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Finding the Courage for a Career Change: Where to Begin

Starting your career as a speech-language pathologist can already prove a daunting task, but making the decision to shift course halfway through is another experience entirely — especially if you’ve already accumulated skills and connections in a specific part of the industry.

Of course, career changes do happen, and they can even push you in the right direction. That’s something The Missing Link for SLPs podcast guest Sara Schmuckler knows all too well. Sara recently transitioned from her full-time clinical position to starting her own private practice, something that’s helped her feel more on track. Prior to making that change, Sara believed something was missing in her work life. And she’s far from the only person to have such an experience.

If you’re thinking about making a big move in your career — whether it’s jumping from traditional employment to self-employment or shifting your primary focus as an SLP — these are some ways you can get the ball rolling and find the courage to take that leap.

Look Into Coaching Programs

If you have the time and money, career coaching can offer numerous benefits, especially when you’re looking to make a big change. Just the thought of transitioning away from an environment you’re accustomed to can seem scary, but career coaches can help you see the bigger picture. Through coaching, you can talk the situation through and start creating a tangible plan.

Looking into coaches with backgrounds specific to what you’re attempting to do can be especially useful because they’ll go beyond working on your mindset. They can also offer actionable tips for breaking into a certain niche or starting a business. Sometimes, it’s the logistical things that are holding you back, but learning from others can help you overcome those barriers.  Fresh SLP offers coaching for these first important steps of transitioning within a career.

Seek Out Educational Resources

When it comes to the logistical aspects of making a career change, coaching isn’t the only way to acquire the information you’ll need. Taking classes or leveraging online resources can go a long way toward preparing you to work in another area. Reading textbooks or listening to audiobooks can also provide you with critical skills.

If you commit to becoming a lifelong learner, you’ll have an easier time moving around in your career.

Get Online and Network

No matter which area of speech pathology you’re looking to break into, there is likely an online community dedicated to it. SLPs from a variety of backgrounds have started Facebook and LinkedIn groups, as well as online classes and organizations, geared specifically toward those pursuing their area of interest. Some of these communities are free to join, while others require an investment. Whichever you choose to pursue, there’s no denying you’ll gain value from it. Not only will you be able to connect and build long-term relationships with SLPs in your niche, but you’ll have access to all kinds of resources and advice.

Weigh the Long-Term Benefits

It’s easy to get caught up in short-term obstacles, but looking at the bigger picture can be a powerful motivator when making a change. Ask yourself how this shift could benefit you down the line and what you stand to gain in the long-term. That’s often enough to convince you to take the leap, particularly if you’re unlikely to gain those same benefits where you are currently.

Written by Mattie Murrey

April 6, 2021

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