Is your career starting to wear you down? Many people go into careers without an understanding of what they require or how they progress, resulting in frustration and disappointment as their careers progress.
Whether you’re fed up with a stressful work environment and difficult deadlines or simply seeking the freedom and refreshing atmosphere of a new career, there’s no bad time to change your career and refocus your professional life.
In this guide, we’ll cover the realities of career change at 30. From choosing a new career that’s right for you to avoiding the pitfalls of a poorly planned career change, read on to discover how to smoothly transition into a new professional life.
Are you considering entirely changing career paths? Many people leap into new careers without fully thinking through their decision. Learn whether or not a career change is the right move for you with The YOU Plan for Career Change.
Why change careers?
People change their careers for many different reasons. Some are exhausted by a demanding work schedule that involves long hours at the office, stressful project deadlines and a work environment that’s far more competitive than supportive.
Others feel incompatible with the work and responsibilities they manage in their current career. This is often the case when people enter a career with only a light understanding of what it requires and no hands-on experience in the industry.
Some people feel that their compensation – both their salary and the benefits they receive from their employer – doesn’t match the effort and time they put into their work, and want to change careers to improve their income and work benefits.
Finally, many professionals feel bored and demotivated in their current careers. A job that once seemed interesting and important can, over time, become repetitive and unfulfilling even for someone with a passion for the topic it deals with.
Do these descriptions summarize your career problems? Sometimes, the solution to career frustration isn’t a total change but small behavioral changes that reduce your stress levels and make you feel more motivated to succeed.
Tactics like improving your physical health, organizing your workday and defeating workplace burnout can revitalize you in your career. Learn how to defeat the stress of a demanding career with some expert tips and strategies of Stress Management.
The biggest mistakes career changers make
There are good reasons and bad reasons to change your career. Feeling unhappy in an uncomfortable or hostile work environment can take its toll on your health, but it’s more of a reason to change employers than change careers.
Likewise, changing careers because you feel like you aren’t making progress in your current job isn’t always a good strategy. You could be weeks away from a promotion but not know it, or missing out on advancements because of your work attitude.
If your work environment is taking its toll on your productivity, your happiness and your sanity, you can try to change it. By communicating your concerns to your boss, it’s possible to make a stressful work environment more relaxed and productive.
Communicating your frustrations about the workplace to a boss is difficult, and it’s often best done with a sensitive tone. Learn how to reform a hostile workplace and improve your job satisfaction in our course, Working With Difficult People.
If you’re frustrated that you aren’t advancing in your current career, it’s possible to change your behavior and make progress. Many dissatisfied professionals feel like they’re being left behind for no reason, but can actually advance quickly by using a variety of negotiating tactics with their bosses.
Is your productivity and output above the average for your company? If it is, when was the last time you asked for (or received) a raise? When you perform above the median, it’s not difficult to raise your compensation to match your performance.
Like talking about a hostile workplace, asking for a raise is a sensitive subject that’s best approached with a degree of strategy. How to Negotiate a Raise or Promotion includes tried and tested strategies that you can use to increase your salary and earn what you’re worth in your current career.
Setting the stage for successful career change
Before you consider changing careers, it’s important that both your professional and financial lives are in order. Changing careers without another lined up – or, if you’re going to spend time away from work, without adequate savings to keep you afloat in the interim – can be a frustrating and stressful process.
If you’re thinking of leaving your current job, make sure you prepare yourself for the transition into a new career. Try to foster a positive attitude in your current position so that your boss – and your colleagues – will be able to provide a positive reference that you can use to secure your next job.
If possible, seek out careers that you can smoothly transition into using your current skillset before you leave your job. Having a job ready to move into makes the process of changing your career far less stress, as well as relieving the financial difficulties of spending time away from work without a salary.
If you’re already financially prepared for a career change, it’s time to start applying for jobs you’re interested in. From cover letters to your résumé, this means refining your personal brand and learning how to crush your upcoming job interviews.
Are you worried about failing to find your dream job? Learn the right strategies for catching the attention of hiring managers, developing a great résumé and making a great impression at interviews in our How to Get and Keep your Dream Job course.
Finally, make sure you have at least three months worth of living expenses – ideally six months or more – saved up to hold you over in case your career change doesn’t go as smoothly as you had originally anticipated.
Think you’re ready to change careers? Are you sure you’re financially and mentally prepared for the difficult task of transforming your professional life? Ensure you’re ready to change careers by checking out How to Make a Career Transition.
Choosing a new career that suits you
Changing from one toxic career to another one isn’t going to solve any of your major problems. Instead, almost everything that troubled you about your previous job will find a way to reappear in your new work environment.
Instead of trading one unsatisfying career for another, use your career change as an opportunity to give yourself the career you’ve always wanted. From travel to music, changing careers at 30 lets you trade in an unsatisfying job for a career that’s based not on your degree or your income, but on your passions.
Spend some time with yourself, thinking about what really makes you happy. Do you love to build things? Do you love working with other people? Do you want a greater degree of freedom to work how you want, when you want and where you want?
Most importantly, what’s your passion in life? What hobby or interest do you think you could spend the rest of your life doing? Discovering your passion is the key to understanding what you really want in a career that’s lucrative and satisfying.
Do you not know what your passion is? Many people are so accustomed to the old rules of career selection that they don’t know their true passion. Learn how to find your passion and transform your life with our Discover Your Passion and Purpose course.
Becoming a freelancer or professional consultant
When polled on the reason for their career satisfaction, many people state that their jobs start to dominate their life. From long office hours to a corporate culture that’s highly competitive, working as an employee can often lead to serious stress levels.
If you’ve spent the last decade establishing your career, the skills and professional experience you’ve gained could make you a highly marketable consultant. With the right strategy, you can transition into a more fulfilling, freer self-employed career.
Becoming a consultant has serious advantages, from a flexible schedule and work environment to the ability to set your own pricing. It also has serious downsides, particularly for those unaccustomed to marketing their services to prospects.
If you have specific skills that are in demand, becoming a consultant could be your best career change strategy. Learn more about getting your first clients and making a living as a professional consultant in our course, Become a Consultant in 5 Steps.
Learn more about the realities of career change
Changing careers at 30 might seem daunting and scary, but it’s something that many other people have done successfully. With the right combination of knowledge and strategy, you too can make the change to a more satisfying and interesting career.
Learn more about how to smoothly transition into a new career, whether at a new company or as a consultant, with our blog posts on career change cover letters and the best career options for your skillset, interests and personality.