Itching to Leave Your Job? Try Career Sampling.

In previous posts I’ve discussed job sampling as a way to test drive a new career with little risk. Here are a few more ideas on how you can “try out” a new career.

  • Volunteer your time. This is the quickest way to gain insight and experience into a new career.

    Research company websites, read trade magazines, and attend industry conferences and business networking events to learn about volunteer opportunities. Volunteer your time and talents, and in return, learn all you can about that industry, different job roles, and the skills and qualifications of others who have been successful in those job roles that interest you.

  • Join a Professional Organization. Most cities have organizations such as the American Marketing Association, American Medical Association, Small Business Association, American Society for Engineering Education, etc. which provide excellent education, training and networking opportunities.

    Consider attending meetings, becoming a member, or stepping up to join their Board of Directors. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn about various industries and career opportunities.

If you’re itching to leave your job for something more meaningful or invigorating, then try career sampling. It’s less risky, less stressful, and a smarter way to transition into a career that’s right for you!

How to Sample a New Career

Career sampling is a great way to test drive a new career without investing a lot of time, or risking your paycheck. Here are three great strategies to help you determine if a new career is right for you…

  • Take on an extended assignment. Look across all the departments within your current organization to see if there are any projects or teams that interest you. Many times managers and project leaders jump at the chance to have someone join their team – even if that person doesn’t have any experience. This is a great way to test the waters of a new career.

    Also, are there any external initiatives that inspire you? Many companies have community programs and special events that you may be able to support. Finally, talk to your manager, peers and other department managers to see which professional and civic organizations they’re involved in. Take advantage of opportunities that could help you learn about new industries or job roles.

  • Try freelancing or consulting. If you’re thinking about owning your own business, try setting up shop first as a freelancer or consultant. You’ll be able to set your own hours, develop your business plan and gain some experience before investing all of your time, money and energy full time. It’s also a great way to earn some extra cash!

Why Should You Try Career Sampling?

Everyone has bad days at work, but if your bad day stretches to a hundred bad days(!) then you may want to start shaking things up a bit.

 

Twice during my own career I found myself in a frustrating and unchallenging job and stayed longer than I should have. Mostly because I was delusional and thought that if I proved my loyalty and stayed with the company long enough they’d reward me with a “new and improved” job, (did I mention the delusional part?), but also because I was afraid of trying something new, and potentially failing.

 

If you’re in a similar situation and the thought of charting into unknown career territory makes you want to curl up under your office cube, then you may want to try career sampling – the art of dipping your toe into a pool of new career opportunities, before diving in head first.

 

One idea on how to try career sampling is work part-time. It’s a great way to test drive transitioning in a new job role, company or industry is to start out part time. Investing a little time up front to take on a part-time position is a much better strategy than investing all your time and realizing you’ve made a bad career choice.

 

If you think you don’t have the right experience, a great attitude and eagerness to learn can help get your foot in the door. And once you start proving yourself and showing results, a promotion to a full time position could be just around the corner!