Are you considering a career shift?

Do you dream of doing something completely different, not just something similar to what you are doing today? According to the American career consultant Marti Smye, author of the book Is It Too Late to Run Away and Join the Circus? A Guide for Your Second Life, all too many of us stay in situations that make us unhappy.

Smye says that this is part of the 'Golden handcuffs' problem. When you're very good at what you do, it's almost impossible to convince yourself to give it up - even if it doesn't make you happy. Surveys have shown that only 10 percent of people who dream of changing their careers turn their ideas into reality, and that this is often forced on them through losing their job or another drastic change.

More and more accepted

There has seldom been a better time to make a radical change of career. On the one hand, completely new types of jobs are developing in the footsteps of the IT revolution, and on the other, changing track in the middle of one's life is becoming more accepted.

Don't be too structured

The process involved in a traditional change of job is fairly obvious. You sit down and make a list of your alternatives, activate your network, make some contacts and focus on a few good potential employers. However, when a change of career is involved (not just a change of job), such a structured approach may actually be a disadvantage. It can prevent you from seeing opportunities beyond your normal field of vision. When changing careers, the controlling factor is not so much logic as that gut feeling.

Match values - not skills

When changing career, Smye points out that you should not worry so much about your specific skills. Matching your values to your new environment and being curious and adaptable are much more crucial for how well you will get on and succeed in your new environment.