“Big things happen because you do a lot of small things supremely well and they compound over time.” ~ Jim Collins
In an article on Forbes, Joseph Liu wrote “Small changes can eventually add up to the significant transformations you want for your career. Rather than focusing solely on landing your dream role right away, consider breaking down your career ambitions into manageable, incremental steps. Taking a patient and strategic approach can allow you to slowly reshape your career path over the long term.”
When I speak to clients about a mid-career switch, the question of how long it takes for that to happen comes up. My guess is two or three years for you to be ramped up in a new role. A few more years to become more competent or known for that role and/or industry.
Here are a few takeaways from the article:
1. Keep one thing constant in your career
In his article, Joseph shares that a career change does involve ‘switching costs’ which includes rebuilding your reputation, learning the ropes of the new role, and understanding the politics of the new organisation. It can be overwhelming to adapt to all these all at once.
His suggestion is to keep at least one thing constant in your career like the organisation you are with or holding on to your core job responsibilities while you move to another physical location such as a new country or city.
2. Be prepared to make sacrifices
If you’re considering switching to another sector, consider taking on a job in the sector you're interested in even if it's not the job you would prefer. It might mean a cut in your pay check.
If you are willing to make that sacrifice and make adjustments to your lifestyle, the payoff he suggests could include an opportunity to learn the ropes in a new sector, making connections and gaining relevant experience in that sector. Perhaps it can help you move on within that sector and towards your preferred job role.
3. Consider taking a ‘bridge job’
He also suggests taking a “bridge job” if you're looking to make a career change but don’t quite have the qualifications yet. This transitional role may give you the opportunity to gain experience in your new field while bringing home a pay check. It may also provide a smoother transition for you while at the same time help you hone the skills you need for your new career path.
His suggestion (and mine) is to gradually move towards your career change. Think about making small, strategic steps you can take to “build a stronger and more sustainable foundation for your subsequent moves.”
With focus, time, patience and enough persistence, you'll make progress.
Here’s the link to the full article.
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