Continuing our focus on finding meaning and purpose in our work we’ll be exploring how to make a career change this week. So, how do I change careers as a gay man? The answer is likely more nuanced than you think.
What Got You Here?
Before you even consider a life-changing move like a career shift it’s important for you to understand what brought you to this point. There are a lot of good reasons for people to look for different work. But, if your primary motivation is boredom or frustration with your current position please take a step back and think about whether a new job rather than a career change is in order.
Your reasons may be deeper. You may have discovered that you can’t find meaning in the career you’ve chosen, or realized that you have a purpose that could be better served. Your sexuality may be an issue in your field not just in your workplace. There are many reasons why a shift might be in order.
Figure out What You Might Want to Do.
If you’ve had a flash of insight you’re itching to follow, then do it. For most of us, it’s more complicated. Let go of your need to have the answer immediately. Start to think about the next steps. Take your time.
Let’s say you want to help people work through their problems. There are lots of ways you can do that. Once you have a high-level idea brainstorm possibilities. In our example, anything from a psychiatrist to a coach would suit.
Don’t judge the ideas. Just set the stage with a general direction. Generate as many possibilities as you can. Get some input if you like. Be open and run wild. There will be time to get practical later.
Once you have a list it’s time to be realistic. What will the new work schedule look like? What about money? Look at the cost of education as well as what you’re likely to be earning. Will you be able to get that education while you’re working your current job? If one of your options seems unrealistic, get rid of it.
It’s perfectly fine to pursue something that will pay less. But, will that decrease in pay be more than you can handle? Look at the potential lifestyle changes and whether they are okay.
Hopefully, you’ll be left with a couple of options. If you’ve crossed everything off your list you may need to adjust your expectations or brainstorm more ideas.
It’s not All or Nothing
It’s not practical for most of us to up and leave our jobs. But don’t give up on finding work you love. Education can happen after work or on a part-time basis. You may be able to reduce your work capacity to help you focus on the shift.
The worst thing you can do is nothing. Keep exploring until you find a good option and a way to get there. Find ways to ease the burdens. Making a career shift is an investment in yourself. It’s going to require some effort. It may be difficult at times. But, it will all be worthwhile if you find work that you truly love.