Career Transition: You Can do It
There’s a reason people who marry later in life tend to have a lower divorce rate. The same can be said for people who choose careers later in life as opposed to sticking to the major that was declared often before the age of twenty. As we evolve, our interests and priorities change. Your college degree will serve you well no matter area of work you pursue – even if it’s outside of your major. If you’ve earned your college degree and have worked in your chosen field long enough to realize that it isn’t quite right for you, here are some tips for moving forward:
1. Keep your hobbies out of the mix. While it may be a pleasant thought to imagine your love of dogs parlaying into a new career choice, it may not be the best idea. Hobbies and personal interests are a great way of diversifying yourself and enjoying your off hours. Turning them into careers isn’t always quite the nirvana you think it might be.
2. Volunteer first. Before you switch tracks (and cut yourself loose from your paycheck) spend some of your free time in various areas to see where your interests lie. There are volunteering opportunities in more areas than you can imagine and one of them just might give you a glimpse at the kind of work you’d like to transition into long term. That business degree that you earned in college could serve you well if you end up working for UNICEF or The Red Cross, for example. Spend time as a volunteer to see if your passions match your professional interests.
3. Build your savings. While it’s never too late to find a new career path, you will be much better positioned to do so if you have some cushion to lean on if it takes a while to get established. As mentioned above, keep working (paying down debt and adding to your savings account) until you have a firm job offer if at all possible. If you do lose your first after college job before going on to “plan B”, you’ll be in a better position if you’ve paid off your credit cards, right?
4. Get out there and network. Just as when you found your first job out of college, meeting people is an important step. Your neighbor’s father who is a retired school principal just might be a wealth of information on other ways to use that education degree, for example. All it costs is a little time to pick someone else’s brain.
Consider your college degree, no matter what field it’s in, to be the launching point into several different careers. Don’t be afraid to get out there and find the one that will make you the happiest.
Alan Greene has written dozens of essays and articles about online degree programs, scholarships, and career preparation.