Cape Town - Prepare to hit the ground running when changing careers.
Number-crunchers estimate that a person will change careers five to seven times during their lifetime.
Often, these changes will occur within the same discipline and the issues that forced a person to re-assess their life path may simply transfer to the next phase.
That’s why those who want to change careers should not only consider an upwards or sideways move, but possibly enter a new field entirely.
That’s the view of Nola Payne, head of faculty: information and communication technology at The Independent Institute.
Payne believes decisions on career choices are made as far back as the Grade 9 year at the age of 15, when matric subjects are selected with the aim of gaining entry into the qualification that prepares you for your career.
“However, at this young age, decisions are often based on influences from parents and peers, and with little insight into the actual rewards and demands of a specific career, she says.
“After a year or two in the workplace, it’s not uncommon for people to find their chosen field is not the one they want to pursue for the rest of their lives.”
This realisation will manifest as a loss of passion, days of constant drudgery, difficulty getting out of bed and participating fully at work and possibly even depression, says Payne.
But a choice made in one’s teenage years need not affect the rest of one’s life, she adds. “It’s never too late to make a switch, but deciding to go from teacher to IT technician, or accountant to art director is a major move, which should not be made lightly.”
Payne says before leaping into the great unknown, people should watch out for the following pitfalls:
“Having said that, taking the plunge for the right reasons may have a dramatically positive impact on one’s life, and examples abound of people who have started from scratch in a new career and have gone on to great heights of success,” says Payne.
After having made the big decision, she advises the following process:
There are various options available. You could attend full-time classes on a campus, part-time classes offered in the evenings, or distance/online study. For working adults – especially those with families – the part-time or distance options may be most suitable.
While studying, people should already start networking and immersing themselves in their new field, so that they are ready to hit the ground running after graduation.
“CVs should be reworked to emphasise key skills, experience and qualifications which meet your new career objectives,” says Payne.
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