep going forward as you never know what the next step in your career path will be.