You want to find a new career. Need to. Your job is slowly crushing your soul, and it’s waaaay past time to make a change.

But there’s this ONE thing that makes it impossible for you to find meaningful work.

Maybe you:

  • get bored easily, so any job would be a drag after awhile.
  • have a kid to take care of, so you can’t take financial risks.
  • work a very demanding full-time job, so you’d never have time to build your own business.

So…done. You’re toast. You don’t even bother looking for something else because you know your obstacle is insurmountable. You’re stuck forever. You bitterly decide that meaningful careers are for untethered 20-somethings and spoiled wives with richy rich husbands.

Nice Try

Your situation? Not that exceptional. Your obstacle? Totally workable. Your excuse? Let’s neutralize it.

I’ll give you this: career change is the easiest for people who have fewer responsibilities. (Has anyone on the internet ever copped to this, ever?) It is easier to change careers if you don’t have kids. It’s easier if you’re part of a two-income household. It’s easier if you don’t have a mortgage or a partner to consider. But there’s still hope for everyone else.

Option 1: Change Your Circumstances

Sometimes, you can remove your obstacle. (Do not attempt if your obstacle is that you have a kid.)

While it may not be practical to divorce your partner or ditch your mortgage…wait. It might be ENTIRELY practical for you to divorce your partner or ditch your mortgage.

Is your obstacle an obstacle in the bigger picture of your life? Would the rest of your life be better without it? Sometimes the answer is yes.

One client decided to sell her house because she would rather have the freedom than the mortgage. She knew she could reach her career goals faster if she lived a little more lightly. She realized that her “obstacle” was a choice, and that she had the power to make a new choice.

This can feel like a radical option, but people who go this way feel a great sense of peace with their decision once they know it’s the right thing to do. But I’d say it’s far more common for people to go with Option 2.

Option 2: Accept Your Circumstances

Instead of treating your obstacle as a liability, treat it as a fact.

It’s not a problem that you have a kid, it’s a circumstance. It’s not a problem that you have a full-time job, it’s a circumstance.

Everybody has circumstances. When you learn to work with yours instead of making them into roadblocks, you’ll find you have more options that you think.

Let me show you how to flip a liability into a fact and work with it:

Liability: I get bored easily, so any job would be a drag after awhile.

Fact: I do my best work when there is novelty involved.

Work with it: Look for project-based work, work for multiple departments within one organization, or change jobs every 3 years.

Liability: I have a kid to take care of, so I can’t take financial risks.

Fact: I have be extra financially responsible during my career change.

Work with it: Create a bigger savings cushion before you change careers, and transition into your Homecoming Career gradually over a period of several years.

Liability: I work a very demanding full-time job, so I’d never have time to build my own business.

Fact: I have to become a ninja time manager since my time is limited.

Work with it: Work on your business nights and weekends, get an accountability partner, switch to part-time once your business starts to pick up.

Some of these “work with its” may not be the fastest or most ideal routes, but they take into account the reality of your situation. Don’t let the fact that it’s not ideal stop you; career change is messy, no matter how you slice it. I’ve found that when I really want something, I adopt a “do what it takes” mentality and get things done. How about you?


How Will You Overcome Your Obstacle?

Is your obstacle really an obstacle? Or is it a challenge that can be met? I have yet to work with anyone who had a truly impossible obstacle to keep them from changing careers.

One last thought: timing matters. If a career change feels like too much to take on right now, take the time to get the rest of your life in order, first. And then…

Start taking messy, less than ideal action.

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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