7 Signs It’s Time to Start Your Second Career | Changing careers is not easy, but when it is the right move for you, there is no substitute. If you are not interested in the work that you do and don’t have any big goals that you can look forward to, changing careers simply makes sense. Don’t feel like you are throwing away all of your hard work. There are so many ways that you can create a unique path forward that allows you to benefit from your past and still take advantage of a new future.
You can go from being a career coast guard to becoming a nurse and actually use both backgrounds to position yourself for a unique, rewarding role that helps you feel fulfilled every day. You can move out of your boring office job and start doing something that feels entirely new, and yet still bring the teamwork, attention to detail, and other skills you learned in your previous career path to help forge a new way forward for you in your second career.
Starting a second career is daunting, but it isn’t starting over. It’s a chance at finding a better version of yourself and leading a more fulfilling and rewarding life.
Signs It’s Time to Start Your Second Career
Changing careers is different than changing jobs, employers, or industries. It means jumping onto an entirely different track that you likely don’t have experience in. To get into this new field, you will need training, need to build up an entirely new network, and need to start from the bottom, if not from scratch.
As time goes on, your experience from your first career will become increasingly relevant, and you will be able to forge your own way forward, but that’s for the future. For right now, all you need to worry about is whether you should look at changing career paths or if a new change of job is all you need.
You Are Burning Out
One of the easiest signs that it is time for a change is that you are burning out. Burnout is a type of chronic stress and fatigue that only compounds. It can put you in a seriously distressing position and can even cause issues like panic attacks or a complete nervous breakdown. If you work too hard, if you are too stressed, even if the work is technically easy, or if you find yourself in a hostile situation (for any reason), then burnout can and will typically occur. You can try changing jobs, but if it is the work or what you do that is the source of your stress and anxiety, then it is time to change tracks.
You Feel Bored or Apathetic
It is entirely possible to find yourself in the opposite situation. Instead of being stressed, you feel bored or even apathetic about your job. This poses several dangers on its own, starting with your job security. If you are bored and don’t care about your work, it’s likely others will notice and that your job will be at risk. Rather than find another job in the same or similar role, it’s time to look at what you really want and need out of your career instead and change career paths if necessary.
Your Work/Life Balance Is Suffering
If you have to work very long work weeks, are always staying behind or doing overtime, and your personal life and health are taking a hit, then it’s time to re-evaluate. Yes, there are jobs where this will be worthwhile. If you are being paid enough to retire decades earlier, then it could be worth pushing yourself through these situations, but more times than not, overworking is not going to help you enjoy your life or get more out of your career. Rethinking and finding a new role where you can enjoy a better work/life balance for yourself is a far better option.
What You Do Doesn’t Align with Your Values
You may find yourself working in a position that goes against your personal values. After a certain point, the money on its own won’t be enough for you to put your values to the side, and you’ll be in a position where you can instead confidently choose a role that allows you to live up to your own values. If you currently work in a position that puts other people’s health at risk, often indirectly, and that goes against everything in your body, then changing careers to a position like nursing can help you live up to your own ideals.
You Didn’t Actively Choose Your Career
Many of us fall into a career without actively choosing it. Perhaps a family member got you started, or you simply kept going after getting your first job out of college. Regardless, if you feel like you didn’t actively choose your career and still wouldn’t if you had a say, then it’s time to reconsider what direction your career is taking and get started with a second career.
You Actively Dream About Doing Something Else
If you actively dream about working in a different industry, then it’s time to make it happen. There are so many ways to succeed in life that you can afford to focus on what you care about the most.
You Want to Leave Behind a Certain Legacy
Many of us want to do something with our lives. The legacy that we leave, however, will differ from person to person. Think carefully about the legacy that you will be leaving behind in the direction you are going, and if you don’t like it, it’s time to reconsider and even change career paths.
How to Discover the Perfect Second Career Path for You
Some career paths are easy to just try; others require so many prerequisites that you need to be 100% certain that it’s the right fit for you. Take nursing, for example. For those who have what it takes and a passion for helping others, it can be the perfect choice. Choosing nursing as a second career can be a great decision, but it needs to be done carefully. You can, of course, train to work as a nursing assistant – which only takes a few weeks – to see if you enjoy the tasks and the work in general. Becoming a registered nurse requires several years of training and education. Even a fast-tracked, accelerated option takes around 16 months, and that requires several prerequisite course credits to have already been completed.
Finding a path that you can take on as a true vocation is a very worthwhile experience. Loving what you do and being passionate about the work can make every day feel worthwhile. Never underestimate how important it is to feel rewarded and fulfilled in your career.
Learn and Explore Your Interests
If you aren’t sure of what your second career should be or what it should be specifically, if you have a general idea, explore. Try new things, take short courses or workshops, attend talks, and watch documentaries. When you find something that sparks your interest, investigate. Whatever feels right, pursue it, and you may just find that perfect second career.
Understand the Requirements
Some options can be jumped into easily. Starting your own small business doesn’t require any specific requirements, just that you have a solid idea and a means to fund it. Getting started in a career like nursing, however, will require you to complete a degree before you start. Knowing the requirements and your options in terms of how to earn those qualifications is key to making an effective plan and following through.
Choosing the Right Path Forward for You
Eventually, you will have to take the plunge. The good news is that changing careers means changing pathways, not jobs. If you aren’t thrilled with working as an RN, for example, your nursing experience can prepare you to work in so many other roles both upwards and horizontally.
Second, Third, or Twentieth: It’s a Journey
Starting again never means you lose progress; rather, it means you build. Instead of a ladder, your career will be a pyramid. This pyramid is far more stable and can help you build your way up to a truly unique future that is perfect for you. That’s why it doesn’t matter if you get there on your second try or your third, or if you keep changing tracks. Every step of the way is a learning lesson, and so long as you put your all into the career and try to make it work before moving on to something else, you will continue to grow.
We don’t all get it right the first time, but that doesn’t mean you made a mistake. It just means that you need to try something else. You will always carry your experiences with you, and they will all help you with your growth and journey, so feel free to explore and find your place in life. It is how you can lead a rewarding and fulfilling life that you are proud to call your own.