How to Make a Career Shift When You Think You Can’t


How to Make a Career Shift When You Think You Can’t

Career Shift…If I had 25 cents for every time I heard this Can’t line, I would be a wealthy man. It is such a common problem that continues; a never-ending scenario, because for some reason, people feel boxed in and unable to do anything about it. Why? Because they see no financial way out. And even if they did, they are still left with this huge roadblock, “I do not know what to do!” The “Hate Job, No Money & No Idea” is an extremely powerful combination that leads to “No Hope” in the Career Shift scenario. If you are that point, there are decisions to be made. The renowned female pilot Amelia Earhart who fought all odds had a few words to say about this:

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. 

Earhart was a well know accomplished pilot during a time when that career was dominated by men. This suggests that her statement has something to do with this Career Shift theme. As we begin, let’s restate your position, then reframe it through the lens of Earhart’s words.

So you hate your current job/career, you’re broke and you desperately want out.

You would be delighted if you could implement a Career Shift but, you just can’t afford to leave the job you now have. However, deep down, you really don’t know what you want to do with your life anyway. Here are three possible choices…

  1.   Do nothing and stay miserable
  2.   Stay where you are for now and work on an escape plan you can both afford and live with, or
  3.   Find another job acceptable to you for a predetermined amount of time while you work on the escape plan.

The rule of thumb is, if you have the money, less time is required. When money is an issue, more time is required. Therefore to implement the escape plan when the cash flow is tight means you will need at least three times the amount of time to accomplish your Career Shift.

What do you Mean by an Career Shift Escape Plan?

I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but an escape plan is exactly what it says it is. You stay at your current job but with purpose. The purpose is to slowly ‘Escape’ from it.  Because your job probably feels like a prison, you are looking to get out, hence the word escape. And it comes with a ‘Plan’, a carefully well thought out, predetermined path to move you into the next stages of your World of Work. This involves a change in perspective. Let go of looking over the shoulder at your current career/job situation. Embrace a sequence of happenings that causes you to look ahead in the direction of your preferred career outcome. This serves two purposes. It gives you:

  1. Hope for your future and, if realistic, can change your mindset.
  2. Motivation. Knowing that the job you don’t like is actually paying for the preparation for your next career as well as knowing there is an end in sight, can shift your daily attitude of getting up to go to work. If your current work environment is so poor that you simply can’t stay, then you will have to look for another place to earn some money, but only for the short term.

Then why don’t I just look for another job right away?

Good question! The Answer…because the odds of you finding another job that will bring you satisfaction on the other side of your Career Shift are at best, minimal. Take a moment and think this through.based on a couple of key statistics.

Statistic #1

An international Gallop poll discovered that 87% of people suffer from Career Dissatisfaction. Look around the at work. Eight or nine people out of every ten feel the same way but won’t say so in case the boss hears.

Career Dissatisfaction is big deal and has been for some time. Good news…you’re not alone. Bad news…you’re not alone. If you want out of your job, you are one of the few with the guts to do something about it. However, that smaller number will all be competing for the same jobs elsewhere. People happy with their jobs locally will stay at their company meaning no increase in opportunities for the job seeker. Unhappy workers in local companies are in the same boat as you. However, do you ‘really’ want to work there? I think not! That is “frying pan into the fire” territory.

Statistic #2

Approximately 80% of posted jobs have already been filled. Personal knowledge of an applicant trumps everything. The position is usually given to an internal candidate because they know who they are, or HR asks for names of friends of friends The only reason the unavailable job is posted is because either government or company policy says the job has to be offered to the public, even though the choice has already been made. Continual job rejections to an already hurting and fragile person can be devastating. If you are unhappy at your job, and not sure what to do, you’re in career prison and it was probably that way when you said yes to your current job.

Understand these two Statistical issues before you decide to move on, otherwise you will move from one career prison to another and you have lost a lot of time that could have been used more efficiently.

What can you do to get on a positive career track and avoid recurring dissatisfaction?

My suggestion would be, as already stated, stay in the unhappy career or move to something temporary. You can’t afford to leave so by staying you are working with two commodities. The first is Money so you can purchase what you need to live, and to set some aside for career guidance. The second is Time, a commodity you need to accomplish the necessary tasks to set you up for a better career. These can actually provide you with a new motivation for getting up and going to work. In the movie, “The Great Escape”, Allied soldiers wanted out of the German POW camp. They used their time, abilities and creative resources to accomplish the tasks needed to set them free.

