I ask each of my new clients if they know anyone who has made a career change or significant job change. Along with other questions I ask when embarking on a career counselling relationship with someone new, this question helps to gauge how daunted the new client might feel.
If you don’t know anyone who has done what you want to do, it may seem impossible. The people close to you might be questioning you about all kinds of things. Isn’t it risky? Why would you leave (what looks like) a good job? Aren’t you asking for too much? They are often speaking their own fears and without any career trailblazers in your circle there’s no one to balance out this nervous perspective.
So meet some new people! Do you know someone who knows someone who made a happy job change or took a significant career risk that paid off? In what ways could you expand your social circle and start to meet new people? The more people you meet, the more likely you’ll find someone who has made a career change. We really are everywhere. You just don’t know us yet.
And while it can take some time to find new circles and cultivate new relationships, you can also look other places for inspiring stories. Keep your eyes open for news articles or inspiring movies or autobiographies. You might also check out one of the best online career story resources I know: the Careershifters Success Stories page. Careershifters is a UK-based career support and coaching organization and they post the most wonderful interviews and profiles of the people who take their classes. You can even search the stories and perhaps find someone who left the same field you’re thinking of leaving (like the legal field which is what I left behind for career counselling). And you can search for stories about transitioning into new jobs or into freelance work, portfolio careers, entrepreneurship, or start-ups. Seek out inspiration! (Because the nay-sayers already know how to find you.)
Remember, it’s ok to be the odd one in your circle who is seeking more satisfaction at work, but don’t stay isolated like that. Find some other odd folks and some inspiring career stories so you can see that there really are new possibilities!