What Does Career Transitioning And Picking A Major Have In Common?
Career transitioning is a difficult decision when you find yourself at 30 or 35 and still without a calling that invokes passion. Heck, at 25, it can be worrisome.
But whether you are actively trying to find some career transitioning tips to help you out of the professional doldrums, or you’re trying to decide on the right major, you’ll learn a lot by pursuing the “what ifs” to their logical end.
That’s why we’ve sought out the expertise of Kim Mackenzie, VP of marketing for IndieReign. In a recent post on the topic of career transitioning on the Quora website, she had this to say. (Her words are in bold.)
Career Transitioning Tip #1: Don’t be afraid of trying out a few new careers before you hit on the right one.
Picking A Major Translation: If your counselor is telling you that you’re better off sticking with your original major and to not even consider switching to another degree plan, discount that advice immediately. While that can be the case, let’s put this into the perspective of a 16- or 18-year-old.
You still live at home. You’ve never been outside of your hometown. You have very few hobbies, and the ones you do have, you’re not making any money at them. Your understanding of the rights and responsibilities aren’t fully matured. To have to pick a course that you will follow for the rest of your life at this age is absurd.
Now, once you do get to college, your mind should be actively seeking out things you enjoy and trying to figure out ways to monetize. But it’s very difficult to choose the right major without first finding out what you DON’T like.
Career Transitioning Tip #2: Do your homework. Research different areas which interest you and seek out people in that field who do great work. Ask them out for a quick coffee and make damn sure that you know a decent amount about their background, have a handful of clear questions, and ask for two other people in their field who might be willing to meet with you.
Picking A Major Translation: Start thinking about the world from a perspective that goes beyond what your teachers and your parents have told you. Observe people who are doing the kind of work you’d like to be doing. Ask if you can job shadow them. Be respectful of what they do and their time. Soak up all the info you can about how they found their way to the profession. Most professionals and successful organizations are happy to help the curious and thoughtful student because they see in you a potential employee, and they appreciate students who care so much about their futures.
Career Transitioning Tip #3: It takes a lot of effort and time. If you don’t like the idea of cutting into your Netflix time or working on weekends don’t even bother.
Picking A Major Translation: You can get away with being lazy in junior high and some in high school, though we wouldn’t suggest it. But when you receive that diploma, you’re officially responsible for every decision that you make the rest of your life. This requires a shift in thinking. You’ve got to start turning off the carefree part of your brain and tuning in to the ambitious side. No one can do it for you.
Career Transitioning Tip #4: Have a great understanding of what you can bring to the table. Know your strengths and skills. Hiring a professional resume writer can dramatically speed up the process on this one.
Picking A Major Translation: Think back to what you were good at in high school or what held your interest. What topics/subjects/concepts did you actually look forward to using? Were there any classes that held your attention? If you can’t find at least one thing, then the blame is on you. Public education is free and it’s all-encompassing of the human experience. You don’t have to like all of it, but there must be something that you connected with during that time; if not, then you can’t blame anyone but yourself. When considering this question, think very hard. Take some time to yourself and resolve that you will focus on your high school experience. Then, ask yourself the question: what is the major that best exemplifies my set of interests?
Career Transitioning Tip #5: Once you’ve figured out what career path you want to pursue, get a personal project up and running. Just jump in there and give it a go. This works on a lot of different levels. It shows others that you’re serious, you show yourself that you’ve chosen the right field, and people are generally curious about personal projects. It opens up conversations like you wouldn’t believe.
Picking A Major Translation: Some students think they’re immune from this, or they don’t think outside the box enough to know how to go about it. The ones who embrace it, however, prove they’re ahead of the pack. For students interested in being their own boss, a summer landscaping business would be a “project example.” One boy I know wanted to be in the publishing business so he started his own comic book distributorship as a junior in high school. Still another worked part-time in the office of her dad’s trucking company whenever she wasn’t in school. You don’t have to be successful at it, but you do have to strive for success. Find a project that embodies something you wish to do later in life and take a crack at it. It will open your mind to professional possibilities that you often miss out on inside of a classroom.
Picking a major and career transitioning are not so different. You have to go through a rigorous evaluation process in order to find the path that will work best for you. Sometimes you’ll fail, but each failure leads you closer to a success. What steps have you taken to choose a major? Share your thoughts and ideas in our comments section, and best of luck if you’re still in the middle of the search!