Handing the ‘change in career change’ can be stressful and messy. At some point, most career changers (me included) wish for an epiphany. Enough already with the fear and uncertainty. Just bring on the light bulb moment that magically unveils our marvellous new career.
Early in my career change, I hoped I’d wake up one morning knowing exactly what to do. I stared at a wall papered with post-it notes, willing it to reveal my ideal job.
Neither of those things happened for me.
Career change epiphanies are rare. Mostly it’s a matter of figuring and finding out, and exploring and experimenting. So, what if we swapped waiting for light bulb moments for seeking out things and people to spark our shift?
Could a cloud of career change fireflies or string of fairy lights be less flashy but more illuminating than a single bolt out of the blue?
If you’re in the dark about how to change careers, these illuminating tips may help.
Waiting or searching fo a single spectacular bolt of career change insight can blind you to a host of small, sparky clues that can light your way.
Focus too fully on finding the ‘next big thing’ and you’re liable to lose sight of two of your biggest career change assets, curiosity and a sense of adventure. If your radar isn’t set for curiosity and happenstance. you’re likely to miss these tiny illuminating blips as they flash across your path.
While they won’t zap you like a legendary light bulb moment, they’ll gently pique your curiosity. They’ll whisper in your ear, stir your gut or perk up your ears. Wherever you sense them, they’ll be saying, ‘this is fun, this feels like us, let’s see where this goes.’
Career change calls for a mix of forensic digging, and free range foraging. Finding fireflies and fairy lights is a foraging job. You need to suspend expectation and judgement and trust that whatever turns up is worth a look. As the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, suggests,
‘Follow your curiosity… what it gives you is clues on the incredible scavenger hunt of your life’
Start by ‘looking less hard’. Career change clues turn up when you least expect them.
They’ll be glowing quietly in places that calm or energise you. Your home office, or garden, your favourite cafés or businesses, your regular run or cycle route, or your yoga class.
Other times they flare up when you read or watch or do something so absorbing you find yourself in flow. A Facebook group that shares your love of language, a wildlife documentary, a community meeting to organise a street festival, an online excel workshop that supercharges your spreadsheet skills.
They can also multiply fast.
Give a single sparky idea the nod, and its mates usually arrive. An article on portfolio careers snares your interest. A former colleague emails you the details of a part time role in your industry. You pluck up courage to attend a networking breakfast and come away with three new contacts.
Simply paying attention to a single spark can generate intriguing ideas. Corral your career change fireflies or string the fairy lights together, and you’ll amp up your energy and expand the scope of your explorations
Talk it up
Very often I’m the first person my clients have talked to about changing careers. Naturally, I’m delighted that they’re trusting my coaching expertise and experience. But, early in our sessions, we talk about who else they could be talking to.
Never underestimate how many humans hold one or more of your light bulbs. Certainly, your career change cheer squad or your indispensable accountability buddy are great sources. There are also countless, kind, connected others happy to have a lively chat, point you forwards with a promising lead or share their experience of the good, the great and the gruesome in a role you’re keen to explore.
Once you get off Google and into the real world, you’ll meet lots of like-minded people whose stories and ideas can inspire you and give you direction. Hopefully, you’ll also encounter some irritating or confronting ones who’ll provoke you, challenge your thinking and show you where you definitely do not belong.
Freeing yourself from the pressure of seeking a singular, defining light bulb moment can be a huge relief. It makes it easier to stay curious and flexible and to retain your sense of adventure. When small sparky career change ideas pop up, you’ll spot them and their mates and put them to work.
By Jo Green, Career Change Coach
I know that when you find what you love, heart and soul, your life changes. I work every day with people who are reshaping their current careers, starting new enterprises or searching for a new direction. Basically I help people who don’t like their job to figure out what to do instead!
As a Careershifters and Firework Advanced Certified Coach and experienced career changer myself, I can help you figure out what fulfilling work looks like for you.