Fola raised the topic—not for the first time—and this time she desperately needed answers from us. We honestly thought she would follow her passion for baking, and “give daddy his law degree” as she had always said she would. Imagine our shock when she told us four years ago that she had decided to work at her uncle’s law firm. I’ll never forget how loudly we laughed when she joked that her child couldn’t live on cookies alone.
Our other friend, Bimpe, had successfully transitioned from owning and running her fashion business for years to becoming one of the best business strategists in the country. Bimpe’s voice was the loudest during this conversation, as it had every right to be. We all watched her handle her transition gracefully, how she sometimes had to delete comments by entitled people who had heard rumours about why she closed down her business. But she was soaring in her career, and that’s all that mattered.
Here are a few lessons on career transitioning that Bimpe shared with us, and will be helpful if you’re in a similar stage in your life.
Keep an open mind
This is a crucial season for you and your loved ones. Before you take that leap into a new career path, be open to the opinion of others, especially those who have transitioned before, or currently work in the industry you seek to join. Be open to asking and answering very tough questions. We didn’t spare Bimpe or Fola these questions, so I doubt your loved ones will. When people give you answers to your questions, ensure you’re not defensive.
Enhance your skills
A career transition can be one of the most humbling experiences ever. You’ll most likely find that some of the skills you have will not come in handy in the future. In order to be very effective in your new industry, ensure that you take a break to enhance all needed skills. Do it at your own pace; there is no rush. You may want to start out with a quick online search, a course, or take on a whole degree if that is needed in your new field. You should also consider an internship position to learn for a few months. Just ensure that you’ve evaluated your past experiences and measured it with what you now seek. Mentorship can also not be over-emphasized. Get a mentor or friend in this field who can help guide you.
Be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons
A career transition is a big deal. It’s important that you do not limit yourself, but it’s also important that the big decisions you take in life are well thought out. You have to look inward and question your motive. Why am I changing careers? Will I look back in five years and regret this decision? Should I seek counsel? The biggest reason for your career change should be fulfillment. Although I understand there are times where life just happens, still, always be fuelled by other desires that are not monetary.
Don’t hold back
Sounds like a contradiction, right? But life is too short to be doing anything that doesn’t give you fulfilment. You just have to take the jump. Do it afraid. There’s only so much analyzing you can do, at some point, you’ll have to just try it and see if it’ll work out. You’ll never know if you don’t try, and if you do try and it doesn’t work out, then at least you can tell the world that you’re great and trying new things and experiences.