Profession change – is that easy?

The world is changing, most of the professions will disappear and a lot of new ones will rise. Don’t want to stay behind? Be able to change quickly. These  kind of thoughts and ideas I find in the media very often. I’m not going to deny this, because it is obvious that these kind of shifts are happening. But the most tricky question is how you should change as a person? The tricky thing is that nobody really tells how to do it. Or there is a lot of advice about how to understand your needs and wishes, your strengths, be positive and then – you have new profession!

A few years ago, working in this area  I was also certain that the main thing is to find out what do you want and what your strengths are.  I believed that knowing this one could just proceed with change. I’m still convinced that you need to understand  yourself. But this might not lead to change and I will  try to explain why. By doing this, I want to encourage and support those who were trying to change, didn’t succeed. They may be surrounded by narratives and stories Of people who have made these changes.

Imagine that I want to change my profession from HR professional to some kind of new role such as a books manager in a publishing house. I prepare my CV and send to the recruiters. I don’t have an idea, how many CVs they have got. If there are tens or hundreds of them, very likely that they would screen and choose those who would fit their criteria and it is very likely that my HR experience won’t match a lot. If they would have only few of applications, there might be a chance that I will somehow make to the interview. And there I will meet someone who is looking for a person with sparkling eyes, high motivation, but usually prefers the candidate who fits his or her requirements the most. And of course there might be a situation where, luckily I will be the best and will be chosen in some, but it’s the same lottery – you play a lot and sometimes you might win, but most of the time you don’t. Moreover, as an experienced person, you usually have the same salary expectations as the person, who has necessary skills and this might also be a negative point for you from hiring manager perspective – why bother training someone new, when you have a person, who might do the work at once. So if you are trying to change your profession, rather than building your own business, it might take time, it might take to hear a lot of “NOs”.

So, it’s not easy and I don’t have a recipe for to do it. But I have some thoughts and ideas, regarding profession change.

Thinking about profession change, I’ve started to realise two different ways of change (there might be more) that might have impact on your change journey length, easiness, preparation time.

One way of changing profession, is when you change, using your strongest  professional competencies. For example, if you are a language teacher, you probably have a lot of skills how to teach children, plan the lesson, etc. Among all those competencies you have language knowledge. So, you can change your profession from teaching children  to teaching adults  Or later on become an interpreter, translator, etc. Here, you have core competence, that you can use in many different ways, adding new skills and competencies. This is an easier way to change, cause you might get a job just because your language knowledge might be the critical competence in some professions and others might be learned further. So, one way of changing might be taking out one of your competencies and trying to fit it in other areas.

Another way of profession change is not easy. As in my previously mentioned example being an HR professional and having an idea to become new project manager in Publishing house, or IT project manager, being an accountant or whatever other profession that might need very different skills. Obviously, although everybody talks about the importance of  making professional  shifts, business happens now and nobody has time to start developing your new skills.

In order to make this change I would:

1. Look inside the company I work for now – are there any possibilities to work in that kind of position there. If yes, then –

2. Learn, learn, learn not counting your free time hours. If there is any possibility to watch other people doing this, help with their projects, I would definitely try to focus on that. Then it is very possible that when there will be a need for new employee, I will be in the list.

3. If there is no chance to change to the profession I want in my current company, I can try to use my current skills in the company that specializes in the field I’m willing to change to. Like with this publishing house – I could seek for HR role in Publishing house and then try to grow inside.

4. Start talking with everybody and anyone about my wish in my network. When I wanted to start consulting practice, I was walking around, thinking by myself, where would I find those clients? So, I’ve just started telling everyone, I need that and I’ve got my first client very quickly. So, the song “All by myself” is great, but shouldn’t fit for the purpose to change your profession. 

5. I would seek for support from my family, friends, consultants, colleagues. It’s really not easy to get negative answers or no answers at all. So, to talk with someone about your situation might be very useful.

6. Finally, I would still be learning the skills I need for that profession and it might be so, that I will find something more interesting for me on my way.

I can’t say, that doing this, I or you would succeed, but at least you won’t be bored with your current life:)

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