It happens sometimes. At the start it felt right and you were happy to put in the time, but the spark has dimmed and you’ve begun to look for a way out. It’s not easy – there are commitments – you’ve put in so much time. You might feel that you should keep going for old time’s sake but if you can’t reignite the passion in the long-term, you just have to admit that it won’t be good for either of you.
I’m sorry, but it’s time to break up with your industry.
It’s scary, particularly if you move to a trade you have no experience of. But we all have skills that are transferable, so it’s good to remind yourself what they are. There is no reason to pigeon-hole yourself just because you’ve worked in one stream for an extended period. Remember that you’re a multi-faceted person with many skills to offer a new employer.
What are Your Transferable Skills?
Regardless of your industry, you have skills that you can convert. ‘Soft skills’ like leadership, people management and teamwork are far more valuable than you might give them credit for. Spend some time thinking about who you are, and what you can bring to an employer. It’s important to remember that companies will often hire someone who is a positive influence on the team dynamic. But you need to do your research to discover how you can use your existing skills to show how you can fit in. A short course to sharpen your toolkit could make all the difference.
Sometimes, it is about who you know. But it doesn’t have to be in the phoney, schmoozy sense. Turning up to industry events can be an earnest way to show interest and people are always happy to answer questions around something they care about. While it’s never a good idea to completely bend someone’s ear, there’s nothing wrong about telling someone what you’re looking for. Industry meetups, particularly in tech startups are a growing trend. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people who are all in the same boat and who are also looking to learn from their peers. Be authentic, honest and loyal to your personality. There is no single approach for networking, so remember to go in with an open mind.
While I’m all about spontaneity and adventure, changing industry is one of those decisions where you really need to look before you leap. You need to weigh up the risks with the potential payoff. If you take a drop in salary, what other benefits can you expect? If you’re looking for a substantial pay-hike, what do you need to do in order to position yourself most favourably for this job? How much do you already know about the industry that you’re looking into? If there are ways to give it a test-drive, whether through volunteering or attending conferences, do your best to get as informed as possible! Find out where the gaps are between your dream job and the real world, and see where you’re willing to compromise.
Give the change all you’ve got. If it is something that you’ve been dreaming about for a while, embrace it and take your chance. It won’t be easy, and the learning curve will be steep, but once you’re over the initial stumbling blocks, you can expect to feel more rewarded and fulfilled. I call that a win.