3 myths about switching careers you should’ve stopped believing yesterday

Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A year ago I was unhappy with the direction I was taking in my life. I was thinking about switching careers and finally pursuing my passions (writing and cooking).

I just didn’t know how to do it.

I had a job, but it was not my dream job.

My whole 13-year corporate career was spent working in various cubicles, attending meetings, holding kick-off calls with clients, and doing tasks that I did not enjoy.

Maybe my career would’ve made somebody else happy.

But my career did not make me happy.

And since I was unhappy, I developed depression.

And this depression manifested into several unhealthy habits and negative attitudes that did nothing to solve the root cause of the problem.

So I had two choices to make:

  1. I could either continue down this path of known misery and continue doing what I disliked and be unhealthy.
  2. I could try something new that I actually enjoyed.

I chose option #2. And I am much happier today than I was a year ago.

What are some myths about switching careers that are holding YOU back from achieving your dream and doing what you actually LOVE to do with your life?

Here are 3 myths about switching careers you should’ve stopped believing yesterday:

Switching careers Myth #1:

You might fail miserably in your new career.

“You can always go back to the status quo if your career switch does not work out.”

After I left my most recent desk job, I started my social media marketing and Web content writing business.

I’ve always loved writing and posting useful content on social media. I wanted to help other businesses get more revenue and customers. And I wanted to get paid to do it.

However, I had a small problem.

I had no clients.

And that meant I had no income.

To supplement my non-existent income, I worked part-time as a sandwich maker at a casual fast service vegetarian restaurant.

I made sandwiches, fries, soups, and salads while building my freelance writing business. I also improved my knife skills, gained valuable cooking experience, and learned what it takes to run a successful restaurant.

Am I making as much money in my new job as my old full-time job after my career switch?

Absolutely not!

But I am much happier. I am actually doing things that I really enjoy doing and gaining more knowledge.

And since I am not making much money, then it has kept me hungry to improve my skills, cut back on my spending, and be responsible for paying my bills on time and in full.

You know, basically the good habits and work ethic I had before I switched careers and became a line cook and writer. Because I want to continue doing good things in order to continue doing good things, both for myself and to help others do good things with their lives.

One of those good things is writing, which I do both on this blog and for my social media clients. And in addition to writing social media and Web content part-time, I work full-time as a line cook at a restaurant in the Boston area and making food that I never thought I’d ever cook. Every day I’m learning something new while doing what I love to do.

That’s why a switching careers may be a great idea for you as well. 

If you’re not happy with your current career and direction you are taking in life, then you can simply switch careers and pursue your REAL passions in life and what you love to do ANYWAY when you’re not working full-time at a job you hate.

So what was the the result of my career switch:

Not much.

Other than the minore fact that I’m much happier.

And healthier.

And enjoy life even more.

And want to continue doing what I love and helping others do what they love by writing useful Web content and cooking delicious meals.

Or something like that.

My point is, I am on a new path to success that was not possible if I just stayed at my old job.

Even if I failed miserably at my career switch, then I could’ve gone back to working at a desk.

Remember, you can always go back to the status quo if your career switch does not work out.

It’s really only a failure if you fail to learn anything from the experience.

Switching careers MYTH #2:

You can’t change careers when you have a family to support.

Important factors to consider before switching careers and trying something new when you have a family.

I’m single and have no kids. Everything I make goes back to supporting just myself.

If I had a wife and kids, then I’d have a number of important factors to consider before switching careers and trying something new.

The #1 question you probably have about switching careers when you have others relying on your regular income is this:

Do I give up on a steady paycheck to pursue what I love and be happy?

It’s a tough call, and I cannot tell you what to do.

But let’s say for argument’s sake that you switch careers and become hugely successful and wealthy.

Wouldn’t this success, money, and important life lesson be a good thing to teach your kids?

You can teach them the value of hard work and pursuing your dream.

Don’t like that answer? Fine, then here’s another possible way to think about switching careers when you have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay.

Don’t switch careers until you have your current financial and living situation settled. However…

…here’s where you need to be careful…the time won’t always be “perfect” to switch careers.

Sometimes the perfect time never comes along.

Because if you wait too long for things to get perfect…then you’ll probably wait too long and not have an opportunity to do your best in your new career because you’re 107 years old and can only eat gluten-free soy gluten through a tube, but…well, sometimes it’s NEVER the perfect time for anything.

The perfect time is sometimes now.

Of course, sometimes it’s later.

But don’t make it TOO much later waiting for everything to get settled and comfortable.

Because by then, it may be too late.

I’m not a parent, but I’d say these are good values to pass along to your children. And these make the risk and initial sacrifice of switching careers worth it in the long run.

Switching careers MYTH #3:

“Someday” is an actual date on the calendar.

When is “Someday”? Today? Or never?

Take a look at a calendar.

Can you tell me the exact date that “Someday” falls on?

You can’t do it, right?

Because “Someday” does not exist.

All we have is today.

So why not make your dream a reality by starting it today and making it happen, rather than waiting to do it “Someday”.

Today you can start your own business by starting a side hustle.

And no, simply doing a Lycos search on your dream job or writing a business plan does not count as taking steps in making your dream job happen.

Because those are not getting you any closer to making your dream a reality. They are simply an extension of your dream.

You will make your dream actually happen if you put in actual WORK to make it happen. You can do that in several ways, such as:

  1. Applying to part-time jobs in the industry you want to work in to gain experience (like I did when I worked as a sandwich maker at a fast service vegetarian restaurant).
  2. Networking with people that have the job you want.
  3. Saving money to purchase that crucial piece of equipment you will need to get your business off the ground, such as a hot dog cart.

These are actual tangible and physical activities you can do NOW that will get you closer to achieving your dream.

Stop thinking about stuff. Start actually DOING stuff.

Nobody else will just hand you your dream.

Only you can make it happen.

And what better day to start than TODAY?

The only limit to starting your own business is your imagination.
The only limit to starting your own business is your imagination.

Conclusion

It’s time-time for some action!

 

Let’s face it.

I don’t know what your dream is.

That’s because only YOU know what your dream is.

And only YOU can make your dream happen by making it happen.

I know a lot of people who have great ideas and excellent life goals.

But many of these people are doing NOTHING to make these wonderful things happen. And instead of switching careers and pursuing the things that make them happy, they stay in their current role and continue to be unhappy.

Remember, ideas are only as good as the action they create.

Are you just creating ideas that go nowhere?

Or are you creating ideas with ACTION that lead to happiness?

Do you want to switch careers and do something that you actually love to do with your life?

What is it and what are you doing today to make it happen?

Leave a comment and help others with your knowledge!

 

James K. Kim About James K. Kim
James K. Kim (Jim) is a commercial real estate advisor with Pyramid Brokerage Company of Albany, Inc. in the Capital Region of New York, specializing in helping business owners expand into new locations or sell/lease a commercial retail, office, industrial, or investment property.

2 thoughts on “3 myths about switching careers you should’ve stopped believing yesterday

  1. Love the honesty in this post. I did the “switch” a few years ago and still found this post a great reminder of why I did it, not to mention a few things I can do better. Thanks for writing such a clear cut, down to earth post. We all deserve to be happy!

    1. Thanks, Karen! I used to sit around and think, “Oh man, it’d be so cool if I could do the things I really wanted to do.” Then it dawned on me…I CAN do those things! No need to ask for permission to live my dream and do what I want to do with my life. Hopefully more people realize this. If not, then…I want to HELP them realize it!

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