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How To Change Careers In 5 Not-So-Easy Steps

January 21, 2018
career change goldfish

In my previous post on the subject of career change, I mentioned how, after a few years in an industry, we can start to feel like we belong and like leaving that industry is impossible because it’s all we know. To put this another way, we feel trapped. And I felt trapped about my own transition for a long time. In this post I want to break down the process of how to get… well… untrapped.

Do you need qualifications?

This is the first hurdle and for most people it will be the most serious one. Do you want to get into something that by law requires you to have qualifications in the field? If so, you’re going to have to go and get those qualifications, however long that takes. And you have to question deeply whether or not it’s worth going and doing so. There were several fields I considered that threw this hurdle in my way, and I decided that going ahead and trying to get a second degree while working was going to be a bit more than I could handle.

If you want the career that badly, you’ll know it’s the right thing to do. If you just can’t bring yourself to do another degree, for whatever reason, then maybe you need to look for something related to that career that doesn’t require the qualifications.

Take Classes

I’m confident that whatever you want to do, there are institutions out there that teach people like you how to do it. There’s a school for almost everything nowadays and it shouldn’t be massively difficult to find somewhere where you can learn and get a soft and comfortable induction into the industry of your choice. You’ll also meet like minded people, which can make you feel less alone and is useful in combatting that feeling of belonging the industry you left behind will still be offering you.

Read books & blogs

During my twenties, Amazon was like a gift from…. Jeff Bezos. Because of Amazon I had access to hundreds of books that were not available in high street book shops and because of that, I could read all the very niche and obscure titles that would have been unavailable to me otherwise. And read I did. Dozens and dozens of books, until my bedroom shelves bowed under the weight of them. Learn all you can about the industry you want to get into.

Know When The Time Is Right To Take Action

There comes a point when you’ve done enough learning. If you’re not the action prone type, this can become your new secret excuse for not taking the plunge – the idea that there’s always more to learn. There will come a point when every book and every class is telling you things you already know. When this time comes, no matter how scary it is, it’s time to get stuck in.

Seek Out Mentors

When I was trying to get into film and television with no previous experience or related formal training, I decided to find somebody already in the industry and make a deal with them. In return for a bit of money, they would induct me. With Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, almost nobody is unreachable nowadays. You can find a hundred people who do the job you want to do and approach them. And the numbers are stacked highly in your favour. Somebody is going to answer. These people will also introduce you to their contacts just in the course of doing business. And before you know it, you’re in the clique.


In a few months you’ll find that what seemed impossible to you a little while ago, suddenly seems not only possible, but inevitable.

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