You wanted to be a teacher ever since you were a little kid. You were a good student, went to college straight after High School and got a great job doing what you love. Or what you thought you loved. Suddenly, you no longer want to teach anything, you want to own a coffee shop in a peaceful town near the beach.
It’s ok, you are not the first one to change your mind and realise that at the age of 17, it can be a bit too early to decide what you’ll do for the rest of your life. So if you caught yourself in this situation, here’s your guide to best end the tough period of life:
Be sure you want to change
Sometimes you may be stuck in a job that you hate but this could have nothing to do with your profession. Before you start the long way of changing your entire career and choosing a new field to be an expert at, check what made you decide it’s time to change.
If it’s only your rude boss, the huge amount of time you spend commuting to work or even your lack of patience to meet customers, it might be the case you change your employer, not necessarily your profession.
Once you’re 100% sure that’s not what you want for your life, keep in mind you may face a long journey. It can be the case you’ll have to start from the bottom and it will take you time to get the knowledge, skills or position you’ve had before. Maybe you don’t even know what to do and the only thing you’re sure is that what you’re currently doing is not for you.
Calm down. Take your time to find what really inspires you. Have a little patience and you’ll sort it out on your own time.
Don’t be afraid
Especially of other people’s opinion. The more successful you are, the harder it is to accept the change. It’s very likely you’ll have someone trying to convince you to stick with your job because it pays well, or the perks are good or it’s close to home.
Don’t give up. Your wife, your father, your friends will eventually be on your side when they realise you’ll be happier doing something else. And those who are only worried about your status shouldn’t even be taken into consideration, so go on. People will get used to the new you, I promise.
Audit your skills and preferences
If you don’t want to be a lawyer anymore and become a gardener who grows your own food, great! You already know what path to go. But if you are completely lost, maybe you can sit down and look at yourself to find what you do best, and what brings you joy. Maybe people like to go to you for advice, or you’re a good drawer. Maybe you like helping elderly people because you feel rewarded. Or maybe you like writing or want to travel the world. There are infinite possibilities, but once you’re aware of them, you can start looking for something that fits your objectives and discover you could be of good use in many other professions.
Pay attention to what you currently do. There must be something about it that you love
I was a flight attendant for many years and I thought I loved it. But it wasn’t the whole take-care-of-people thing that I liked. Nor even the fact I slept in a different city every night. It was talking. And listening. I loved communicating with so many different people every day getting to know more about them. So I knew, although I wanted to change my career, I was already doing something I loved - I just needed to find a way to get money of it.
So look at what you do and you may find you’re already halfway to your dream job.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to limit your dreams. If you want to be an astronaut, a pilot or the president of the United States, go for it. Just be reasonable and mature to deal with the meantime.
For example, if you want to be a pilot, you’re gonna need a lot of money for the courses. You probably don’t want to get a loan and hope you will have money to pay it in the next 3 years because it may take you 5 or 10.
You have bills to pay, no matter what, so don’t rush in quitting your job now. If you do, make sure to have somewhere else to work at least for a while, until your plan is on. Many successful people started selling something to college colleagues or waiting tables to support their expensive equipment. You’ll get there, but you have to make a living until you do.
Unless you have a brilliant idea that’s worth millions and can get you rich in a week, you’ll have to put a lot of effort into this process of change. You may need another college degree or financial support. Maybe you’ll need the expertise to open your own business and not shut it down. All of these require preparation, so study, talk to people already inserted in the market, join groups of such relevance. The more informed you are, the higher your chances of success. Take time to come up with a long-term plan even if that means to spend a couple of more years in the job you hate. The stability will pay off the days you dragged yourself to work and you may even forget about those dog days when you’re finally doing what you love.
Believe in yourself
I’ve recently read that a child falls down a million times when he’s learning to walk but he never thinks that’s not for him. The journey will be long and it can be a bit frustrating sometimes, but keep your mind clear enough to see your goal because you are your best support.
Try to enjoy the path and learn from the challenges you’ll face and you’ll be very proud of yourself in the end. And don’t forget to come back to tell me your story. =)