Forced career change: how to think creatively about your future


Unfortunately, in recent times the chance to face what is called a forced career change has increased. Quite often, unexpected events break our routine and jolt us out of our comfort zone. 

Furthermore, there may be fewer opportunities for those with a specific skill set in the world with changing trends and the fast development of new/existing technologies. Many people are now rethinking their careers due to the changes brought about by the pandemic. 

If this is a position you’ve found yourself in, here are a few things you’ll need to consider to make the right choice and start a career that would be even better. 

How to face a career change?

We live in turbulent times. Therefore, your job description could be very different – or even irrelevant – in the years to come. Forced career changes are likely to come about quickly, and at some point, you might discover that you have to find another way to make a living.

However, forced career change is not bad, as it is your chance to start something new and finally find the best suitable position for yourself. It would be nice to work on your mindset to keep optimistic about the career change at first. 

You will likely get more chances of success if you can develop a growth mindset. In simple words, you should firmly believe that you can overcome any obstacles, develop new skills, and take responsibility for your own success with effort, persistence, and motivation. 

What to do next?

Unfortunately, there is no chance to plan a forced career change and prepare, as it often comes as a surprise. However, despite many complications and shock, making this transition run smoothly will be critical to your future success and happiness. 

Indeed, turning a forced career change into a positive experience is not that hard if you know how to handle it. 

  1. Close the old chapter

First of all, to be ready for new opportunities and open up for success, you need to obtain closure in one period before you move on. When you are still tied up to loose ends and still keep thinking about the opportunities you had, you have no chance to make a fresh start. 

To obtain this closure, get used to the thought that there was nothing else you could do for your past job, and visa versa. That job could not offer growth and development for you anymore. You do not owe anything to your past employer, and all the tasks and projects you were working on are no longer your responsibility, and you do not have to worry about them anymore. 

  1. Complete a self-assessment

Sometimes, doing the same job for several years in a row, people get too busy to explore themselves and discover new aptitudes and predispositions for other jobs.  Therefore, before jumping into another job, take some time to self-evaluate. 

Try to think out of the box. If the situation turned out like you need to look for a new job, why not try something you always wanted to. Here are some questions to think over before starting the actual job search: 

  • What career would you rather have?
  • How could you possibly end up at your dream job? What actions should be taken?
  • Do your present skills and competencies align with the job goals? Is upskilling an option?
  • What is the most important thing about your future job: growth, money, opportunities, status, work-life balance, etc.? 

Try to be honest with yourself. The more you know about yourself and your future job, the easier your search will be. Furthermore, in this case, you will get more value from a transition than you thought at first. 

  1. Create a SHAPE document

The SHAPE approach is an excellent way to understand yourself better and craft a roadmap for your future actions. Thus, you will have a step-by-step plan that helps you not to get frustrated or lost on your way to your dream job. 

A SHAPE document consists of 5 major sets of questions running under headings: Spiritual, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experience. Making notes answering the questions one by one will help to order your thoughts and release tension in front of the unknown.   

  1. Open up for new opportunities

If you’ve got your heart set on changing careers and want to start something new, try not to impose too many limits and be open to new opportunities. Come up with some good career-changing ideas, and then try to be flexible about your job search.

The Joblist survey reports that most people were happier after they made the change. Now when you have the freedom to pursue what you want, rather than being limited to what you think you can do according to your current skill set. Look at what you’re naturally drawn to. If you happen to face some difficulties in this process, meeting a career counselor may be an excellent option. 

  1. Start the job search 

As you are now ready for the actual job search and more or less sure of what you are looking for, start preparing all the necessary elements required for interviews and selection procedures:

  • craft a new CV that would highlight your experience and skills
  • practice your job interview and brush up your knowledge; a new industry may be tricky in that relation
  • keep searching for opportunities
  • broaden your network
  • be resilient, and don`t take the rejections close to your heart.

A job search in the course of a career change seems frustrating as it reminds you of when you were looking for your first job. Some people fear finding themselves at the bottom of the career ladder. 

However, for people having vast life and work experience, the situation will never be the same. These features are always well recognized and appreciated by employers across the spheres. 


Following the steps mentioned above, you have a brief guide on overcoming the obstacle of a forced career change. Undoubtedly there is no perfect solution fitting all the possible cases, and however, these steps will help stay positive and creative about a career change.

Remember, a career transition is not a one-shot deal. Therefore, be patient. Embrace the change and get excited about what is coming next rather than concentrating on what you had. 

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