Career Prep 

NEW DIRECTIONS: 6 Ways to Transition to a New Career

By Tawn Parent

It’s been estimated that the average American spends about 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.

That’s a lot of hours—and they can fly by if you’re happy and fulfilled, but if you’re unhappy, those hours can mean stress, anxiety, boredom and even impact your physical health.

If you feel stuck and unsatisfied in your job, exploring new career paths may help. Six ways to get started:

1. Use Indiana Career Explorer at or another online career tool to check out various job options.

2. Find a career coach or navigator to help you identify the best path forward to suit your particular needs. These counselors can assist you with both academic and career assessments. Coaches are available at community colleges and through Indiana’s WorkOne career centers at

3. Consider how your career interests align with your lifestyle, and make sure in advance that the time and money you invest in a transition will work for you in the long run. Log onto to find out about the hottest jobs in the state, along with how much they pay and what education they require.

4. Don’t be afraid to go back to school. Whether you stay in the same field or make a change, everyone needs ongoing learning experiences to stay current with their skills and knowledge. There are many options available to suit individual needs and budgets. Be creative in making it work. Going back to school is a commitment that may mean some temporary lifestyle changes. Figure out what you need to make your education a priority, whether it’s asking your boss for schedule flexibility or getting child care help from family and friends.

5. Start your own gig. In Indiana, entrepreneurs are supported. Don’t just take it from us: Chief Executive magazine named Indiana among the top five in the U.S. for business in 2018. Many Indiana colleges and universities offer classes and special programs for budding entrepreneurs, but if you missed that boat, you’ll find support in every corner of the state. Look for incubators in your area, or check out the many co-working, micro-manufacturing spaces, makerspaces, commercial kitchens and accelerators in your community or hometown. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. ( has a list of hundreds of such spaces, as well as resources for your startup.

6. Do an internship. Internships aren’t just for kids. In fact, an internship can be a good move at any stage. Some employers pay their interns, while other internships might pay off only in terms of experience or college credit. You could also qualify for a paid internship through EARN Indiana, the state’s work-study program. Visit, a free, statewide internship matching service, to learn more and connect to an opportunity.

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