Posted on September 14, 2020 at 04:29:11 PM
It is an understatement to say that many careers have been disrupted this year due to the pandemic. Recent unexpected events have interrupted our routines and jolted us out of our comfort zones, leading many to ask big questions about what matters and what’s worth doing. The world of work will probably look completely different when the pandemic ends, with many jobs disappearing forever. For those who were considering a career change before COVID, the current break in the action is a great time to rethink goals and objectives that may no longer seem relevant.
In an April 2020 article in Harvard Business Review, Herminia Ibarra discusses the emotional experience of “liminality;” the time of “existing betwixt and between a past that is clearly gone and a future that is still uncertain.”
She describes how this period of time can be unnerving because you can feel unmoored, oscillating between holding on to what’s familiar and letting go of the past in order to move on. Ibarra, who has studied career changes for the past 20 years, indicates that liminality is a necessary part of the career-change journey because it provides the opportunity to process complex emotions and conflicting goals without shutting down and missing the opportunities that lie ahead.
Some things to consider before embarking on a career change journey:
- Do you really want to change careers or do you just hate your job? Sometimes it’s not what you’re doing that’s the problem but rather the environment where you’re doing it.
- Are you prepared to take a step back? The most difficult reality about changing careers is that it usually involves taking a step back in salary and seniority.
- Can your current network help you make this change? Since your existing network is related to your current career, branching out and connecting with those doing the type of work you’re interested in is key. Additionally, these individuals can provide insight and help you make a good decision about your prospective move.
- Do you have the requisite degrees or certifications required for the career you’re considering? For example, if you’re looking to transition into a healthcare career, additional formal training in that area may be a prerequisite for landing your desired job.
The path to a new career is rarely linear and the current business climate guarantees that the path to your next career will be circuitous. To survive the process, take the time to imagine a divergent set of possible futures and embrace the process.
If you would like to learn more extensively about how to navigate a career change, contact me for professional job search or career counseling that can make all the difference as you reimagine your world of work.