If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current career, it can be daunting to take a leap of faith and switch paths. But there are countless inspiring success stories that prove making the change is possible at any stage – they just took some courage! Consider the examples set by these well-known people who started out in entirely different careers than the ones they eventually found success in.
- Fashion Designer, Vera Wang, started out as a figure skater and a journalist and eventually entered the fashion industry aged 40.
- American celebrity chef Julia Child initially worked in advertising and media and even secret intelligence before finding her true calling in the kitchen.
- The founder of Spanx slimming underwear was once a door-to-door office supplies saleswoman. She quit her job aged 30 and is now a billionaire.
- Harrison Ford was a carpenter for fifteen years before taking the role of Han Solo in Star Wars, launching his acting career.
- Writer of the sci-fi hit, The Martian, Andy Weir, was a Software Engineer before becoming a bestselling author.
- Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, was once a Bonds Tradesman. He’s now partnered with the UN, published several books and travels the world taking photos.
- Ellen DeGeneres was a paralegal and oyster shucker before becoming a comedian and hugely successful talk show host.
All of these celebrity examples show how changing careers can reward those willing to try something new, but, of course, it’s not just celebrities who can be masters of the career change.
The BBC interviewed several individuals who changed their careers late on. Betsy Finocchi ran a sporting goods store before training to become a lawyer in her forties. Brooke Hender, an actor, has just become a cognitive hypnotherapist at 51. Stephen Millett, a teacher, enlisted in the army at 38. Marian Newman was a Forensic Scientist before becoming a Fashion and celebrity Manicurist. Elaine Slater was a model before studying psychology and is now a Psychologist. Eve Kalinik was a PR Director before changing careers to become a Nutrition Therapist.
All of these stories show that changing your career is an option no matter where you are in life or what stage you’re at in your career. Starting again and retraining may sound scary, but taking on the challenge can bring huge rewards. According to statistics, the average person will change jobs five to seven times in their working life.
There are several valid reasons why you might decide to change your career.
- You’re stuck in a routine, and you need a new challenge. Learning the new skills and knowledge you need to start a new career is a great way to add purpose, engagement and passion to your life.
- Your career no longer lines up with your values. When you started your current career, perhaps money was the most important thing, and now you want to create a better balance between your work and your life. Maybe the need to chase bigger paycheques has transformed into a desire to make a meaningful difference in the world – or perhaps it’s the other way around! Maybe you simply want a job with more financial security to support your family.
- You want to turn your hobby or passion into your full-time career.
- You’re unhappy in your job and want a change. Unfortunately, if you’re dissatisfied with your working life, this feeling can sometimes trickle into your personal life, affecting your overall happiness.
Where to start with changing your career?
Consider your options: Think about the areas of work that interest you – do you want to work in a new industry, move within your current one, or develop in your existing role?
Reflect on which values are important to you: Your salary, work/life balance, responsibilities, your employer’s values, the location, or something else?
Assess your existing skills: Think carefully about what you are good at, including your transferable ‘soft’ skills.
Think about further study: There are flexible studying options, such as part-time courses and short courses, which makes re-training for a new career much more accessible for those juggling other commitments like family or a full-time job they need to maintain whilst they look elsewhere.
If you want to find out more about retraining to change your career, check out our professional and part-time courses here.