2022 is here! As the year begins the COVID 19 pandemic is still very much in play, and new variants continue to pose serious challenges. There is a small glimmer of light at the end of the of the tunnel. While there are still restrictions in place, we can still return to doing some of the things we enjoy. In terms of the job market, things are also beginning to pick up. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has the current 4.6% unemployment rate at its lowest point since the outbreak of the pandemic in March of 2020.
However, one interesting occurrence in the job market was the number of people who decided not to return to their previous occupations. The BLS estimates approximately 4.4 million people have quit their jobs, and contrary to what some believe, this is not due primarily to anti-vaccination, or mandated vaccination issues. That is a small part of it; but there are deeper, more personal issues at play here.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work, and as a result, enabled more reflective time to consider meaning, value, and “work-life” balance. It gave people a different experience, and time to slow down and reflect on what is important to them. Yes, some jobs did not return after businesses closed due to the pandemic, but millions decided that they no longer wanted to return to their previous way of life especially in terms of their work lives. Some will pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, while others will seek to make career changes and make a fresh start. They want to find and do work that provides meaning and value to their lives and the lives of others.
I want to share a few thoughts for career changers to consider as they embark on making that fresh start. There are at least three things I think you should make a part of your career change process.
First, consider your passions. Think about the things you enjoy doing in your own time, such as hobbies or things you do just for the pure fun and enjoyment of doing it. I believe this is a critical part in setting a direction for career change. For example, I am a tech enthusiast. I enjoy building gaming and business productivity PC’s and learning about new technologies and how they impact our lives. What you enjoy may be entirely different but identifying what you enjoy and have a passion for is important. You can have one passion or multiple passions; it doesn’t matter. Taking those passions into consideration as part of your career change is what is important.
This leads to the second thing to consider in making your career change. Ask yourself some key questions regarding your passions. They would include: What are the things I am skilled at in my passion? Am I learning new things and developing new skills in the areas of my passions? These types of questions are essential to the third aspect of the effective approach to career change.
The third piece would be to identify what industry your passions fall under. Is it the tech industry? Maybe its culinary, fashion and beauty, botany or the environment, retail sales, automobiles, just to name a few. By identifying your passions, skills, and industry, you have the foundation on which to build a satisfying and meaningful career shift, instead of pursuing a “job” because you need to pay bills – as so many do – finding yourself working but stressed and unhappy.
I have encountered many people who have jobs they hate but go through the motions every day because bills got to be paid. Impactful career change is about finding that right match of passions, skills, and industry. The career change search begins with establishing which companies are in the industry where your passions lie. You are probably already a customer with one or more of these companies. After you’ve assessed what your key skills are in your passion, you explore to find if there are positions available with companies in the industry that match your skills, and if not find out what skills are in demand that you may need to develop. Learning new skills centered around things we are passionate about comes naturally, so that’s an easy obstacle to overcome.
The key takeaway here is that career change is more than just searching for a new job. Doing work that brings meaning, personal satisfaction, and benefit to others involves finding that right combination of passion, skills and industry.
Of course, paying the bills and meeting the needs of life are important, but if you can do it in a space that has these three elements, you are more likely to experience career growth, rather than seek career change. I hope that 2022 will be the year that more people find careers that bring these three elements together. We will all benefit as a result. Namaste.