Do you know the game ‘two truths and a lie?’

I’m going to share three career change statements about myself. Two of them are true and one of them will be a lie. You have to guess which the lie is, which career I haven’t had …

  1. When I was 18 years old, I rocked on the radio, I moved to The Seychelles to become a radio presenter and producer
  2. When I was 19 years old, I dazzled on the dance floor and was a backing dancer for the UK act at Eurovision held in Sweden
  3. When I was 28 years old, I cowered in an aid convoy in Sri Lanka when approaching an area of crossfire between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan military

Which is the lie?

career change coachingIs it working in radio? Is it being a dancer? Is being employed in aid and develpoment?

It’s being the dancer. I have no rhythm whatsoever!

Over several decades I have had various careers. I worked in radio, I did a stint in public relations for an aid and development agency and I also chose to have a career change into full-time motherhood. Just because it isn’t paid it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a career change. Currently, I am a career coach and life coach and I have very much enjoyed doing this for the past 12 years.

In 2020, a Prospects COVID-19 survey found that nearly half of those aged 35 to 54 were thinking of changing their careers and I regularly have conversations with people about exploring their options.

On the whole, there are 3 reasons why people gather courage, take the plunge, and change careers

  1. Because they need to due to a lack of jobs in their chosen profession
  2. Because they need to, due to changing life seasons
  3. Because they want to

Let’s first of all look at why people need a career change

Since the economic downturn some businesses and industries have struggled financially. People that have been made redundant face concerns about future role security. Some due to funding, others because of the rise in automation and AI. As a result, several clients have wanted to explore career options that will always be needed or roles of which there is a UK skills shortage.

The second reason why people have a career change is because of different life seasons. What was right for us when we were young and single, isn’t always right for us with children in tow  or as we get older. There is a growing trend of people needing to work longer to cover increased costs of living, potentially well past retirement age. Just this week I have been working with a lady who is mid 60’s, has been made redundant but still needs to bring in some income. She wants to explore a career change into a less demanding part-time role.

Also, when talking about retirement there are those people who need a midlife career change because they work in roles where retirement is compulsory at a younger age such as the army or police. These clients still have many years left of working life and need a new career that fits transferable skills and motivations.

The final reason why people choose to explore career change options is simply because they want to. The job they are doing isn’t fulfilling or meeting their life balance needs. An example of this is a client I recently worked with who fell into a job after graduation that he never really liked. After career exploration, he chose to retrain to become a data analyst which is a skills shortage role. He re-skilled whilst working and has landed a role with a higher starting salary than what he was previously earning.

What we can learn about career changes?

So, let’s go back to where we started, two truths and a lie, to see what we can learn about career changes.

Truth one. A career change is possible. The American Institute of Economic Research found that 82% percent of those asked, reported making a successful transition, to a new career after they were 45 years of age.

Truth two. When choosing a new career, people want to find a role in which they feel fulfilled. In 2019 LinkedIn users were asked to rank their most important employment attributes which included money, status, and purpose. The responses came from professionals across 40 countries and diverse industries. The Global Talent Trends report revealed 74% of candidates aspire to a job in which they feel their work matters.

And finally, the lie. When it comes to a career change the lie is one which we often tell ourselves…” if I was that unhappy in my job then I would do something about it”… but would you? Gallup found out that 85% of those they surveyed were not engaged, i.e. happy at work.

So, let me leave you with a question. Do you need to give yourself permission to start exploring other career options, upskilling or retraining?  Do you need some career and/or life coaching to help you in this process? Exploring options doesn’t mean that it has to happen or will happen. However, if you don’t at least consider alternatives, at some point, you may look back and regret staying stuck.

 Jenny Butter is an Accredited Master Coach and is the founder of Epiphany Career & Life Coaching. She enjoys seeing her clients becoming energised and fulfilled so they thrive at home and at work.