Similarly, you can be motivated by taking a portion of the earnings to discover…

  1. Where your interests lie,
  2. What your best and most useful skills you have (some yet to be discovered) and
  3. What needs to be done educationally or experientially to make that a reality
  4. Much about your Personality, Internal Data Gathering & Decision-Making Functions, Career Anchors, Core Values and Assets that set you apart from other applicants

What does the Career Shift Process look like?

The process that I just laid out is simple. Though the process is simple, here are two important things about it.

  • First, the introspection, that deep inner look, required to complete the process cab be extremely difficult for some.
  • Secondly, introspection in terms of difficulty, pales in comparison to going to work day after day, week after week, month after month, going to a job you despise, usually with no end in sight.

I am a Career Consultant. For personal reasons, I chose to make a transition in my mid 40’s an age when it was both a privilege and a joy to walk through the above process. The result…learning how to help people in their careers just like I was. By nature, Career consulting led to training leadership and building teams in all types of companies, large and small. During those sessions, I had wonderful conversations with people as we talked about their career journey.

Truth is, what I have just laid out ‘is’ true. Process Easy, Introspection Difficult, Outcome Amazing. I have walked many people through that same transition. Many did it successfully. Some fell by the wayside after part of the program but learned enough about themselves that they found their way. Others weren’t willing to pay the price and honestly, I don’t know where they are right now.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.  ~ Beverly Sills


How does the process lead to your final step? The Choosing

Once you are finished or almost finished the process, you will probably have narrowed down the careers you want to consider. When I went through the Career Consulting process, I had at least three. Two were obvious. One was an extreme dream. You will most likely have options as well. However, there are those that go to one immediately. You wouldn’t be the first if you don’t have a few choices. But for those that do, they will need to be narrowed down. How?

  • Career trend research to see the long-term future of that career
  • Local opportunity vs. will or can you move. This is often a family matter
  • Book informational interviews to get direct feedback from those that actually do it. People that are happy in the career like to talk about it and can tell you everything you need to know…Pros, Cons, Salary, Best Places to Learn, Professional Associations for more information, etc… And don’t forget to send or email them a Thank you note expressing your appreciation for their time (There is a reason for this)
  • Online research. Career counsellors have the best links for that
  • Is there local opportunity for further education, apprenticeships or volunteer experience in your field of choice should that be required to get you there

How do you finally land your preferred career?

There are many possible answers to this question.

  • For some it will be easy. You will find a local opportunity and apply, and you just may get the job.
  • Remember those informational interviews we talked about? Unless everyone has gone through one, your resume will probably come to the top. If you made the interview a memorable on, you may be remembered, at least vaguely. This is why I said to follow up with a Thank You note. Your name on your resume, combined with the visit and the Thank You note could help you to very well stand out.
  • You could also consult your network of family/friends (who know you) to help you to find the doors of opportunity in your chosen field. The broader your network, the better the chance that somebody will know someone in your field of choice that is looking for someone just like you. Though it has been advertised, you will get the job and will no longer be one of the 80% that is turned down.

One didn’t get there overnight. Healthy repositioning takes time.

The above is a very basic approach which is useless unless you take action using what is above written above, there are bound to be twists and turns along with way. Don’t view that  as a negative thing. These are the things that make the journey a creative one…Points of discovery allowing you to dream and re-imagine the future, the possibilities for your emerging ‘World of Work”.

Where to from here?

My philosophy of Career Transition is…

Your ideal job isn’t out there looking to be found…

It is inside of you waiting to be discovered!

What is that next step?

You have now read this post. If it strikes an inner chord, you have a choice. Ignore it or take another step. I have created a self-assessment that asks you to complete 15 statements or questions. First of all, print it off. Secondly, fill it out. Don’t think hard and long about the answers. You should be able to do it in 5 to 7 minutes at most. Twelve of them are Yes _____ No ____ responses, on three of them you put a number on a scaled line. Finally, by the time you have finished and perhaps taken some time to reflect on your responses, you should know exactly what your next step should be.

Wrap Up

I have given you a brief overview of my Career Management System. Should you choose to explore that journey further, you need to know this. When you are finished, you will have everything you need to manage your career from the point you learn it and forward. You will have something to guide you into further possible opportunities throughout your career.

Does the Career Management System Interest You?

If so, here are the first two steps:

  • Click on the PDF link below that opens the Questionnaire
  • Click on the Link at the Bottom of the Questionnaire to get you to the Career Management Systems (CMS) Page

Everything you need to know about the CMS can be found there. The next steps are very intuitive on the CMS page.



PDF – Questionnaire: How to Make a Career Shift When You Can’t Afford It and Just Don’t Know What To Do

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, be sure to check out the
LifeConcepts Career Management System!

Also, make sure you follow me on Social Media!


Have an Awesome Day!

Murray Comber

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