How to Make a Career Change to Remote WorkJustin Olsen, CPRW
A career change is defined as a transition into a different industry or line of work that is not directly related to what you have been doing. Although making a career change into a completely different field seems tough, it’s not as hard as one might think.
Based on our experience working with career changers on a daily basis for the past 16 years, we estimate that a staggering 60% or more professionals are looking to do something different.
Out of this group, many have different reasons for wanting to change careers.
Why People Seek Career Changes
- Loss of Passion: You have lost your drive and desire something more fulfilling. If you find yourself dreading going to work every day, this can be a major performance barrier that keeps you from earning your full potential.
- Vertical Move: You are seeking a promotion that significantly alters your responsibilities. This happens when you either advance with your current company or take on a new role that shifts your duties into something more managerial.
- Horizontal Move: You are swapping roles at your current employer with completely different duties. For example, you are an administrative assistant who becomes a sales manager.
- Work-Life Balance: You are trying to bring equilibrium between your career and personal life so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy. Juggling heavy workloads makes it hard to manage relationships and family responsibilities.
- Political-Economic Conditions: In recent years, we have seen how political conditions can create an unfavorable economic environment. From the impeachment trials of Donald Trump and massive activist riots to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on businesses, many people have decided to make career changes for various reasons.
- Unexpected Layoff: It’s the one thing none of us want to hear. “You are being laid off.” When this happens, it’s usually unexpected in the sense that there’s only short notice given. Many people who find themselves in this position decide to do something different to avoid another layoff if it was motivated by an economic or geographic factor.
What is Remote Work?
Remote work is known as work-from-home jobs or telecommuting which is a type of flexible employment that allows you to work independently from a remote location. In the past, remote work was usually a temporary arrangement, but today, these types of positions are becoming more permanent as companies are discovering how they can become leaner during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, certain businesses across the United States were restricted to performing operations with as few employees as possible, and in some cases completely shut down. Many companies found ways to keep operations going by allowing their employees to work from home. In 2021, more businesses adopted policies for work-at-home positions either temporarily or permanent.
According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, throughout the second half of 2020, the telework rate in high pre-pandemic take-up rate occupations remained substantially above the rate in low take-up rate occupations.
When I was in my early 20’s, I worked in the Automotive Sales industry selling high-end trucks and other vehicles for a living. This was one of my first good paying jobs, so I was extremely motivated. With the potential of making up to $100,000 per year in sales commissions, going to work every day was exciting to me.
However, over time I began to grow weary of my labor situation because I was working extremely long hours (60-70 hours per week) and never had vacation time. My relationships with friends and family were suffering and I was losing enjoyment of my job.
To make matters worse, my boss was nothing short of a tyrant and the consumer market was changing into more of a tech-driven environment, where things were making a shift to online sales. Even in the automotive industry, we were being significantly impacted by this change.
Because of these changes and my loss of passion for my job, I decided to go out on my own and start a business. Fast forward 20-something years later, I am running one of the most successful career consulting companies in the world which has allowed me to shift a lot of my responsibilities to working from home – especially in the past two years.
This shift took a lot of personal accountability and self-motivation. I had to purchase my own equipment such as computers, phones, and other office supplies. You will most likely need to do the same if you are seeking a telecommute position.
Overall, working remotely from a home office definitely has its perks, but comes with almost a greater level of responsibility. You will be in charge of your own performance during work hours without much oversight, or any oversight at all. Here are some tips to help you make a career change working remotely from home.
How to Manage a Home Office
- Get the right equipment and ample office space. You will need a fast internet connection, professional email address, reliable computer, printer, and various technical skills to help you manage a flexible workload. Supplies such as staplers, printing paper, and a box of ink pens always come in handy just in case.
- Always be on time. Set your alarm clock, be punctual and consistent when starting your day. It’s easy to get into the bad habit of sleeping in. Don’t let this happen. Keep your routine the same as if you were still in the corporate office.
- Dress for success, not for slouching. If you fall into the trap of wearing your pajamas while working at home, it does have a psychological affect. The human mind is a peculiar thing sometimes, and if you are not dressed the same as you would be for a corporate environment, you can get too comfortable.
- Stay in contact with colleagues. Doing this will ensure you are up to date with current affairs and aware of any concerning performance issues. Failing to communicate with team members while working remotely is a sure sign of a slacker in the making.
- Don’t let your personal life interfere with work performance. This is probably the most important point because having a barking dog in the background while you are on the phone with a client is very unprofessional. Kids running up and down the hallway is a huge distraction. Make sure you have arrangements for your personal responsibilities the same as you would if you were still working away from home.