What to Do When You Realize You Chose the Wrong Career

You loved every second of your four undergraduate years. From day one, you knew this was exactly what you were meant to do for the rest of your life. You could see yourself being fulfilled by a job in this field for many years to come without losing the least bit of steam.

There’s just one problem. There are only about 10 jobs in the whole country in your field, and about 100,000,000 people are competing for them.

Actually, there are a few more problems. Those 10 jobs happen to be located in the middle of small-town Alaska, far, far away from friends and family. Also, they pay way below the cost of living, and there’s no guarantee those jobs will still exist a couple years from now.

In other words, even though you’re still motivated and driven to pursue the career you always knew was right for you, it’s just not a viable option anymore. The jobs simply aren’t there.

Think this is hypothetical?

I found myself in this situation when I graduated with a journalism degree just as the economy tanked. During my post-graduation summer internship with a major newspaper, I watched the publication go through two rounds of layoffs in 12 weeks. Meanwhile I saw former superstar classmates—the ones I was certain would become the next Woodward or Bernstein—lose their jobs left and right.

My passion for journalism was still strong, but the instability and uncertainty of the field made me realize I needed a new plan.

Five years later, I’ve found my niche as a Web copywriter. As a journalism student, I had never considered any other job. But due to the doom and gloom surrounding the “death of the industry,” my journalism-focused self had to find new focus.

You can transition to a new career, too, and you don’t have to go back to school to do it. Here’s how you can translate your skills and passion into a different job you may not have even known existed:

Focus on what you love so much about your career of choice

Maybe you’re one of those people whose job suddenly went “poof!” Or, all the jobs in your field seemed to evaporate while you were in school. Either way, the lack of jobs doesn’t change your passion for that job. There’s a reason you decided to pursue that particular degree and career.

Figure out what drove you in this direction. Then, start to brainstorm what other careers might require those same skills and passions.

In my case, I loved the way sentences could be put together to tell stories. I loved that words could make readers feel something or teach them something new. And I loved to geek out over proper comma placement and sentence structure.

I didn’t have to be a journalist to maintain my passion for all those things. As a copywriter, I still get to tell different kinds of stories. And I still get the satisfaction of agonizing over every single word and piece of punctuation to craft the perfect sentence.

Full story at Brazen Careerist.