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How to Know It’s Time For a Career Change (And What to Do Next)

March 12, 2024

how to change careers

Stuck in the confines of routine, I found myself in the same loop for the past two years.

Each day blurred into the next as I dealt with administrative tasks that, while crucial, failed to cater to my growth. I was looking for an opportunity to harness the skills I’d cultivated as an executive assistant and take on new challenges as a project manager. 

If you’re in the same situation, it’s time to shake things up.

Let’s jump into my story of escaping monotony, harnessing existing skills, and embarking on a journey of reinvention through career change. And, more importantly, how you can do that, too.

My career change story

As an executive assistant, I supported the daily operations of high-level executives. The experience was invaluable to my career growth. It expanded my view of organizational dynamics, which fostered strong communication skills and taught me attention to detail. 

However, my career aspirations leaned toward a role where I could lead, create, and drive change.


of US workers want to make a career change

Source: Fast Company

Understanding my goals

Before I made the transition in my career, I wanted to understand what being a project manager entailed. While daydreaming about how my ideal position would differ from my current role was satisfying, it was crucial to understand the intricacies of being a project manager before committing to it as a new career path.

Having a mentor who believes in your potential is a game-changer. I was lucky enough to report to someone who supported my ambitions. During one of our regularly scheduled calls, I spoke about my interest in exploring project management as a new role.

I explained why my current experience qualified me for the position and asked if I could explore the role at my current company. My manager recognized my capabilities and helped me navigate through the duties of an executive assistant while I took the time to upskill. 

Getting support

A crucial aspect of my transition was the tailored resources my boss, coworkers, and company provided. From recommending relevant courses and certifications to connecting me with industry experts, they went the extra mile to support me. This personalized approach made the learning curve more manageable and helped me be more confident. 

My manager also introduced me to someone who had undergone the extensive project management certification process. 

He graciously spoke with me and explained the time and dedication I needed to earn the certification. Unexpectedly, he told me I could save energy and skip the certification. He gave me insight into his career path, letting me know that while a certification helped him network with future coworkers and industry connections, it was not necessary if the opportunity to learn was available in your current role. 

Learning from peers

Inspired by this perspective, I dug in deeper at my workplace. G2 had recently launched a training program where employees could explore different roles within the company while maintaining their current position. I connected with the director of employee success (ES) and asked to participate. By working with my manager to structure the time, I would be able to learn the project management ropes. 

Through the program, I collaborated with the existing project managers and helped them create project plans, keep notes, and stick to deadlines. The project management team members were also a huge part of my transition. 

They mentored me and made the time to teach me about the tools they use, how they structure their time, and their opinions on their most challenging obstacles. Through open communication and regular mentorship sessions, I gained insights into the complexities of project management, learned how to navigate challenges, and capitalized on opportunities.

Making the decision

At around the two-month mark, my time in the program had ended. I was left with a decision: was project management right for me? I conducted a self-assessment to confirm that this was the change I wanted to make. I journaled my thoughts with the pros and cons of each position and talked to friends, coworkers, and my therapist about my feelings.

My answer remained the same: I definitely want to pursue this. I went through a formal interview process with the manager who oversaw my program work. From there, I made a transition plan with the executives I’d been assisting. I was officially a project manager! 

While it felt incredible to achieve this goal, it’s important you know that the transition wasn't instantaneous. It demanded a blend of courage, perseverance, and a readiness to learn. 

While my previous role provided a solid foundation, stepping into project management was a paradigm shift—a shift from supporting to leading, executing tasks to steering entire initiatives, and following directives to crafting strategies. There is much more learning to be done as I continue to grow in this role, but for now, I have some tips and tricks to help you make the big decision. 

Are you ready to make a career change?

If you find yourself skimming through my story looking for the “recipe,” let’s talk plainly and discuss how YOU can investigate whether it’s time for you to make the change. 

Firstly, know that you aren’t alone. 52% of US workers want to make a career change, and 44% have a plan to go through with it. Reasons for this decision range from seeking remote work options to better salaries to different career opportunities.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are in that 52% of workers, and you’ve also got friends and colleagues in the same situation. Have conversations with these folks to help expand your ideas of what you’re looking for. 

Secondly, give yourself a vibe check! Are you having consistent Sunday scaries? Do you dread logging in every day? Just because we live in a work-driven society doesn’t mean we have to be miserable. You deserve to find a job that energizes and excites you! 


of people who made a career change reported higher job satisfaction 

Source: ZipDo

How to make a successful career transition

So you’re in good company and know that you’re ready to give yourself the life you deserve. How do we make that happen? 

  • Identify your current skills: Which work, volunteer, or life experience has helped prepare you for the role you’re eyeing? How can you utilize what you’ve learned already in a new path? Identifying the skills you currently possess will help you gain confidence and determine your areas for improvement. 
  • Prepare a career list: Consider this as manifesting your goals. What are you looking for out of your new role? Increased salary options? More learning experiences? Leadership opportunities? Write down your goals so you stay true to them through this process. 
  • Take a sneak peek into your new career path: Does your company offer a learning program? Explore options such as shadowing someone with the job you want, interviewing people with your ideal title, and doing some research on salary expectations and potential employers. 
  • Set attainable goals: Chances are you’ve already got a full-time job. Set expectations with yourself and your manager around how much time you have to learn on the job. Maybe you want to apply for a specific number of jobs per week or get certain certifications. You may also have a goal timeline to transition. These goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based) to help set you up for success. 
  • Take the plunge: Revamp that resume to focus on the skills you will bring to your new role. Join the 82% of folks who are much more satisfied with their new role. 

Turn to the next career page

My career change journey underscores the importance of mentorship, tailored resources, and a supportive work environment in facilitating career transitions. I am grateful for the opportunities and guidance I received, which transformed my career and life. It’s not too late for you either! Use the talent, resources, and support that already surrounds you to help transform your career into the one you dream about. 

Is your current role making you want to jump ship? While exploring your career shift options, consider learning more about how to manage job burnout.

career management software
Invest in the future

Are you an employer looking to support your employees' career development? Check out career management software.

career management software
Invest in the future

Are you an employer looking to support your employees' career development? Check out career management software.

How to Know It’s Time For a Career Change (And What to Do Next) How should you tackle a career change? G2's Liz Guhl shares how she found out she was ready to make a change and how she followed through with the shift.
Liz Guhl Liz Guhl is a former Project Manager at G2. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago. Liz owns G2’s Report Playbook, Hackathons, and many more projects with company-wide effects. In her downtime, you can catch her switching between fiber arts crafts, binging reality television, and loving on her two cats.

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