Staring at a screen all day gets exhausting, especially when you do it five days a week. Over time, it gets monotonous. It can cause computer vision syndrome. It can even interfere with your sleep and make you feel unnecessarily stressed.
If you’re tired of working in the digital space, or if you’re just sick of staring at screens all day, it may benefit you to change careers.
So how do you do it?
Here’s some good news for you: there’s a serious labor shortage in skilled trades. If you’re looking for a job as a mechanic, technician, or person who works with their hands, there are plenty of job opportunities to go around.
There are a few important reasons for this. For starters, our society incentivizes people to seek college degrees (sometimes specifically so they can avoid working with their hands). As a result, fewer people are seeking training and education in trades. The rise of remote working opportunities in the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this effect, causing people to quit or leave jobs that didn’t allow them to work remotely.
For you, this is a massive opportunity. There are countless career options available to you, many of which provide lucrative incomes and rewarding work. All you have to do is find a field that appeals to you.
For example, if you’ve always loved working on cars, or if you used to take things apart to see how they work, you could be a perfect fit for a job as a mechanic or a technician.
How to Make the Transition
So how do you make the career transition?
- Identify a career path that stands out to you. Your first step is to identify a career path that stands out to you. Do some research to figure out potential paths you could take; you could become a mechanic, an electrician, an HVAC specialist, a woodworker, a welder, or one of thousands of different professionals. Start by making a list of your interests and see if they align with any prospective career paths. If you come up short, look for a field that seems interesting, or at least neutral to you.
- Begin training and education. Ideally, you can begin some training and education while you’re still working at your current role to avoid disruption. Can you learn some of the basics through YouTube videos or through online courses? Can you figure out the path to certification, if certification is required?
- Stockpile savings. Next, try to stockpile some savings. Starting a new career usually means entering the field at the bottom rung of the salary totem pole; you’ll probably make less than you’re currently making. It may also be several weeks, or several months before you find a job that’s a good fit, so you’ll need some savings to sustain yourself. If you’re having trouble saving up extra money, consider sharply reducing your spending on unnecessary items and/or picking up a temporary side gig to generate more revenue.
- Start networking. Once you have a bit of knowledge about your next potential career path, start networking. Networking is one of the best ways to meet new professionals, find job opportunities, and improve your understanding of the world. Ideally, you’ll find people who are currently working in the position you want. You can ask them about their perspective on this position and ask for specific advice if you feel comfortable doing so. If you build good relationships, they may even help you get a job later on.
- Look for your first job. After finalizing your training and education, you can start looking for your first job. Try to set your expectations low; if you don’t have any past experience in this field, you probably won’t qualify for higher-level positions and you may only qualify for a low salary. Prioritize working for a company that will hypothetically allow you to grow over time.
- Create a backup plan. There’s no guarantee that this new career is going to be satisfying for you. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to come up with a backup plan. If this job isn’t as rewarding as you thought it would be, what will you try next?
- Cut ties smoothly. Don’t burn bridges with your old employer. When it’s time to leave your current position, cut ties smoothly and gracefully.
Changing careers is rarely easy, especially if you’ve spent years or decades in your current role. But if you’re currently unhappy with staring at a screen all day, or if you have a problem with your current career for other reasons, the only realistic option for your future happiness is to get out and find a different job. Thanks to current economic conditions, it’s easier than ever to find one.