How to Change Careers without Going Back to School

If anything can be said about this day and age, it’s that changing careers is probably easier than ever before in human history. We are living in the age of the freelancer, where a lot of people take on the responsibility of earning their pay by relying only on themselves.

It has become increasingly rare to do one job for your entire life, for better or worse. However, this also means that you are not stuck in a career you grow to dislike – you can always change it. It does take dedication, interest and hard work, but any kind of success ultimately needs all that, right?

Make sure this is something you want

Sometimes, when our work tires us out, anything seems like a better use of our time and energy. You’re driving home with a drain-brain and you see someone working on the lawn and you start daydreaming about that. On the one hand, it happens to us all.

On the other, it is usually just that – a daydream. Not saying you shouldn’t think about starting a career in landscape architecture, but do think deeply about it first. And once you can know for certain what inspires you, take the first step.

Start with a hobby

If you are committed to the change, perhaps you can start working on it as a hobby, while retaining your current job as a source of income. Hobbies are meant to be fun, and after a long day at the office, it is something you yearn for. On the plus side, by taking up a hobby that you might turn into a fun little project for later, you will learn how to something else, while not feeling the pressure. Instead of attending boring courses, or spending ungodly hours staring at screens trying to do online tests, you get to have actual fun.

Turn a hobby into a side hustle

Once you feel quite satisfied with the knowledge and skills you have developed over the years you can try doing little services for friends and relatives. Hell, you can even start charging for them if you are good enough! The idea is to get out there and see whether you can measure up to the real-world needs for the profession you have been a hobbyist of.

Why start with people you know? Because they will be less keen on calling you out if your work is subpar, while you will be making them happy if your work is done well. Not to mention you’ll be making yourself happy as well. Once you notice that things are going the way you want them to and you feel confident enough, you can take it to the next step

Choose your path

At this point, it is up to you. If you feel your newly acquired set of skills means you are ready for a freelancing job or even becoming an entrepreneur – that is great. It is, of course, another hoop for you to jump through, but it will lead you to independence. With independence comes to stress and if you feel better working for someone else, go ahead.

Let’s say you have been teaching yourself programming and you are quite satisfied with your skills. You might not have formal education in it, however, if you look at what kind of software engineer jobs are needed in the vicinity, you might find some of them very interested in self-taught programmers. Since there are usually tests for developers, you will be able to prove your knowledge against others.

Don’t forget about networks

And we are talking about both the ones between people and the online, social ones. By working at one position you have probably gained some contacts that can help to vouch for you or get you in touch with the people who work in different fields, whether to provide services for them (as a freelancer/entrepreneur) or to work for them.

On the other hand, social networks are there for you to present yourself and you’re newly gained skills to the world. Whether you have a penchant for blogs, videos or photos, it is up to you, but it would be amiss not to utilize to the best of your ability.

Never stop learning

Regardless of the path, you take it is important to never stop being interested in new developments, whether they are in your field or they lie elsewhere. Not only will you keep your brain fresh, but you will always keep yourself two paths open – one that can lead you to a new adventure and the other one that can lead you to become even better in your current career. And with the job market volatile as it is, there is always a need to be ready for everything, even if you are an expert in your field.

In the end, we go back to the beginning. Don’t rush things. Take your time. Allow yourself to learn by playing. Not everyone is lucky enough to find the time for this – it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to do so. On the other hand, you might even be the type of person who would be able to achieve much greater success by using formal education – but that is a story for another time. 

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