How Long Does It Take To Make A Career Change?
I’ve done a lot of things in my life, lived in many places, and have gone through multiple personal transitions – some of which have been easier than others, while some have taken longer than others. Sometimes it seemed as though things had changed overnight, but really, the changes that occurred took years of marination…kind of like what they say about an “overnight success story”: They take 10 years.
So how long does it take to make a real career change? Four years.
In my experience, it takes four years to enter a new field, to (re-)educate, to develop a new network in that field, and to gain meaningful experiences that introduce you as a player – which then leads to gathering credibility and accessibility to your new work and new career. Of course there will be exceptions to this rule, but I do believe that even if someone were to fast-track it, they would still feel – internally – that they were in a learning curve for at least four years.
Shocked? Dismayed? I know. So here’s the deal: If you admit that you keep saying something like, ‘I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do with my life,’ or, ‘I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up,’ I recommend that you stop and take a good, hard look at where you are and make a grown-up decision. If you want to do something different with your work — your career — get going. Hire me, or someone else, to help you figure it out. Time is of the essence. Do you want to be four years older when you realize that you have four more years to get where you want to be?
I’ve worked with so many clients who started out by saying, ‘I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to come in and do this’. Clients often begin panicked, because they’ve waited until their alimony is almost done, or their family is growing, or their lifestyle is changing, or they’ve lost their job (maybe wanted to lose, it long ago)…but now what?
In short, they’ve waited until they have six months or two weeks – or two days – and they know they need to make a change, but now they’re up against the hard truth.
Really, even if you’ve waited until it feels too late in the game, there are actions that can be taken, changes that can be made. There are always options. I just want you to have the option to choose the option you really want.