Pursuing happiness at work, you may be thinking of changing careers, as I did just over one year ago.
My first advice is: try before you buy! Too many of us try to think our way into a new career. We decide on a plan that includes going to graduate school. Once we start graduate school, we have essentially trapped ourselves into that new career: “I’ve spent so much on graduate school, I HAVE to follow up with a career in that field.”
A better approach is to test our ideas before committing years and thousands of dollars to them. Want to be a nurse? Volunteer in a hospital first. Want to be a teacher? Shadow a teacher for a day. Want to be a video game designer? Interview people who are currently working in the field.
I first read about this “test and learn” approach in this Harvard Business Review article by Herminia Ibarra. I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more…and test more!
For fortunate people like me, the new career finds you, and you can start trying it out before leaving your current career. Many years ago I read a book on the science of happiness, discovered a passion for the topic, started researching and presenting about it, got requests to deliver my talks at companies and conferences, and quit my video game development career to successfully transition to a professional speaking and coaching career. Some told me I needed to go to graduate school to succeed in my new field. I didn’t, and I’ve been successful. And much happier.
What are your career changing stories? I’d love to hear them.