Do your homework before taking your career in a new direction, writes Carla Grossetti.
Long gone are the days when workers just trudged along on the career treadmill until they reached the age of retirement. In fact, more and more Australian workers are diverting from their current career path for reasons that range from seeking financial freedom to being made redundant.
That's according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Mobility Survey, which reveals that about 2.5 million Australians left a job in the 12 months ending in February this year. About one in six of these people were retrenched, made redundant, or their employer went out of business, compared with one in five in 2010.
The director of Sustainability Consultants, Allan Gatenby, says when choosing to change your career path, it's important to identify your main reason for moving on and to research job opportunities in your chosen industry.
Gatenby says the decision to switch to another field is not always driven by a desire to boost earning power.
"Experience shows that people are happier when they are doing something that is in line with their value systems," he says.
"If you've been made redundant, you have to balance the pragmatics of opportunity with your personal aspirations: look at the opportunities that exist in the career you want to aim for and consider the accredited courses that will improve your capacity to get there," he says.
Gatenby points to a book by humourist Erma Bombeck entitled The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank, which he describes as a "quirky way of saying, 'Look what's underneath that green grass, because it could be really murky waters'."
The chairman of C-F-S Career Management, Bruce Gregory, says more than half of his clients are looking for a change of pace because they have been made redundant. He adds that it often takes a push, such as a redundancy, to nudge people towards new and exciting opportunities.
"I advise individuals to figure out their interests, their attributes, what drives them to get out of bed in the morning and what they like or dislike about their current or past roles," Gregory says.
"By asking these questions, we can paint a picture of what their future might look like if they achieve their goals."
Gregory urges those who are not in a position to leave their job to look at the accredited skills they need to up-skill and bolster their CV while still pulling in a pay packet.
"If you are not yet in a position to leave your job, look at the accredited courses that will help you expand your experience. Perhaps you can study part time. Maybe you can do some voluntary work to better understand the career you are contemplating," Gregory says.
"If you are a mechanic and you want to be a pastry chef, you need to get some experience in flour and water. It's about building experience in the right field - be it with further studies or voluntary work - so you can start moving in the right direction," he says.