As we settle into 2016, our thoughts turn to what the coming year could bring.
As we settle into 2016, our thoughts turn to what the coming year could bring. Will it bring change? If it did, would we welcome it? Are you really happy in what you do?
Or maybe you don’t hate the job you are, but more that you feel you are doing the same old thing. You may feel that you need to move on to the next level.
What is stopping you from making the change?
There are many barriers, real and imagined, that stand in our way when it comes to making a change, especially when it comes to a career change. With a whole host of home learning courses on offer, you can up your qualification level – and by the end of 2016, you could be a different job entirely! It could be one that you really love too.
Identifying the barriers
Before you enrol on a course and financially commit to learning, you need to be realistic about what is standing in your way, and what could become a barrier over the next 12 months.
In effect, you need to plan this change in your career and to do this, you need to assess what the barriers are and, more importantly how to overcome them.
You may have heard of a SWOT Analysis. It is a way that companies and businesses of all kinds, as well as individuals, can look at their current situation, identify the need for change but understand what could hamper progress.
By having a deeper understanding of your current situation, you are better prepared to deal with situations when they arise.
Getting to grips with a SWOT Analysis
There are a few different versions, but in order to keep the focus on making changes in 2016, we are going to use this analysis in its simplest format.
Find a blank piece of paper – A4 size will do but if you have something larger, you can really get creative – and some pens. We suggest findings as many different colours as you can, felt tips or colouring pencils will do.
Divide your sheet of paper into quarters and label each box as in the diagram. In the very centre of the page, we suggest you create a title and date it. For example, in this instance we are looking at ‘how to make changes to a job I love in 2016 – and get a qualification!’. We suggest dating the statement or question so that when you look back on the diagram in the next few months, you can see how far you have come.
Start filling the boxes
- Strengths & Weaknesses
The boxes labelled strengths and weakness are factors that are related directly to you. For example, you may consider a strength that you do have is the love of reading, and that you can read quickly.
A strength of learning from home is that it is flexible and can fit around your current commitments. You can also carry on working.
In terms of a weakness, you may want to acknowledge that you have been out of a learning environment for a long time and that you don’t think you organise time well.
There are no right or wrong answers, and you may find that you have a lot more weaknesses than strengths – we are often better at picking fault than being positive! Aim for at least five strengths and weaknesses in each box as a minimum.
You can always come back and add more at another time.
- Opportunities & Threats
These are factors that are outside of you and your immediate sphere. We don’t live our lives in a bubble. We rely on other people to do things for us but sometimes, things go wrong. Understanding what some of these things could be – threats – means that we are prepared to deal with them.
Opportunities are those things that can happen that have a positive impact on your learning and you, as a person.
For example, if you have children, you will understand that a weakness may be having to take time off studies because the children are ill, or the child minder is not being able to look after them and so on.
An opportunity could be that your employment supports your decision to study further, offering your study leave one afternoon a week. Or your mother/neighbour/friend will pick up the children from school on two afternoons, give you valuable time to study.
The point of the exercise
People often think that they cannot afford to make a life-change. They have a mortgage to pay, children to look after, a job to do; life can be so busy it can be hard to imagine there is room for study.
But thousands of people have made the change. And they are now starting 2016 in a job they love. Wouldn’t it be great if 2017 held that promise for you?