5 Keys to Changing Careers in 2021


Switching careers is scary, especially during our present times. While 2020 saw a global pandemic, unprecedented unemployment, and – let’s not forget – murder hornets, what 2021 brings is anyone’s guess. Perhaps by spring we’ll be back to normal or perhaps will be fending off zombies, dodging meteors, and – for some reason – hoarding Q-tips.

For the sake of this article and everyone’s mental wellness, let’s go with the former and assume that earth is returning to its regularly scheduled programming at any moment. This doesn’t make changing careers less scary but it does mean you won’t have to fight the walking dead on the way to your interview.

So, how do you make jumping ship toward a new job less frightening and more prosperous? Consider the following:

Figure out what you want to do: As the old saying goes, “If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Thus, consider your passions, your talents, your interests, and how you want to leave your unique mark on the world. It might be tempting to settle for a job that doesn’t fit this bill (so that you can pay your bills) but consider how this affects your happiness in the long run.

Weigh your experience: It’s not impossible to entirely switch careers and move into an area where you have zero past experience…..although it’s certainly easier to make the transition if you know what you’re doing. Sometimes, the answer is in the art of the compromise.

For example, if you’ve always wanted to go into fashion design but your entire career is in advertising, consider applying for a job in the marketing department of a well-known brand. Getting where you want to be means getting your foot in the door first.

Consider going back to school: If you want to change to certain careers (you want to become a mental health counselor, for instance), you need to go back to school first. The plethora of online classes makes this convenient but it still takes commitment (in regard to both time and money). Even so, you’ll never be younger than you are right now and not taking action might mean having regret later on.

Ask around: I’ve gotten jobs by applying to ads online and I’ve gotten them because the owner of the company was my college roommate and owed me from all the times I held her hair back as she threw up vodka and cranberry. The latter is a lot easier (and makes reminiscing around the office water cooler that more fun).

Chances are high that someone you know (or someone they know) is looking to fill a job that you’d enjoy. Ask around! You might even consider putting out feelers on social media.

Make your own magic: If your dream job doesn’t exist, it might be time to create your own. Once upon a time, freelance gigs were fairly limited to writers or graphic designers but today they’re open to all sorts of professions. You can become a freelance business consultant, a freelance lawyer, a freelance CPA, a freelance illustrator, a freelance web designer, a freelance computer programmer, or a freelance (insert whatever job you want here).

Freelance has a few drawbacks (mainly, the lack of benefits) but the perks are plentiful. You can set your own schedule, take the jobs you enjoy, and work for yourself (which means your boss will be awesome). Not only that, but the pandemic has set the stage for freelance to flourish. Employers can hire as needed without paying benefits, two things attractive to their bottom line.

When all’s said and done, change is hard……and necessary. 2020 will go down as a year most of us would rather forget, making 2021 the ideal time to merge with a makeover.  


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