13 May Careers: Starting Again At The Bottom
Starting Again At The Bottom: Is It Worth It?
If you having a true career change it may be that you’ll be starting again at the bottom, or, at least in a lower position. For some people this can be truly invigorating. It’s a fresh start and a chance to prove yourself, but with all the added life experience you have under your belt. For others, the thought is daunting. You will starting again with fresh faced graduates, perhaps under a line manager or boss who is younger than you. The salary will probably be less than you are used to, and you may also be dealing with sneaking worries around what your old colleagues are saying about you right now.
Is it Worth Starting Again at The Bottom?
That’s a question you need to answer before you start on this path. If this is a punt or an adventure because you’re feeling bored, then probably not. If you’ve been though The Career Pause process, had career coaching, or been considering this for a while, then perhaps it is.
Think Big Picture
This is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Taking a step back before you can move forward is often a vital part of the overall process. Without it, you may not be able to reach your final goal. Seen that way, this small sacrifice should pay off in the end.
Inevitably however there will be anxieties and questions – and not just your own. Here are some things I recommend bearing in mind:
Think About Yourself
We all have responsibilities – rent, mortgage, families, perhaps caring for a parent too. Nevertheless, having meaning and purpose in your career is so fundamental that this is the time to be selfish. Think of yourself ten years from now. Will you be happy staying on your current path? Or would you be filled with resentment because you missed this opportunity. Take ten minutes a day out to just think about what you want. Do the Career Intuition exercise regularly to get a feel for your desires. Focus on you.
Get Some Career Coaching
Of course I would say this, but career coaching can save you from mistakes, discuss alternative approaches and help you define your reasons and strategy. If there are any shortcuts, career coaching can help you discover them.
Use The Growth Mindset
Rather than focus on what you are giving up, concentrate on what you’ll be learning and gaining. This could be knowledge of new tech, new friends, a new way of working, and challenges that will make you grow. People in the growth mindset are less likely to experience depression and self-report as being happier and more content with their lives.
Forget About Justifying Yourself to Others
There are some people who you need on board: a partner and kids, for instance. However, concerning yourself about past colleagues and friends will distract you. My clients generally find that a small handful of people are their big fans. A good percentage of people are fearful about what you are doing, and impose their fears onto you (“aren’t you worried you’re too old?). A small number will be absolute haters. These are the people who secretly wish they could do the same, and are angry at themselves that they haven’t got the balls. Ignore these.
Focus on The Journey
Yes, think big and know why you are doing this, but also consider what can you gain from the journey as you go? When doing my Masters I made some friends for life, and a new way of working that I use even today. It was also a lot of fun.
Think About What You Have to Offer
You may be starting over, but there will be many experiences and skills you can bring to the table. These couldf be management skills perhaps, contacts, or the ability to pick up the phone and get answers.
Keep Feeling Thankful
So many people don’t have that second chance. They have to keep doing shitty jobs for the rest of their life, just to bring home the bacon. Being able to start again in something you want to do is a privilege. Appreciate it.
If you’d like some career coaching around starting again at the bottom – or are wondering if you really need to, check out my coaching sessions here.