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Six Career Change Options

Most people who are in a poor-fitting job (that is, not a Natural Vocation) often spend many years suffering through it. I have found there is a prevailing sense of skepticism towards career change. Many think that making a career change to something that fits your natural talents, is meaningful, and pays the bills is like finding an "easy diet." It just doesn't happen.

However, that notion is downright inaccurate and misguiding. People every day are discovering career change options they never even knew about or considered possible. Often people realize that they can even keep their career by modifying the environment enough to make it a Natural Vocation.

Below are the primary options you have before you. Each option holds the possibility of a greater fit with your "true self" and your personal vision.

  1. The Job Shaper. I've seen this have great effects on people who thought they could never enjoy their careers. Working in a small organization where you feel like family, have a lot of say on the direction, and feel like your efforts really matter can make a world of difference. But if you're really performing functions that don't fit your natural abilities, this option probably won't be the solution.

  2. The Trojan Horse. I call this career change the "Trojan Horse" method. Say you feel that you'd like to try out Training & Development, or Marketing, or Research & Development, but you don't have the training or experience. One option I've advised and seen work successfully is for a person to change to a larger organization in the same career they are in, and then make contacts and move into the new department of interest. It is a safer way of seeing how really green the grass is on other side.

  3. The Freelancer. If you've got a trade or field that you're good at, but are tired or working for a bureaucratic, faceless machine of a company, going solo as a freelancer/contractor may get you more money, autonomy, and variety. You should be comfortable with some instability, however. Keeping a reserve of income in case of any assignment gaps can greatly reduce that risk.

  4. The Entrepreneur. This is an option that I really like, albeit not for every career changer. Being your own boss is truly the only way to achieve your true potential. Either by focusing on your assets, or locating a niche that is not being filled, many people decide to really take control of their lives. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from being your own boss and creating a profitable business. You can provide a service, or maybe create a product. Maybe you want to buy a franchise (better option than you might think.) Maybe you've got a friend to be a partner with you. Keep in mind that there are many ways to get funding for a business. You don't necessarily have to have a huge bank account to start a business.

  5. The Minipreneur. This is one of the great secrets in creating a working life you love. As defined by, minipreneurs are a "vast army" of people running minibusinesses, often as part-time ventures, with the aim of experimenting with entrepreneurship and bringing in multiple income streams. A "portfolio career" often resembles the minipreneur scenario.

  6. The Inspired. Many of you may wonder "what else is out there?" What is it that really suits my skills, abilities, personality, and interests? Wonderful! I started over myself and have seen it happen a hundred times over. However, you must be prepared to "pay" for a life of fulfillment. You may have go to night school for a few years. You may have to drop salary initially. From experience, I have found that these sacrifices are definitely worth it. But you will have to tackle your own inner critic, which will try and convince you it shouldn't be done. On the spectrum, this option may feel like the greatest risk, but have the highest payoff in terms of happiness and "psychic income."

Which strategy will YOU use?

Learn More about our Career Change Counseling Program for adults

About the Author: Steve Bohler is the founder and head coach of the Oxford Program career programs. 




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