Looking for a Career Change? Rule Number 1: Have No Regrets

woman looking for a career change

Everyone talks about quitting their jobs and pursuing their dreams, but how often does that actually happen?

Looking for a Career Change? Rule Number 1: Have No Regrets, by @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

Picture this—you didn’t go to business school and want to start your own company, or you’re a graphic designer dreaming of becoming a web developer. Both scenarios are surrounded by ambiguity, and while the two are drastically different in terms of required skill sets, they do share one thing in common—in order for either change to occur, you must have no regrets for the decisions you made previously.

It’s easy to get caught up in your past and feel discouraged for the years you’ve “wasted” as a designer or not getting an MBA.

However, using your past skill sets can be extremely valuable for your new career path, especially in the tech world. Hiring managers are more interested in your creative assets and your ability to use your past to leverage your value to the present. In other words, have no regrets for the jobs and education you gained in your past, because those experiences will only help you move forward.

Don't regret your past jobs and education—they'll help you move forward, says @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

Transitioning to a new field may be intimidating, exciting, or a mixture of both. The best way to alleviate the fear of the unknown is to embrace change. You may be perplexed at the jargon that your new supervisor will throw at you, or anxious about where you fit in your new company or whether you’ll make friends, but try to accept the ambiguity and learn to adapt to change. Humans are designed to withstand change and even welcome it.

And when it comes to culture and fitting in, know that if you’ve been hired, you’ve already passed the culture test. A company’s culture is an imperative component interviewers screen for during the hiring process.

Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, defines a startup as “an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” The ambiguous environment at a startup is similar to what people in the middle of a career transition must confront. It’s worth it to take risks to get to where you want to be.  It's worth it to take risks to get where you want to be, says @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

Even if you’re making six figures, if you’re unhappy and want to change careers, it’s never too late to move on and try something new. It isn’t easy picking up everything you know and dusting it off, but it can be rewarding to know you took that step and are moving forward. Millennials who don’t end up putting their major to use often feel what they’ve studied was improvident. According to a study by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C., while 72% of college graduates agree their bachelor’s degree has been beneficial to their career and long-term goals, 74% of those graduates regret choosing their major.When it comes to #careers, it’s never too late to move on and try something new — @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

It seems easier to say this than actually put it into motion, but I am an example of this. Before I came to Startup Institute, I was a classical violinist and played for more than fifteen years. On winter break of my senior year of college, I got into a car accident back home, returned back to school with a sprained arm and pinched nerves in my spine. I was advised to take a three-month hiatus from playing, but my stubbornness prevailed and I compromised by taking off from orchestra that semester. Out-of-state tuition was only increasing, and while it was extremely physically painful for me to keep playing, I persevered. I ended up graduating on time and retiring early.

For a while, I deeply regretted majoring in violin performance, but I realized remorse wouldn’t get me anywhere—instead, I shifted my focus and used my creativity to become a writer and content marketer, which leads me to where I am today. Although confronting my past was painful, it needed to be done, and I am so grateful for the fifteen years I devoted to playing violin because it taught me tenacity and perseverance, which I know will bring value to any of my future endeavors.

Playing violin taught me the tenacity & perseverance I need to build my career— @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

Whatever experience you had prior to entering a new field or industry, remember not to regret anything. These are not mistakes, but lessons to learn and grow from. If you’re feeling apprehensive, don’t be hesitant to try new things; instead, embrace your past without letting it define you. Be proud of your accomplishments, know your worth and most importantly, value yourself.

Embrace your past without letting it define you, says @elizabethtsung Click To Tweet

Ready to make a career change like Elizabeth? Download our Guide to Career Change for strategies and resources for finding career love.

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Elizabeth Tsung

Elizabeth Tsung is an alumna of Startup Institute's digital marketing track. A writer, editor, and marketer living in New York City, her work can be found on The Huffington Post, espnW, Ravishly and more. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @ElizabethTsung.

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