You may be familiar with this experience. You’re uninspired at your current job, coming to work every day is difficult, and you’re itching for something new. You’re unhappy with your circumstances, but the thought of changing careers makes your palms sweat and your heart race.
Why is it so hard to change careers? How can you cope with the decision to change careers? This post will explain aspects of changing careers that have the potential to make it difficult, as well as provide tips for coping with career change.
Why a Career Change is Difficult
We know that change is a constant in life. But, that doesn’t always make the experience of change any easier!
There are numerous reasons changing careers is difficult:
- Finding a New Job – There’s a difference between browsing job listings for fun as you daydream about a different career and applying to some of those listings. The job search is a struggle! During COVID, many people questioned their career choices and looked for other options. You may spend hours looking for positions that intrigue you, only to find the details on the job description are unsuitable for you.
- The Stress of the Change – Any time you’re faced with the unknown, you question your ability to adjust. A new job is certainly an adjustment, especially if you’re moving locations, making an industry change, or taking on more responsibility.
- Pondering Your Choices – You may wonder if it’s wise to change jobs or industries given your age or place in life. If you’ve spent the majority of your life working in a particular career, you could fear losing the progress you’ve made.
- Competition – Now more than ever, there is more access to job applications. With increased technology, people can apply for jobs from around the world. This access means that the labor market is more diverse and skilled than ever before. You might be nervous about competing against people with more experience.
- Uncertainty – Anytime you step into the unknown, you can feel nervous due to the possibility of unforeseen circumstances. You may question the stability of the new job and wonder if you will be successful at it. This uncertainty can cause hesitancy.
- Fear of Fit – If you’ve gone through the steps to get a new job, you may worry that you won’t even like it! Being a new person in a workplace or new career can be frightening. You may wonder if you’ll get along with your coworkers, if you’ll like your boss, or if you’ll be good at the new job.
The decision to change careers can be a difficult one. But if you’re reading this post, you’re most likely in a place where you’ve thought about changing careers for a reason.
How to Know When It’s Time to Change Jobs
You’ve browsed job postings, and some of them pique your interest. They sound fulfilling and challenging, which doesn’t describe your current job experience. How do you know when you hate your job, and it’s time to change careers versus when you’re experiencing a rough patch?
Check in with yourself and see if any of these apply to you:
- You feel undervalued
- You work in an unhealthy environment
- Your current work is not your passion
- There are no opportunities for growth
- Stress from your job is affecting your health and personal life
- You’re underpaid, or, conversely, you’re sticking around for the money only
- You’re unhappy
- You’re daydreaming about a new career
Any reason you come up with to change careers is worthy of your consideration. Still, those listed above are some of the common experiences people deal with before they decide to initiate the change.
Coping With Career Change
Being able to cope with career change requires some preparation. To be fully present in a new career path, what are some things you can do to prepare? Do you need to relocate or go back to school? Should you meet with a career specialist or a mental health professional specializing in career counseling? Do you need to allow yourself to experience the joy of the excitement of beginning a new job?
Tips for coping with the stress that career change can bring:
- Embrace New Opportunities – Allow yourself to experience the anticipation and excitement of this new opportunity. You might feel nervous, which is expected. If, at any time, you become overwhelmed by your feelings of nervousness, consider reaching out to a mental health professional that specializes in your situation.
- Communicate More – During times of uncertainty, make more effort to communicate your needs to those around you, including your support system and your new employer. Being transparent in your experiences as you cope with career change may have you thinking you’ll come off as unknowledgeable. But honesty and detailed communication will only help you in the long run as it builds trust with new coworkers and employers.
- Accept More Than You Resist – Try to practice patience with yourself and others as you navigate career changes. Accept challenges with the knowledge that you won’t necessarily know all the answers.
- Practice Positive Thinking – As you take on new responsibilities, shift your daily tasks, and get used to a new role, remember to keep your thoughts about yourself and your abilities positive. It’s easy to list the things about yourself that you want to change, specifically when taking on a new challenge. Consider adding positive affirmations to your daily routine to challenge negative thinking patterns.
- Reach Out for Support – Your support system will continuously remind you of your strengths and support you when your weaknesses cause challenges. Lean on your friends and family during this transition.
- Speak to a Counselor – If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotional experience during your career transition, seek support from a mental health professional, like a career counselor. There are therapists specializing in job-related stress, anxiety, and confidence-building.
How Counseling Can Help
Counseling and therapy can help you in many aspects of your life, but major life changes are cause for professional mental health support if you feel you need it.
Your counselor will work with you to address any issues in thinking, communication, or behavior that might make your work more difficult. Your specific challenges may stem from past trauma, which mental health professionals can help you address and work through.
Your therapists can also help you assess your interests, skills, and values that assist you in making the right choices for you regarding your career path. If there’s a specific skill you need to work on or a resource you need, your counselor can help you.
Ultimately, your therapist is there to support you. They serve as a supportive connection to make sure you have the tools to be confident in your life. This continuing support can help you manage challenges as they arise.
Use All Counseling for Help
If you or someone you know is having difficulty considering a career change, All Counseling can help you connect with a therapist. Our easy-to-use directory can help you find a counselor in your area to help you reach your potential and cope with the change that a new career brings.