5 Career Change Myths You Must Ignore - Abby Locke

5 Career Change Myths You Must Ignore

Everyone, yes, even the high flyers and superstars, have thought about changing careers. Whether it comes at the heels of a stressful project, frustration from an unreasonable boss or a phase of boredom with current job, we all consider changing careers.

Not just get a new job, but to change careers completely.

What is the most common reaction you get from other people when you talk about changing careers? What often goes through your mind?

  • Wish I thought about this before, now it’s too late
  • I might be too old to entire a new career
  • I make too much money to start all over in a new industry
  • I am not sure my skills will be transferable in new career
  • and on and on.

Boy, we can convince ourselves to stop breathing if we tried hard enough, huh?

Well, if anyone knows about career changing, it’s me. I mean how do you go from a business background with MBA in finance to an executive career coach and branding strategist drawing clients from around the world?

You get there by ignoring the negative advice, avoiding the naysayers and debunking every myth that comes your way. First and foremost, if you are serious about changing careers, know that you are not the first and you will not be the last person to take that journey.

So how do you filter good, sage advice from just idle talk and glaring career change myths? I am glad you asked and I am happy to share them with you.

Career Myth #1: You cannot make a living doing something you really, truly love

Are you serious with this one? You cannot (and I mean cannot) hold tight to the belief that you can’t have a “practical” career doing something that you were passionate about and make good money too.

Simply not true! This myth is rooted in fear. Fear that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Don’t buy into that myth…yes, you can earn a living by doing what you love.

There are still people today who scratch their heads and cannot understand why I would give up the corporate world to start my own business many, many years ago.

Sure, it’s not easy and it has its challenges, but at the end of the day, I truly LOVE what I do…and I find a way to make a living doing it.

If you find yourself buying into this career change myth, ponder this for a moment. When you look back on your life 10 or 15 years from now, what will you regret more? Following your passion or listening to your fears?

Career Myth #2: You cannot change careers now because it’s a tough job market/economy

The economy is always in a cycle. Some industries are up while others are down, but life as we know it has to keep going on. Services need to be delivered and products still need to be made. So don’t avoid changing careers because you think the market is down.

It’s a myth because it doesn’t reflect the whole story. How we transition from job-to-job is different than what is going on in the economy. Hiring practices have shifted and what makes it tougher to change careers is that we’ve been slower to change.

There are many professionals who still hold onto old job search tactics and refuse to let go of old mindsets and behaviors. That’s not to say that customary ways still don’t work, but they’re just not as effective in today’s work environment.

Different job markets mean different career change strategies…figure out what will work best for you.

Career Myth #3: You cannot change careers because it is too risky

What’s riskier than leaving what you know to pursue the unknown? Changing careers often means leaving behind a piece of your professional identity . Like your – “I’m a CFO” response to the “what-do-you-do?” question.

Many people feel like changing careers is publicly saying you have made a mistake with your initial career choice…or somehow acknowledging that you’re unsure of what’s next in your professional journey.

So you’re a smart person and that means you always know what’s next, right? Of course not. Well, successful career changers often don’t have the perfect plan, but that’s not a good reason to stay in the same career, disappointed, year after year.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is riskier than NOT changing careers if you’re longing to do so. The truth is that your desire and longing won’t go away.

It will always be there, under the surface, waiting for you to do something about it. My recommendation is to do something about it.

Career Myth #4: You cannot change careers without a back-up plan

I will admit that I love having a plan at all times. Sometimes having a back-up plan is the smart and prudent course of action. But, how do you move forward with changing careers when you’re standing with one foot in and one foot out?

In my experience, we usually close the door and retreat to what is comfortable and familiar even if it’s stagnant. When you hesitate to commit to your professional future, you end up with feelings of regret and the nagging “What if?” question.

Holding on too tight to back-up plans diffuse our energy and motivation for making significant change in our personal and professional lives. Diffused energy equals diffused results. Give all that you’ve got to your new career and dream job…and get a better chance of being successful.

 Career Myth #5: You cannot change careers unless you have a career epiphany

Does this sound like you? Whenever you see a link to “Find Your Dream Job,” you immediately click on it to see what’s there. You constantly roam the Internet reading every “Top Ten Career” list out there to see if anything catches your interest?

If you are doing this, you are just falling prey to the career epiphany myth. It would be awesome if most people had a career epiphany that showed them exactly what to do next.

I will share from personal experience that I did not wake up one day and decide to be an executive career coach and branding strategist.

Instead, my journey was a series of “unfoldings” and discoveries that got clearer and clearer as I keep moving forward. I tried, I explored, I observed and I experienced…and more importantly, I listened carefully to what was going on inside of me.

So I hate to break it to you, but there’s not harp music or singing birds that give you the answers. For most professionals, the career epiphany is a quiet whisper.

Ignoring your career dissatisfaction will not make your desire to change careers go away. Sometimes the fear of change remains, but you have to reach a point where there’s a greater commitment to living for what is possible than to holding on to the feeling of fear.

So now that you know that one or all of these myths have been holding you back, what are you waiting for?