The unique position of changing your career in your 20s
If you are in your 20s, chances are you have not been engaged in your career for very long.
Some people may have started an apprenticeship right out of high school and could have 10 years of a career under their belt before they are 30 but chances are you probably only have a handful of years in a given career (if even that).
The beauty of this is that you have your whole life ahead of you to do something that you truly enjoy. Something that offers you high levels of satisfaction.
But this also means that you’re not going to have a whole lot of work experience to pull from in a lot of cases.
Instead, you might be looking elsewhere to distinguish yourself such as your education.
We will talk about how to tap into the advantages of your youth below but first, it’s important to think about whether you need a job change or career change.
In some cases, it may just be the employer you are working for that is the problem.
Some workplaces can be extremely political, filled with gossip, and just miserable places to work because the culture is terrible.
Also, some workplaces just don’t do a good job of recognizing the potential or value of young contributors. They can be a little too “old school.”
If you feel like the workplace is the problem then perhaps you just need to find a better employer and make a lateral move.
However, if there’s something that bothers you about the type of work you do on a fundamental level that is quite another issue.
For example, if you find yourself constantly dreading the work you’re doing or bored out of your mind while engaged in the work, then it might be a matter of you being stuck in the wrong profession.
In those cases, it doesn’t matter how awesome the workplace is, that work will never fulfill you in any meaningful way.
That type of situation is a major red flag that you need to consider a career change, and not just land a new job.
How to change careers in your 20s
Assess your financial situation
Oftentimes, seeking a new career requires a lot of time.
Plenty of people work full-time while pursuing a new career but as a young person it may be easier for you to ditch your current job and focus solely on changing your career.
If you’ve only been out of college a few years, there’s a good chance that you may not have much debt or bills tying you down.
Even if you have student loans you can opt to get those deferred or get your payment reduced via an income-based repayment plan.
Having some flexibility and financial freedom will allow you to explore career paths or at least give you time to research them without being hampered by a full-time job.
You can use this time to do informational interviews, shadowing, networking, etc.
If needed, perhaps you can join the majority of young adults and move in with your parents or a friend for a while to help you reduce your living costs while you plan for a new career.
Also, relocating may be a lot easier for you and that could open a lot of doors for new and exciting career paths.
So be sure to assess what type of financial situation you are in and take advantage of any flexibility you can because many people don’t have that luxury.