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Switching careers without starting over

Our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. - M. Scott Peck

You're over it. You've been doing the same role for 10 years and you need a change. But herein lies the problem. How can you change jobs if your current gig is all you've ever done professionally?

With a little creative thinking, an investment of time and a strong belief in your ability to adapt quickly, you can upgrade to a career without starting at the bottom of the ladder.

Branch out…But not too far

Look for opportunities within your current work environment. If your organisation is large you may find that having organisational knowledge is half the job criteria. Management may be happy to upskill you in the areas you are lacking because it's easier for them to train a trusted team member they know fits the company culture than outsourcing talent.

If your workplace is on the small scale, chat to your boss about picking up additional tasks that will benefit the company and upskill you.

Working for a small construction company, TAFE NSW graduate, Helen didn't think she could make the transition from receptionist to the career in Digital Marketing she was interested in.

"After five years in the same role I needed a change," Helen said. "I spoke to my boss about moving on. It was hard and I felt like I was being disloyal but I was so bored. When I told him my reason for leaving he offered to subsidise my TAFE fees to study marketing if I stayed on. I job shared my reception role for two days and used my newly learnt skills to promote the company three days."

Not only did Helen's situation work out well for her career but her marketing skills contributed to the company's bottom line, making her a more valuable employee.

Learn a lesson from Helen; chat to your boss or manager before you make the decision to leave. Your dream career path may turn out to be a valuable and much needed skill in your current job.

Study while you work

Our career aspirations don't always align with the opportunities available in our day job. But that doesn't mean you have to quit to re-train. TAFE NSW offers online and flexible evening or weekend courses, so that upgrading your skills isn't so much of a financial burden. There are many study options available.

Chat to a TAFE NSW career adviser. They may be able to help you plan your career moves so that you can slot into a new role at the end of your course by utilising TAFE's industry connections.

Get a bit on the side

Find a mentor and shadow them. The internet has made learning from other professionals more accessible than ever. Use platforms like LinkedIn or MeetUp to get in contact with people who can help guide you and potentially allow you to volunteer with their business in order to learn new skills, while maintaining your current day job.

Once you feel confident with your new talents you could start freelancing to build up your skills in a professional setting. For example, if you've completed a graphic design or web design course you could charge a small fee to design for other people. Once you've gained enough experience and built up a portfolio you will be more attractive to potential employers.

Find a TAFE NSW Course to study today!

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