Changing jobs is something we expect to have to do at some point. But changing careers is not quite as expected, and it’s risky, challenging and you can often feel very alone doing it. So, here’s what I did to get the enthusiasm back into my working life (and keep it).

It is true to say that all work and jobs have their frustrations and down days – but the hope with a career change is that even a bad day is not such a bad day.

Figure out what you really want

Stop and consider: am I fed up with my job or fed up with my career choice? It is an obvious question, but often gets very confusing – particularly if you know that you are good at what you do but are just not fulfilled by the work you engage in on a day-to-day basis.

There are many reasons you might change careers. In fact, more-often than not the first thing one feels is they can do more, perhaps be more, or that they no longer “fit” in their current job or role.

Another factor is often ambition. You feel there is no future or long-term prospects. There may be “new” career areas that had not been available to you when you were considering your options. And there are also circumstantial reasons: redundancy, disability, and change in personal circumstances.

Consider where you are at

A career or job is so much part of our lives and our identity – it contributes not just to who we are, but also how we feel and how we identity with others.

If we “fall” into our career choices – perhaps it was what we got in our leaving certificate or the job we were “lucky” to get – we can lose direction and get confused.

What is really useful, is to stop and look back and see what might have got lost along the way. What informed my choices? What do I enjoy most about my job – the people, a particular focus or project, or the company?

Maybe what I get most fulfilment from is outside of work – is it a hobby, or an activity I have become engaged in voluntarily? What really interests me – what do I like to do?

Look at all your options

When considering a career change, it is not just important to consider what you would like to do. It is also important to think about how you are going to achieve it.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I need to retrain or re-educate?
  • How and where can I engage in learning in a way that works for me?
  • Do I need to consider professional requirements and professional recognitions?
  • There are many factors to consider when changing career, but the two main goals are to identify what to do and how to do it.

    There are many myths and assumptions about each career, and you might be put off your ideal career by misinformation. Working with an objective professional can keep it real, can save time and provide real focus.

    Mary Quirke is a career guidance counsellor with Career Confidence and co-author of Sorted! A Guide for Parents of Students making a Career Choice. She has not only worked with people who have successfully overhauled their own careers, but has also gone through the process herself.

    If you are interested in a career in the agri-industry, come along to the Irish Farmers Journal and open eir Agri Careers Fair, which takes place in the RDS on 3 March 2016. For more information, click here.