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One of the small benefits of having nothing is that you don’t have very far to fall.

This is why gap years are so popular with school-leavers and graduates. Having yet to climb a single step of the career ladder, school-leavers and graduates are free to roam around exploring the world and doing whatever they like with no great consequence. However, what about the rest of us who, after months and years of painstakingly clawing our way up the ladder, might look down and realise that we aren’t where we want to be be at all? That perhaps along the way we became so engrossed in the climb that we forgot to check we are climbing up the right ladder?What then? Do we really trade in the tangible, secure career we worked so hard to build and take that leap of faith and go for another?

Well, there’s only really 2 options here:

  1. You can either cling to the existing ladder and continue your climb. It may be that your doubt is temporary, and the ladder you have chosen isn’t so wrong at all. Or it may be that your doubts aren’t temporary and slowly and surely you will grow to hate the ladder but lose the energy to leave it…(sorry)
  2. Or you take all your energy and you swing towards another ladder and hope you make it…

Admittedly the second option is slightly terrifying, but here’s 5 tips to help you make that career change:

1. Remember, you know how to climb now

So you may have been climbing the wrong ladder but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been learning how to climb. You are an experienced climber now who knows how to pull herself up. Even if you are in the wrong career that doesn’t mean all the skills you have picked up can’t help you secure your dream job. Anything as simple as confidence could be enough to aid you in your new journey.

2. Learn to care a little less about the material

Whilst you may wake up with a sense of dread when faced with the prospect of going to work at the job you no longer love, this sense of dread can be easily softened by the things that dreaded job can help you to afford. Taking that leap of faith will mean that perhaps, temporarily, you will have to say goodbye to these things. This can be tough, especially if you are used to a certain quality of life, but if material things are the only things keeping you there then it really is best to take the leap. You can buy it all again once you’ve made it.   

3. Do your research

Before you take the leap, it is important to learn about the environment where you are hoping to land. If you are moving into a new industry, don’t be afraid to talk to people in that industry before taking the plunge. If you don’t know much about the industry it may be that your expectations are based on ideas rather than reality. Do your research.

4. Don’t be afraid of falling

If I told you there was no risk of falling here I would be lying. Of course there is a risk of falling. Most of us know someone who took a risk that didn’t pay off, and this makes jumping all the more scary. However, is it really likely that falling won’t mean we lose ‘everything’. No matter what happens it is likely you will still retain your family, friends, physical health and sense of humour. Remembering this will make you a little less afraid of hitting the ground and will make jumping a little less scary.

5. Don’t listen to negative voices

Them people telling you that you are making a mistake and that you will never make it are probably those people still clinging sadly on to the ladder they hate – so just don’t listen to them. Surround yourself with similar positive people who also have the courage to take the leap. Taking the leap with other people can make the whole process slightly less frightening.

On the count of three..

Sofia Geraghty

Sofia Geraghty

Sofia is a blogger living in London. She is Head of digital at parliament street ( a political think tank) and is particulalry passionate about social inequality and personal well-being.

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