People Don’t Quit Enough
By Echo Xiong
More than half of the people in Australia have changed careers, and among those who want to switch jobs, two-thirds have no idea where to start.
Aside from being described as ‘a leap into the unknown’ or ‘a big gamble’, the decision can be quite rewarding according to Edwin Lane from Business Daily, BBC World Service radio, who interviewed John McAvoy, a former criminal turned pro athlete, and Lucy Kellaway, a former journalist who is now a teacher.
Are you thinking about starting something new? Here are a few things that can help you get on the right track.
If you are reading this, it is a sign that you are thinking about quitting your job. However, what is the right time to do it?
‘Leave the party when you are still having a good time.’ Lucy Kellaway said that this applies to careers too. Two years ago, she ‘threw away’ her successful career in journalism and decided to become a teacher, and that was when she felt she could not get any better being a journalist and there was more in life.
Staying in a job that is not fulfilling is the main reason why people have decided to make a change. Job searching website Seek listed seven signs that indicate it is time to change jobs, including poor or no work-life balance, not being appreciated, and not feeling challenged.
Some people may be waiting for a wake-up call or a moment when they feel a sudden impulse to leave their jobs. However, it is more of a build-up process, in which case you should take the initiative to make the decision, instead of waiting to be pushed to the corner.
If you do not feel motivated to get out of bed, now is the best time to change careers.
The next step is to sit down with yourself and carry out an honest self-assessment, which includes understanding your skills, accomplishments, passions, and limits.
You can start with a good review of your career, list what kinds of work you like, and research career options either online or via speaking to those who are in the industry. These will give you more perspectives.
However, before jumping to any conclusion, you also need to understand your financial and lifestyle limits. In her late 50s, Lucy Kellaway chose to become a teacher because she said she was in a situation where she had the financial security to start at the bottom of the ladder.
Labour market economist John Philpott pointed out that the challenge facing mid-life career switchers is age discrimination, meaning that the employers will be less invested in you when you get older. Well, does it mean that your decades of experience are worthless? No! Your experience gives you transferable skills.
John McAvoy is a former armed robber who became a record-breaking rower. From behind the iron bars to becoming the ironman, he said he realised that his skills to organise crimes are transferable. In his case, it was his talent for endurance.
You may not have direct experience in your new dream jobs, but you definitely possess several of the following traits:
These are skills that are helpful across different areas. All you need to do is think about how they can be transferred to your next job and proved invaluable to your next employer.
When searching for new jobs, why not get some new skills to close the gap in your skillset? You can achieve this by using free resources online, volunteering at relevant organisations, or undertaking further study.
What’s even better, there are also free online certifications you can add to your resume to make you a strong candidate, which include:
Yes, it is an intimidating decision, but according to Freakonomics professor Steven Levitt’s online experiment, those who made the changes are happier.
‘People don’t quit enough’. When people ask him what to do, he said the right answer seems always to be – ‘Make the change’.
Give yourself a chance to make a difference in a new industry and embrace your unique journey. ‘The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new’