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The 5 Great Misconceptions about Changing Careers

Posted on May 8, 2018 by Ulrich Schild

It is estimated that the average person changes careers at least five to seven times during their lifetime. Most people, however, are bombarded with concepts, misconceptions, and myths around the idea no matter how big or small one’s desired career transition is.

So, I’ve listed the top 5 misconceptions professionals from all walks of life believe about changing careers — and what the reality is.

1. There’s one tried and tested way to change careers

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of on and offline advice on the subject of changing careers. But, often, these recommendations make the shift look easy and simplify the whole process. Moreover, a lot of these ‘tried and tested’ ways do not take into consideration any of the unexpected circumstances that could possibly derail plans.

Which is why, the only tried and tested way to change careers is to not look for a foolproof way to do it – focus instead on creating your own path to a new career based on what you find most helpful. To this end, career coaches are of great help especially for starters. But, like all transitions, it remains a very personal experience.

2. You need to have everything planned out

Some people decide they want to do something different and voilà – they make the career change. Unfortunately, for most of us, life is a bit more complex and not as straight forward. In fact, for most of us, life is a bit messy.

There is no way for you to choose a new career until you try it out. The fastest way to find what you want to do is to try what seems like a good idea: job shadowing. Do it on the side, take a course, or enrol in regular classes (not an entire new degree!). You will discover that the journey will determine the destination, and not the other way around.

3. Changing careers requires a lot of money

While it definitely helps to have some money saved, people change careers regardless of how much money they make. We are incredibly lucky to have access to more information than ever from finding free information online to talking to people you meet at events, friends of friends, LinkedIn… the sky is the limit!

You can do a lot even with no budget, so don’t let it stop you from doing what you want. Be resourceful and use the lack of money instead as a motivation to take the leap.

4. You need to be a business genius if you want to start your own business

Psst… I have a secret to tell you. Very few people are “good at business” when they start. I started 2 businesses and failed. I started again and, on my 3rd run, took all the learnings from my previous failures to create a successful service business in Perth and Sydney.

Don’t let your lack of knowledge stop you. Take it instead as an imperative to learn more about it. And if you can, start your business on the side and learn by doing. Then, when you’re ready, you can take the plunge and go full-time.

5. Your life will be ruined if the career change does not work out.

When I was made redundant from my job in 2011, I took a big break and spent 6 months to learn everything I wanted to know about operating a business.

I signed up for 3 different courses at different institutes and, all the time, I doubted it. Guess what? After graduation, some of the students I had studied with started successful businesses, some started ok businesses, and some started a business and failed while the rest realised that having a business was not for them.

Changing careers is different for everyone. After the course, my classmates walked away with big learnings. They all grew and each and every one of them are still alive and well. In other words, when you embark on your journey to change careers, you will grow so much that you will be able to use what you learned no matter what.

So, don’t hesitate. Go DO IT, and always remember to hunt wisely!

Ulrich Schild

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