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5 Myths About Changing Careers

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: September 09, 2015

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Whether you’ve been in your current job for a lifetime or just a few years, the thought of shifting career paths can be incredibly daunting.  But if you have a nagging feeling that your job isn’t right for you, or if you are yearning for another profession - you might want to give a career change serious consideration.

There are many myths about changing careers. Here we bust 5 of them.

MYTH #1:

You should know exactly what you want to do with your life

Kids are often asked what they want to be when they grow up.  Some will tell you with confidence that they want to be a train driver, or a doctor but there are others that aren’t so sure.

Catch up with those kids twenty years down the line and some of them might have gone on to be train drivers or doctors, some of them will have changed their minds completely and some of them still wont know what they want to be when they ‘grow up’!

Human beings are complex and over time our interests, likes and dislikes change and develop. It’s perfectly normal to experience career uncertainty. 

MYTH #2:

You can work out what your perfect job is by thinking about it

While you can ponder different career options and imagine yourself doing different jobs the reality is that you won’t really know what a particular job is like until you give it a go.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to re-qualify in a range of professions and try them out. But you do need to get a feel for what the job is really like. You could do this by shadowing people doing the jobs you’re interested in, doing internships or work experience or by meeting with people doing the job and talking frankly about what it is like.

MYTH #3:

You’re too old to start again

You may think that you’ve travelled too far down your current career path to change direction. A career change can feel particularly daunting for someone who has been in the same profession for a long time, or someone who has been very successful.

Trying something new means that you’ll be new and inexperienced again, and it might feel uncomfortable. But when it comes to career change, age is just a number.

The truth is, many more people are now changing careers at 25, 30+, 40+, 50+ and well beyond. Here's a guide on the unique challenges that each age group presents to the job changer. 

MYTH #4:

You can’t make a decent living doing the thing that you love

We all have passions; art, photography, writing, gardening – it’s different for everyone. There is a popular misconception that only a lucky handful of us get to turn that passion into their livelihood. But it simply isn’t true.

It might not be as simple as turning your hobby into a paying job, but there are lots and lots of options. A good way to begin is to make a list of all of the things that you are passionate about and then think about the ways that you could turn those passions into a career.

MYTH #5:

You can only change careers once

If you have already changed careers once you will have experienced the challenges that come from swapping one profession for another. You may feel reluctant to make another change, or you may feel like you have to commit to your current job and that you can’t change again.

Just as we change our musical taste as we grow older, our career preferences and skill set can change too.  Luckily, there isn’t a limit on the number of career changes a person can have.

Ready to start the career change process?

Check out Open Colleges' comprehensive Career Change Guide for interviews with experts, your career change toolkit and resume and cover letter templates



Yvette has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

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