There’s tremendous pressure on high school students to select courses — choices that will determine their eligibility for postsecondary and a career path — very quickly. Doing so in haste and under high expectations can lead to faltered confidence and reduced ambitions to aim higher. Later, as adults, these students can find themselves in careers that feel lacklustre, with few day-to-day activities sparking excitement and joy.
If you’ve been ruminating about a career change — and especially if your current position feels stagnant and job boards in the field don’t ignite interest — a more fundamental change of pathway might be just what you need. While this may sound like an insurmountable challenge, there are some time-tested steps you can take to hit reset, return to school, and ultimately find a more fulfilling job.
Identify Your Next Career
It goes without saying that your first step should be identifying points of interest. You may already have a new pathway in mind, but for those of you who haven’t, try creating a mind map that does the following:
- Break down your strengths. Make sure these strengths are things you enjoy (just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it will make for a good long-term fit).
- Include sectors that pique your interest, no matter how divergent they are (think photography, finance, or art history).
- Identify transferable skills you’d like to continue using in your new field.
- Establish goals for a new career. Do you want to travel, own a home, or start a business?
- Research careers that pertain to your wants and needs. Meeting with a career advisor or sounding ideas off a trusted friend may help.
- Volunteer in the field you’re interested in. Gaining feet-on-the-ground experience is invaluable.
- Create a soft timeline to keep you accountable and your mission at the forefront.
Procure New Skills or Qualifications
Once you have decided upon a new career trajectory, you might need to strengthen your education by completing a high school course (or courses) or by earning your high school diploma.
Fortunately, accredited virtual high schools can assist mature learners in reaching their academic goals; if you want to complete your high school diploma, retake a course to upgrade your mark for postsecondary admission, or take an entirely new course with a career change in mind, then a virtual school can certainly help.
A considerable benefit to virtual schooling is that students can continue with their education from any geographic location. For example, if you earned high school course credits in Ontario, you can complete outstanding courses and earn your Ontario high school diploma from anywhere in the world.
A further advantage to attending a virtual school is the flexibility it offers its students; eLearning means that you can complete coursework in your own time. This is especially beneficial to mature students. It means you don’t need to take time off work, which would compromise income, and it means you won’t need to secure childcare as you would for in-person classes.
Last, feel buoyed by the potential adventure of a career change. Know that you’re not alone, too. The average person changes careers three to seven times throughout their working lives. Attend networking opportunities, when possible, join online forums, and keep your ‘why’ at the forefront. A career change is a wonderful opportunity to do something you both enjoy and excel at.