The days of a ‘job for life’ are long gone and the career pivot has become a new life skill for many. Almost a third of all workers change careers or jobs every twelve months. Most workers will have an average of between five and seven career changes in a lifetime, younger people even more.
Changing jobs and heading into the unknown can be daunting at first. Fear is a very natural response to change because we struggle to identify what the ‘unknown’ is going to look like for us.
So why fear it? Converting from a physical workplace to a mostly online one might feel outside the square but it’s good to look for proof to manage fear. Thousands of workers before you have made the switch to career pivot and work from home, so it’s certainly possible. The trick is to put in place strategies to maximise a successful transition. Let’s explore the keys to getting it right.
1. The ‘Satisfaction’ factor
There are many reasons for moving jobs. You may have been made redundant, you may dislike your current workplace, or you may have decided on a complete career pivot. In an ideal world, the first consideration of your next job should be ‘satisfaction’.
In the real world, things like salary, conditions, hours, etc. come into play. Working out what you want to do, what you’re qualified to do, or what you need to do to get the qualifications you must have is a crucial step for a successful transition.
Having time on your hands can be a great asset, so why not invest in yourself? Consider undertaking an online learning course, such as those offered by the College for Adult Learning. A diploma in your chosen field might only take a year to do, at your own pace, and in your own home.
2. Make use of your time and space
Working from home, while daunting for some, has excellent benefits. For starters, there’s reduced commuting, which can save you many hours a week of travel time (and lots of money).
Secondly, the environment is familiar, so you should feel comfortable in the ‘workplace’. Invest in a good computer, ergonomic chair, and desk. Consider increasing your phone and internet data allowance, because you’ll be spending a lot more time online researching, making contacts, drumming up business, and studying.
3. Broaden your horizons
The key to any home-based career is connections, so broaden your contact base via subscriptions to business-related platforms like LinkedIn. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and plan time to contribute to these each day.
Seek out experts in your field and watch or listen to them regularly online. Subscribe to a few quality YouTube channels and inspiring podcasts.
Be proactive and get yourself ‘out there’. Undertake a basic course on how to present yourself online (you’ll be having a lot of meetings that way). You may want to invest in a good quality camera if making the most of your image online is essential to your career pivot.
The quicker you do these things, the faster you’ll reap the rewards, and the smoother your transition will be.
4. Structure your day
There are many positives to your work from home career pivot. However, it’s also important to stop bad habits developing as you embark on a home-based career. Sitting in one place for too long, even in a good chair can cause lower back and posture problems. Get up regularly for a stretch and a drink of water.
Take a walk around the neighbourhood to clear your head and keep your energy up. Try doing this more than once a day. Try to minimise frequent distractions and establish a routine as much as possible. If there are kids and other family members around, set mindful boundaries, so they know when its “work” time and “home” time.
Maintain your relationships. Working in an office environment allows for real, human interaction which is vitally important, so prioritise reaching out to others with daily text, regular phone calls or video chat.
5. Be self-motivated
Nobody except you knows when is the ‘right’ time to make a career pivot. You might feel as if you are ‘coasting’ in your current role. You might want more money or have more family-friendly working hours. You might be affected by circumstances beyond your control.
It’s okay to be nervous about your career pivot, but now is the time to believe in yourself. Change is one of the most constant things in life, so have the self-confidence to know you’re making the right call. You are stepping outside a bubble in which you may have spent several years or even decades being very comfortable inside. Once the bubble bursts, the change is going to seem unusual but be patient with yourself and you’ll adjust sooner than you think.
There’s nothing more motivating for a career pivot than losing your existing career safety net. If the future you seek requires qualifications other than the ones you have, that’s an easy fix. Take the opportunity to get an online diploma and commit yourself to become the most satisfied and successful person you can be.