Career Change Ideas

Where Creativity Meets Inspiration

Are you looking for unique career change ideas - ideas that make you feel inspired, joyful, and enthusiastic about work?

People often tell me they “don’t know what they want to be when they grow up”. Of course, they’re already grown up. But they’re unhappy in their jobs and crave a change. They look at job postings and feel bored and uninspired. So they end up staying stuck in jobs that steal their energy and their time, waiting for that inspired career change idea to appear.

Does this sound familiar to you? It happens to many of us. Even if we started out enjoying our careers, we might eventually find ourselves earning a living to fulfill our responsibilities. And we’ve forgotten all about fulfilling our dreams.

Have you been paying more attention to fulfilling your responsibilities instead of living your dreams? Are you ready to explore some new career change ideas?

Inspired Dreaming

Forget everything you know about job descriptions, career paths, and any of the traditional rules of work. We are going to look only at the things you enjoy doing. These career change ideas will make your work feel like play. Work is supposed to be fun, isn't it?

Does this sound impossible? It’s not! It just needs a little shift in perspective. You’ll focus completely on your dreams and desires. In fact, you’re going to temporarily forget the word "work" and think only about the things you love to do – the things that bring you joy. You might feel a bit selfish doing this. If you do – you’re on the right path!

Acknowledging Lost Passions

Get a pen and paper or do this on your computer. You’re going to start making a list of things you love to do. The list could get quite long – so be prepared. I’d recommend setting aside about an hour to work on your list – so grab a cup of coffee or tea and get started.

What brings you joy? What inspires you? What are your hobbies? What lights your fire or brings a smile to your face? What gets you out of bed on your days off?

In other words, what do you love to do? Do you love home improvements, watercolor painting, history, gardening, trains, babies, washing windows, flying kites, surfing, or fixing things? What is it that you would love to spend a whole weekend doing, uninterrupted, that would allow you to cruise through the weekend in total joy? Put these things on your list. You'll be surprised how many of these can be turned into career change ideas.

Some of you are thinking "I don’t have time for hobbies and if I did, the first thing I’d do is take a long rest". Okay, that’s fair. I’ve been there many times. But that doesn’t help build your list, does it?

So what will you do after you’ve rested?

Or maybe you don’t have a clue about your interests anymore. Then look for clues elsewhere. For example, what kind of magazines and books do you read? Or what kind of magazine do you choose when you’re sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, or standing in line for groceries? Somewhere, maybe buried deep inside, we all have interests and passions just screaming to get out. We need to find those passions and turn them into career change ideas.

Childhood clues. What did you dream about when you were a kid? What were your interests? What games did you play? How did you spend your free time in the winter? What about summers? Did you read books, play games, or make sand castles?

When you were a kid how did you answer the question "what do you want to be when you grow up"?

Often it’s the things that we loved as a child that give us clues to our passions. For example, one of my brothers loved baseball and read every baseball book in the library when he was growing up. All his school book reports were about baseball - Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, you name it. Eventually his teacher said he needed to find a different topic. He switched to football, then basketball, then boxing, tennis and who knows what else. What does he do today? No, he’s not an athlete. He’s a sports journalist – and continues to be interested in sports of all sorts (he even has a TV segment by this name).

Do you have any childhood interests that you forgot about or simply never had time to pursue? Career change ideas can come from childhood no matter how old you are now. Add them to your list.

Jobs you have loved. Most of us can think of some job we really loved, paid or unpaid. Maybe it wasn’t the whole job that you loved, but certain aspects of it. List those aspects of what you loved about the job.

Just after college I worked for a few months as a telephone operator. It was one of my favorite jobs ever because I enjoy talking to people on the phone, sharing information, and seeing an end result. These are things I’d put on my list.

Many clients tell me they love their work but they hate the work environment, the office politics, the commute or the long work hours. If this is you, what is it that you love about the work you currently do? Maybe you don’t need a new career change idea – you just need a new environment. Write down the things about your job that you love (leave out the things you dislike). In this case you really aren't creating new career change ideas, so you will want to think about what kind of environment will make you happy. Put these things on your list.

Life experience. What things have happened in your life that you can share to help others? What life experiences have you had where the knowledge you gained from this experience can benefit others? It doesn’t matter if it’s a good experience or a negative experience.

Maybe you’ve run your first marathon at age 50, or have the most beautiful garden in the neighborhood, or have overcome a life-threatening disease. People can benefit from your experience, knowledge, tips or inspirational story. It’s possible to develop your life experiences into career change ideas.

For example, when Shauna James Ahern learned she had celiac disease she didn't stop to feel sorry for herself. She embraced this knowledge, learned everything she could about how to eat gluten-free, and started writing about it. Known as the "gluten-free girl" her blog has been an inspiration to others and has provided valuable information to other celiacs and gluten-sensitive people. And she's written a book about it.

What life experiences have you had that you'd enjoy sharing with others?

Who do you wish you could be? Have you ever watched Oprah and thought “I could do that”. And then you realize you wish you were doing it? These are clues to things you might want to pursue as career change ideas.

If there is someone you have seen, heard about or read about and thought "I’d like to live that person’s life" this is a clue for you. What is it about their life that makes it enticing? These clues can be turned into career change ideas for you.

Over the years I have attended many corporate workshops, most of them unfortunately dry and boring. But there was one special workshop several years ago led by two very dynamic facilitators. Not only were they masterful at engaging the audience, they seemed to be having the time of their lives doing their job. I thought to myself "I’d like to do that" and was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to learn how only a few months later. Before long I was doing what they were doing and loving every minute. That was a long time ago, and to this day I still love facilitating workshops and do so at any opportunity. All because I saw someone else doing it and had this thought that became a career change idea.

So who do you wish you could be? Acknowledge this wish and put it on your list.

Transforming Passions into Profits

After you think you're done with your list let it sit for a couple days. Add to it if you think of other things until you’ve captured every lost passion, all your dreams – every way you've ever wished you could spend your time.

The next step is to take your list and transform it into career change ideas that will create income. I recommend using 2 tools to help you: Mind Maps and Brainstorming. These tools help you look at your interests in new ways, see some relationships you haven't noticed before, and find imaginative ways to use your unique talents – transforming your passions into profits.

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The faces on this page were graciously provided by Mary Lemke. She loves to draw faces of real people and enjoys adding humorous captions. You can see more faces and find out more about her work on her website.