Whether you’ve been working in the same job for decades or are the only a couple of years into your career, feeling unhappy, frustrated or fed up is not good. But whilst in past generations, people were expected to suck it up and stay in the same company for decades, if not an entire lifetime, these days it’s far more common to switch jobs every few years or even completely change careers.

These days, we value having a work-life balance and prioritize happiness above all else. So if you’re not happy in your job, it’s not too late to make a change. With a bit of forwarding planning, a proactive approach, and a positive attitude, you can find yourself in the job of your dreams sooner than you think.

1) Make a plan

Whether you want to completely change careers or make a simple sideways career move in your current company, you need to have a plan in order to make it happen. The first step is to write down the job you want and then you can work your way backward to figure out the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

Start by making a master list of all the possible things you would need to do. From getting new qualifications and researching jobs in your desired industry right through to handing in your notice, think about every single step you need to take. Once you’ve done this, break it down chronologically into manageable tasks. Then it’s just a matter of ticking each task off as you’ve done it.

Having a plan will help keep you on track and stop you from getting overwhelmed and giving up.

2) Save up some money

Applying and interviewing for new jobs can be time consuming and exhausting. And that’s without thinking about studying for new qualifications or volunteering to get the hands-on experience required to move forward. So in order to make things happen, you may need to quit your job or go part-time in order to pursue your dream career.

But unless you happen to be a filthy reach, you probably can’t afford to quit your job right away and hang around until your dream job lands in your lap. So give yourself some breathing room by saving up a bit of money before you hand in your notice. This will allow you the time, energy and brain-space you need to pursue your dream job.

3) Get your qualifications online

Most career changes will require you to gain some new qualifications. This can, of course, take some time. Again, you may not be able to quit your job and go back to Uni, but thanks to the internet, you don’t necessarily have to.

These days, you can get the knowledge and qualifications you need online without setting foot in a classroom. There are so many online degree courses in Australia that allow you to fit your studies around your other commitments. It will take some determination and focus, but you can start building the path to your new job without having to quit your current one. And if you have a family or other commitments, your studies can fit around those too.

And finally… Don’t give up!

If changing careers was easy, you would have done it already. But if you’re unhappy with your job, you need to make a change. Life is too short to spend half your time in a thankless role that you hate. So whilst the road may not be straight-forward and it might take a little time to make it happen, don’t let yourself give up. Of course, if you’ve followed our first piece of advice and come up with a structured plan, all you need to worry about it staying productive and ticking off one task at a time.

Changing careers is hard but not impossible. So stay positive, take it one step at a time and make it happen.