Changing Careers: 5 Challenges and Their Solutions

Changing Careers: 5 Challenges and Their Solutions
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 10 March, 2022
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Faced with the unprecedented challenges by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are starting to reevaluate their life plans. In Singapore, even mid-career employees are starting to consider changing careers as job losses loom across the nation.

If you think that it is time for a job switch, you might understand that changing careers comes with difficulties; but, you can absolutely overcome these hurdles by being prepared for them.

In this article, we tackle the top five obstacles people usually face when they make a job change and tips on how to face them.

Inevitably, change comes with challenges

If you feel scared or overwhelmed by the thought of a job switch, know that you are not alone. In fact, according to SEEK research, 39% of people feel nervous, 34% feel uncertain, and 25% feel overwhelmed when thinking about work changes.

Expect to encounter several hurdles as you take on a job switch. Right now, Singapore sees a more competitive job market as digitalisation welcomes global talents. But then again, change has never been easy — regardless of a pandemic.

With all the threats that come with change, people have become naturally wired to resist it. But according to Talent Leader Cameron Norton, there are still simple ways you can manage these challenges for the better.

(Also read: New Skills for the New Normal: How to Upskill for Now and Beyond.)

Challenge 1: Lack of time

"Most of us spend at least 38 hours a week working, and this has a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing," Norton says. Because of your heavy schedules at work, you might feel overwhelmed by the mere idea of having to work on preparing for a job switch.

According to Norton, the key to finding time to prepare for a career change is taking it slowly but consistently. "If you're not happy in your job, you need to make time to determine your next option because your performance will slide as your engagement and satisfaction drops."

To combat time deficiency, Norton suggests that you can get up 30 minutes earlier to search for jobs and update your resume. You may also consider scheduling coffee meetings within your network. However small your efforts are, as long as these are regular and consistent action, these will pay off in the long run.

(Also read: Tips to Keep Your JobStreet Profile Relevant in the Age of the New Normal.)

Start transitioning by updating your JobStreet profile, so that relevant employers can reach you. Once you are done updating your profile, you can even add the #WorkNow hashtag to alert hirers of your immediate availability.

Challenge 2: Financial constraints

Undeniably, changing careers will shake up your financial security — this is why it is important to be aptly prepared. Norton recommends creating a "transition fund" before leaping into the unknown.

What is a transition fund, exactly? "This is a savings account that you contribute to each time you are paid," Norton says. "It may only be $50 or $100 per pay, but the key is to make some contribution and let the money accumulate."

To overcome your hesitation to save up for this, Norton suggests automating this fund. This way, you will not have to think about it every time. "The purpose of this fund is to give you choices when it comes time to make a move," he says. "Having money at hand will give you breathing space and time to think as opposed to rushing into something new because you need the money."

Challenge 3: Internal uncertainty

No matter where you are at your career, job switches can be intimidating. So, it is only natural if you are unsure of where to start.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, begin with centring yourself. Take the time to evaluate and assess yourself and your goals: What do you want from your career? Where do you excel, and what do you enjoy? These are some reflective questions you can ask yourself before thinking of your next step.

Also, it is worth knowing that you do not have to do this all by yourself. "There are amazing transition consultants who can help you determine what you want, help shape up your career story and give advice on interview techniques," Norton says.

If you feel lost, it is best to consult professionals that will help you with your job change. "The best athletes in the world engage coaches and a support team to help them achieve success. It's no different with your career," Norton adds.

(Also read: How to quit your job professionally and gracefully.)

Challenge 4: External distrust

A mid-career switch is typically a bold move to make; you might hear several people doubting your decision. "Most people will advise you against making a change as it often upsets their status quo," Norton says.

To overcome this hurdle, Norton suggests that you weigh the opinions of others before listening to them. "At the end of the day, I ask people, ‘would you go to this person for advice normally?' If the answer is no, why would you listen to their opinion about your career and your future?"

Instead of listening to the doubts of others, turn towards people who you trust and respect. According to SEEK, people who opened up to peers, colleagues, or other loved ones were more confident in facing change.

(Also read: Sharpen Your Skills to Future-Proof Your Career.)

Challenge 5: Difficult conversations

In dealing with a job change, you might have to think about other people. Your family, partner, employer, and colleagues may, perhaps, be directly affected by this decision. If this is the case, difficult conversations about change will be necessary.

As COVID-19 has pushed many Singaporeans to go digital, remember that you have to deal with difficult conversations with whatever means are available. You can keep in mind the following strategies that are efficient for both offline and online conversations.

Start with having a conversation with yourself: Why are you changing careers? Why is it important that you let them know? Once you have these covered, you will have a clearer perspective as you reveal the decision to others.

Keep the right timing in mind, as well. Avoid breaking the news when one party is tired or busy. You can set an appointment with them so that you are both mentally prepared for the difficult conversation.

Without a doubt, changing careers is never something to be taken lightly. But as you go through all the challenges of change, remember to enjoy the process as well! Take in the excitement that comes with this mid-career switch, too — this is not something you will always have.

As you take the leap of changing careers, remember to overcome each challenge step by step. Eventually, you will find yourself making the change that you want. After all, you deserve to exercise your passion and purpose in your professional life. Search for #JobsThatMatter on JobStreet. For more expert advice on overcoming career hurdles, visit the Career Resources Hub.

As a steadfast partner to employers and candidates, JobStreet has launched the campaign #TogetherAhead, with a specially set up COVID-19 Jobs and Resources Hub to offer guidance to both businesses and individuals through this crucial time.

#TogetherAhead, we rise above our challenges.

About SEEK Asia

SEEK Asia , a combination of two leading brands JobStreet.com and jobsDB.com, is the leading job portal and Asia's preferred destination for candidates and hirers. SEEK Asia's presence span across 7 countries namely Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. SEEK Asia is part of the Australian Securities Exchanged-listed SEEK Limited Company, the world's largest job portal by market capitalization. SEEK Asia attracts over 400 million visits a year.

About SEEK Limited

SEEK is a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK has a global presence (including Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, South-East Asia, Brazil and Mexico), with exposure to over 2.9 billion people and approximately 27 per cent of global GDP. SEEK makes a positive contribution to people's lives on a global scale. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 100 company and has been listed in the Top 20 Most Innovative Companies by Forbes.

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