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← How to know if it's time to change careers

Quitting your job can be scary, but sometimes it's the best thing you can do for your career, says entrepreneur Chieh Huang. He shares how to know when it's time to move on -- and what can you do to prepare.

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Showing Revision 6 created 03/27/2020 by Erin Gregory.

  1. I was not one of those kids
  2. that knew exactly what they wanted to do
    when they were growing up.
  3. In the last 15 years of my career,
  4. I've been an English teacher,
    attorney, video game creator
  5. and now, a toilet paper salesman,
  6. selling millions of rolls
    of toilet paper a year.
  7. [The Way We Work]

  8. Life is about finding the intersection
    of what you really, really love

  9. with what you're really, really good at.
  10. As simple as it sounds,
    it's really not that easy to find.
  11. After a brief stint as an English teacher,

  12. I went to law school and ended up
    becoming an attorney
  13. at a big law firm here in New York City.
  14. Like most Americans,
    for the next two, three years,
  15. I was holding on to my job for dear life,
  16. working really late hours at a job
    that I thought maybe I was good at
  17. but certainly not one that I really loved.
  18. I then came upon the epiphany
  19. that it takes years if not
    tens of thousands of hours
  20. to get really good at something.
  21. I really didn't have
    a lot of time to waste.
  22. This talk isn't for those
    looking to quit their job

  23. because they don't like their boss
    or they had a long day at work.
  24. This is for those that are ready
    to make the completely scary leap
  25. into a brand-new career.
  26. So as you think about
    making a career change,
  27. here are a few tips
    I hope you consider
  28. and a few things
    I've picked up along the way.
  29. First, there's three things to think about
    before you're ready to move on.

  30. Number one: professional
    life is about learning.
  31. If you're not even interested
    in learning anymore,
  32. that's a huge red flag
  33. that there might not be
    a future for you in that industry.
  34. Number two: career changes
    are often gut-driven.

  35. If you constantly have sleepless nights
  36. where you're wide awake staring
    at the ceiling thinking,
  37. "Oh, man. I can't live with myself
    if I never try to make this change
  38. or if I don't even
    actually investigate it,"
  39. then trust your gut.
  40. It might be time for that career change.
  41. On the flip side,

  42. one reason to not move on
    is short-term pain.
  43. If you don't like your boss
  44. or people at the office
    are grating on you,
  45. that's actually not a good reason
    to absolutely change your career,
  46. because when you do change a career,
  47. you generally have to start
    from the bottom,
  48. and you'll probably feel
    a lot of short-term pain,
  49. whether it's through a lack of
    salary or lack of a title.
  50. Pain at any job is inevitable.
  51. So now you're convinced
    that it's time to change your career.

  52. Then there's three things
    to do immediately.
  53. First: network, network, network.
  54. No one ever builds a career
    without a good mentor
  55. or a good support network.
  56. What I mean by networking
    is getting all the great advice
  57. that you can possibly get.
  58. Technology has made it so simple
    to reach out to new people
  59. to say, "Hey, I'm thinking
    about making a career change.
  60. Do you have just five
    minutes to chat with me?"
  61. That passion and that hunger
    and that ability to be a sponge
  62. really attracts awesome mentors
  63. and people willing to give you their time
  64. to give you some good advice.
  65. So go out there and meet new people.
  66. The second thing
    you need to do immediately

  67. is shore up your finances.
  68. The reality is, when
    you change your career,
  69. you'll either start
    with a job with a lower title
  70. or lower pay or maybe even no pay,
  71. especially if you're starting
    your own business.
  72. So going out there and making sure
    your finances are in order
  73. to make the transition less painful
  74. is really, really important.
  75. For me personally, as I made
    the transition from being an attorney
  76. over to a video game creator,
  77. I wanted to have at least six to 12 months
    of personal runway in the bank.
  78. Six to 12 months might not be
    the right number for you,
  79. but be honest with yourself
    on what that number should be.
  80. Number three, if you're not ready to make
    the full jump right at this moment,

  81. then get your side hustle on.
  82. Side hustles could be anything
    from volunteering with an organization
  83. that's in the new industry
    you want to go into,
  84. could be starting your business
    part-time on the weekends.
  85. It's a free way to get a taste
    to see if you really love something.
  86. So you're ready to make the move

  87. or maybe you already made the move.
  88. Here are three things
    you should think about doing, right now.
  89. One: do not -- I repeat --
    do not burn bridges.
  90. You spent years building those bridges,
  91. why burn them now?
  92. The world is such a small place,
  93. especially with all
    these online platforms,
  94. that, believe me,
    you will see these people again
  95. and probably in the most
    inopportune times.
  96. Number two: take stock
    of what you've learned

  97. in your previous career or careers.
  98. Most likely, a lot of those
    things are really applicable
  99. to your new job and your new career,
  100. whether it's interacting
    with people, playing on a team
  101. or dealing with jerks and assholes.
  102. All those things are really
    universally applicable.
  103. You'll find jerks no matter
    what industry you're in;
  104. no one's immune to it,
    everyone's got to figure it out,
  105. and you probably know
    how to do it already.
  106. Lastly, when you start your new job,
    you're going to be nervous.

  107. But don't worry, take a deep breath,
  108. because this is what I want to tell you:
  109. you're part of a new team now,
  110. and everyone around you
    is rooting for your success,
  111. because your success is their success.
  112. So welcome to your new career.