A successful career requires ample preparation. Some parents even go as far as readying their children from when they are toddlers. They provide them with educational toys for kids relevant to engineering, medicine, or whatever profession these parents deem most potentially beneficial for their offspring.
When the children are old enough to go to school, they are sent to the best academic institutions. That is not only to suffuse their minds with all the knowledge they need but also to pad their social and cultural capital.
After graduation, internships come next. These allow the on-floor practice of whatever competencies former students have honed after more than a decade of formal education. This is where professionals begin to make their mark in their chosen field, which hopefully proves sufficient to take them places career-wise.
But even the most dedicated professionals will, at some point, feel alienated from their work. When such a crucial turning point comes, it’s vital to know whether it’s something that can be remedied by taking time off work or pursuing a drastic career change as part of self-development.
Burnout is not a myth
Burnout is real. It’s not an imagined phenomenon. And everyone is susceptible to it. But to high-achieving individuals, burnout often comes unexpectedly, thus making the condition especially potent.
Professionals with a type A personality are so used to working long hours and assuming such heavy workloads that they tend to become oblivious to the insidious clutches of burnout. That is until it’s a full-blown condition. ;
Burnout may include symptoms such as insomnia, impaired concentration, physical symptoms such as palpitations, loss of appetite, depression, and anger, among others. In general, burnout triggers the following:
- Physical exhaustion
- Emotional fatigue
- Detachment and cynicism
- Feeling of incompetence
These symptoms could easily be interpreted as losing interest in one’s job. Therefore, the need to shift careers. But professionals need not be hasty. Time off work for rest and recreation could remedy the problem, and that’s something most employers will not deny their staff, especially those that have a proven record of exemplary performance, at least before burnout.
Now, if rest and recreation do not do their job, that’s the time professionals should seriously reconsider the career path they are taking. This could be a daunting challenge, but it must be done, not only for the sake of a person’s future economic prospects but their sanity as well.
Thankfully, one can derive inspiration as well as words of caution from success stories about a career change. For instance, the story of one career-shifter named Stephen Satterfield. He used to work as a restaurant manager before pursuing publishing.
Stephen established a food magazine called Whetstone. After various setbacks and challenges, the business eventually gained momentum. Stephen’s word of wisdom for those considering shifting career is there are no shortcuts. According to him, it’s not a sprint but a marathon.
Such simple advice makes so much sense. Stephen followed his heart but had to work hard too for his vision to come to fruition. Yes, following your calling is just the first step of a long, demanding, but potentially rewarding journey.
Taking the leap
The average age for people who have made dramatic career shifts is 39 years old. This can be explained by the fact that at this age, professionals have learned enough from their current careers but are still far from the age of retirement.
For someone hovering around that golden age in shifting careers, remember that while the leap is ready for the taking, it must not be done blindly. Proactiveness is crucial so the leap lands on solid ground.
Before taking the leap, consult legitimate data. Labour statistics are accessible online and perusing these numbers helps. They will give insight into whether a particular industry will see growth in the next couple of years or if it’s expected to conduct intensive hiring, among other information. Wage information about specific industries may be derived from labour data as well.
It’s also vital to check essential requirements before being allowed to practice a profession or pursue a specific career. For example, selling houses require the seller to be a licensed real estate agent.
Changing careers is not one of those things that can be taken with a grain of salt. It’s an important life decision that requires level-headed attention and reflection. Shifting careers out of a whim could derail a professional’s personal and financial growth, without offering a foolproof path to success. Here, self-awareness is crucial. Know thyself, as the old saying goes. If that’s adequately settled, the rest will follow.