5 steps to kickstart your career change: Which direction to take?

If you’re feeling ready for a change – big or small – you’re in the right place.
At Escape The City, we’ve worked with thousands of people looking for something different in their career – people who believe life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter to them.
Making a career change sure isn’t easy. If you’re like most people we meet (and us, when we started out), you might be asking:
  • Which direction should I take?
  • What about money?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I don’t have the right skills?
  • Where can I find the right opportunity
All scary questions. All totally normal.
We’ve learned that with the right approach – whether that’s switching up your thinking style, finding ways to take action, or using tools and exercises to uncover new ideas – these questions needn’t stand in your way.
Over the next five days, we’ll share five steps you can take to tackle them head-on. Let’s kick off right away.
start smaller
It’s one thing to know you need a change – but what to? The question ‘what should I do with my life’ can feel like a huge and daunting one. It is. But there are a couple of thinking traps, or myths, that make it bigger than it needs to be.
Challenge yourself to think your way around these traps, and the question suddenly seems a bit more manageable.
Thinking Trap #1. ‘Find Your Passion’
Most career advice is to ‘find your passion’ and follow it.
This is problematic. What if you don’t know what it is? According to Stanford’s popular Design Your Life course, only 20% of the population can identify a single passion. For the remaining 80% of us mere mortals:
  • There are many things that excite us, and
  • No single thing emerges as a “passion”
Which means being told to “find your passion” or “follow your passion” is an empty call to action that doesn’t work for the vast majority of us. How does one go about “finding” their passion? Where does it live? How do you discover it?
The phrase paints the inaccurate picture that your passion is a treasure to be found at the end of some glowing rainbow, or in a lightning bolt flash of genius. Moments of epiphany might occur in the pursuit of more fulfilling work, but the truth is that most people who “found their passion” actually became passionate about their work.
So if “follow your passion” is bad advice – where do we start instead? Here’s a more helpful way to approach it:

chase curiousities

On the surface “chase your curiosities” sounds suspiciously like “follow your passion,” but there’s an important distinction here. “Follow your passion” implies that you know exactly where you’re heading and how to get there. Chasing your curiosities, on the other hand, doesn’t ask that you know exactly where you’re going before you start. It asks only that you start. From where you are right now, with what you have available to you, running toward whatever sparks your curiosity.
It may not immediately lead you to a career change, but it will likely lead you in the right direction.
Thinking Trap #2. ‘Find The One’
It’s tempting to believe in finding ‘The One’. As in: “There is one true dream job for me and I will stay put until I find it.”
We romantically scavenge any job board we can get our hands-on. We look starry-eyed at people who seem to have stumbled upon fairytale dream jobs. Maybe you’ve even subscribed to our weekly Top 10 Opportunities email hoping you’ll lock eyes with your perfect match.
The chance that you’ll find your dream job waiting for you on a job board, while not impossible, might be rare. You contain multitudes. There may be many jobs and organizations that might be “the one” for you. Instead, be on the lookout for “The Ones.”
Here’s a thought: thousands of companies and tens of thousands of roles didn’t even exist twenty or even ten years ago (i.e. Google, Airbnb, Etsy, etc). How inconvenient would it be if your One True Job hasn’t even been invented yet?
If you’re chasing curiosities (note the plural), you’ll naturally find that multiple directions open up. This is good.
Keep the pressure off to find the ‘One Thing’ that you’re meant to do, and explore the ‘Many Things’ that are all valid ways forward in your escape!
Stay tuned for day 2 – we’ll be talking about ways to minimise your financial risk when making a bold career change! 

Unfulfilled in your job? Know you need a change but struggling with the skills, connections & confidence to make the leap? Make sure you reeceive our fortnightly newsletter for the latest career change tools, stories and advice.

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