Changing Careers

The #1 Career Change Mistake That Will Cost You Dearly

April 5, 2022

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Over the years I’ve helped a lot of smart, ambitions professionals make career changes.

Many of them originally went about it the wrong way (myself included, when I was in the process of changing careers), and as a result they went round and round in circles, stalling their progress, and losing motivation.

In this video I’m sharing what they did wrong, and what – in my opinion – the #1 career change mistake is that will cost you dearly.
Want to know what I’m talking about? Watch the video below.

Or if you prefer to read: scroll down for the transcript.

Career Change Mistakes: The #1 Mistake That Will Cost You Dearly (when switching careers)

Hey, Hey, what’s up! It’s Iris Smyth, helping you to find a new job you love, and build a career that works for you.

Now in today’s video, I’ll be sharing the number one mistake that will cost you dearly when switching careers. And I see so many, so many people who are making this mistake – probably about 99% of people. As a result, they become really frustrated or get really confused. They get demotivated, they give up, and they stay stuck in a career or in a job that they do not want to be in.

And it’s such a shame because it can be avoided.

I don’t want this to happen to you, so I’ll be sharing that number one mistake – and obviously what you should be doing instead.
So I’ll be sharing some next steps for you to take right after this video.

Now, if all of this sounds great to you, then please hit that like button. And perhaps if you’ve watched some of my previous videos, then be sure to hit that subscribe button and the bell right next to it. So you’ll never have to miss one of my upcoming videos ever again.

So over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of corporate professionals successfully change careers, and I’ve heard even more stories of people who were feeling stuck in their job or career.

Now, what most of these people had in common is that they didn’t exactly hate what they were doing, but their job or career just didn’t feel right for them anymore.

They were surrounded by great people. They liked their coworkers, but the constant pressure, constant deadlines, long hours left them feeling exhausted and just empty.

Maybe that resonates with you. You got to a stage in your career where you feel like what you’re currently doing. isn’t your long term plan. It’s not something that you want to doing for the next 10, 20, or 30 years, but you don’t know what else to do.

So your brain goes something like this: “don’t like current job… need to find a new job! Need to swap current job with new job (that I do like)!”.

And so you start looking for what else you can do, what other job you could do.

So, you delve through job boards and LinkedIn to see what other types of roles might interest you.
You take personality tests or career assessments to get suggestions for what other things you could be doing.
You might ask friends and family for advice, what do they think that you should or could do?
Or you google for career change success stories to find ideas or inspiration from other people who have gone through a similar thing.

Now, all of this might sound sensible or logical, but you might not be realising that you’re actually making this number one mistake when changing careers.

And that is: you are looking for a new JOB. When in fact you should be looking for a new DIRECTION.

Now, I’ll repeat this:

Don’t look for a new JOB, look for a new DIRECTION.

This changes EVERYTHING when it comes to figuring out what you should or could do next.

Look, there are literally thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs, or ways to make a living out there – and the world of work is evolving constantly.

People now do things that were unimaginable 5 or 10 or even 15 years ago. So 5, 10 or 15 years from now, people will be doing things that are unimaginable right now.

So, it’s pretty tricky to figure out what type of JOB you should be doing next.

Also, your mind as a tendency to only consider or think of things that come most easily to mind.

You tend to think inside the box, not outside the box in decisions like these.

That’s not your fault. That’s something called availability heuristic at play. And so, when going through your options, you only consider a limited number of jobs – most of which you probably immediately discard because you either feel like you are not qualified for them, or simply because you don’t like them.

And so, what you need to do is open up your scope, expand your scope, of what you think is possible for you. And the best way to do this is by focusing on a direction, not on a type of job.

Here’s what you should do.

Number one, start an ideas brainstorm.

The goal of this ideas brainstorm is to come up with as many directions of possible career paths that you can think of. Now, I’ve done a whole video about this. It’s this one right here. So I recommend you go watch it after you finished watching this one.

Once you’ve done the ideas brainstorm, then two, what you need to do is pick two or three, and start exploring these.

Now the goal of this exploration phase is to find out how people make a living in this field of work.

And I really want you to try to approach this from a beginner’s mind, and put any assumptions that you have on the side.

So, speak to as many people as you can, who work in this field of work, and ask them as many questions as you can.

Now, you can start by asking them things like: do people tend to be employed? Do they tend to be self-employed freelance, do contracting work. And then if they do tend to work for themselves, how do they make that work? What do they do? What do they do? Right? The most successful ones, what do they do? What does their business model look like?

If you are not interested in working for yourself, but you want to work for a company, then try to figure out what the major players and major companies are, who are operating in this field, and what types of jobs or roles they tend to offer.

Do they have a lot of jobs or roles in tech, in marketing, in PR?

You try to figure out where they employ most of their people, where they job opportunities are.

So, a great example that I want to give here is someone that I used to work with. She was very interested in meditation. And so the first thing that popped to mind was Headspace, the meditation app.

She thought, “oh, it’d be so great to work for them”. And as she started speaking to a person who was working at Headspace, she actually found out that Headspace employs a lot of people in the tech side, which wasn’t what she wanted to do. So she then realised that “hmm, I might be interested in meditation and providing meditation services, become meditation teacher, doing something without doing something with mindfulness, mindfulness at work, but Headspace is not necessarily the way to go. It’s not necessarily the direction to move in”.

So it’s super important to figure out what types of roles and types of jobs these different companies that operate in this field are offering.

And you do this through informational interviews.

Now, informational interviews are something entirely different to job interviews!

In an informational interview, you are not asking for a job.

You are not asking for a job. Let me be super clear on that.

Now I’ve done a whole video on informational interviews… Ping! This one right here, and I recommend you go check it out after you finished watching this one.

So let me repeat: the goal of this exploration phase is to learn as much as you can about this possible career field about this possible field of work that you are moving into. So, you can make a more informed decision on what you want to do next, or what you could be doing next.

You’ll be so much better equipped to make a good decision if you set out the time to speak to people who work in this field of work, and can tell you more about the types of jobs, types of roles that are available.

So, please don’t rush this phase and please don’t skip it because it’s super important. Skipping this phase is like trying to run when you can’t even walk yet, or trying to bake a cake without mixing the ingredients first. Have you ever tried that? I haven’t, but I know it won’t work.

Now, there’s one final thing I want say about this exploration phase and that is that it can take anything from three months to three years, and this expiration stage actually consists of multiple stages.

If you want to know what stage you are in, then make sure you check out the quiz that I recently created.

By taking this quiz, you’ll know what career change stage you’re in and what that means for the next steps that you should be taking.

You can find it on, and I also add the link to it in the description below this video. Thank you so much for watching.

If you found this video helpful, then please hit that like button and subscribe to my channel. So you’ll never have to miss any of my upcoming videos. Thank you, and bye.

Take the career change quiz:

What stage of career change are you in?

Take the quiz to find out what stage of career change you are in, and what next steps you should take based on your result.

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