Here at Open Colleges, we talk a lot about doing what you love and making a change in your life that will give you the career and future you’ve always dreamed of.
But let’s take a step back for a moment. Just how do you discover what exactly that change is? And how can turn your passion into your profession?
What do you often find yourself doing?
Are you the person in your circle of friends that is know as “the animal girl” because you always know all about pet dietary requirements, grooming and animal health care? Do you find yourself spending more time than you have to managing your family finances because it’s actually quite relaxing for you? Or are you the person in your family that everyone goes to as “the computer guy” for advice with technology? Veterinary nursing, bookkeeping and information technology are all great careers that can start with online learning that results in industry-recognised certification.
By matching what you already love doing with a career in that field, you are setting yourself up for a more engaging job that will keep your interest for longer.
What would you do if money was no object?
We all had dreams when we were kids. Rock star. Supermodel. Fireman. Growing up makes us change our view of life to something more realistic. But there are ways to match those seemingly unrealistic passions with real-world careers!
Those who dreamed of traveling the world reviewing hotels and attractions can get a similar rush from a career in writing for travel blogs and magazines. The first step could be a Certificate in Freelance Travel Writing and Photography.
Likewise, the sports nut who never quite made it to the Olympics could find a whole new direction for all that energy writing for news publications and media outlets by gaining a Certificate in Freelance Sports Writing and Photography.
And if you didn’t make it on to the last season of The Block, but you know your way around colours, fixtures and fittings, then you could start on your path to design Nirvana with a range of courses from Interior Design Basics to a Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration.
Talk to those in the know.
People who love their work also tend to love talking about their work. After all, they too once followed the same path as you are about to follow! So ask them how they managed to make their passion their profession. And get a real insider’s perspective on the ups and downs of their work.
For example, you may find that those who love their work also tend to work longer-than-average hours. They often take their work home. They also tend to spend more time studying and up-skilling themselves in their own time. But they also experience greater satisfaction in their work, find their days go much faster and are the envy of their friends who aren’t anywhere near as happy with their career choices.
So make sure that you get the full story on your dream job before you commit to it. Dreams often come to those who are willing work hard and make a few sacrifices along the way!
If you’re interested in dentistry, talk to a local dental hygienist about the realities of working in a dental clinic. If you love what they have to say, then a Certificate III in Dental Assisting is your next step.
If your interests lean towards anatomy or general health and wellbeing, chat to a massage therapist or personal trainer about their average day. You’ll get an insight in to what it takes to work in those fields and a few tips on avoiding some of the pitfalls that can go with making a career change. Then check out courses such as the Certificate III or IV in Fitness or a Certificate in Massage to get your new career started.
What kind of person are you?
The great thing about people is that we are as varied in personality as we are in what we look like. No two people are ever exactly the same. This can make the tasks of choosing a career quite difficult, as we are never quite sure what it is that we would be good at.
The Australian Government’s Job Outlook site has an excellent tool that assesses the kinds of things you think you would enjoy and matches it to areas of personality, ranking your responses against work areas that are mostly Practical, Technical, Creative, Administrative, People-Oriented or Helping. You can try the short quiz yourself at here.
This can narrow down those areas of study that you may need to undertake to make a career change. For example, if you score high in Helping, then you could consider study options such as a Certificate IV in Aged Care, a Diploma of Community Services Work or a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance.
Where are you at?
Equally as important as finding out what to do, is working out if now is the right time to take the leap in to a new career. Even passion has to be tempered with a measure of sensibility.
If you just stepped out of a weekend seminar all fired-up to make big changes in your life, then now is a great time to take stock, do a bit of self-reflection and assess where you are at in life.
Likewise, if you have been away from the workforce for a while, simply jumping in to a new career or field of study without prior consideration of where you are at in life is not wise.
Ask yourself if there are other areas of your life that could use some attention to improve your chances of success? Explore the financial impact of taking on study or a career change and make sure that you have made allowances for that. Talk to your family and loved ones about the potential impact that a change could have on them. They are your greatest cheerleaders and your best source of insight in to your motivations, behaviour and qualities.
Spending some time reflecting on where you are at now goes a long way to making a good sustainable decision about your future based on your capacity to absorb change, rather than a sudden emotional shift that can occur after a bad day at work or a rousing motivational seminar.
The choice is yours.
We are fortunate to live in a time where there are more career options than ever before. And that means there are also more study options to get you there than ever before. But the first step is always yours. What do you love? What are you good at? What do others have to say? What will it take to get you there? And finally, do you dare to take that first step towards making your own dreams come true?