Things to Know When Considering a Career Change

The decision to change careers is one you cannot take lightly. However, it is also one that you should not dismiss if you are feeling unmotivated or unhappy in your current role.

As a matter of fact, career changes have become increasingly common in modern professional environments. For instance, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, between 2015 and 2016, four percent of workers went through career changes. If you want to earn more money and take on a new challenge or feel unsatisfied with your current job, changing careers may be a good option, as long as you are aware of the risks generally associated with this transition.

On the other hand, despite the fact that career changes are increasingly common in today’s society, they may not always lead to happiness or financial success. Thus, making a successful transition from one career to another requires careful planning and consideration. Furthermore, you must be prepared to give up the perks of your current career and take a professional leap into a new field. Below are some of the most important things to know when considering a career change.

Identify Your Reasons and Goals Before Changing Careers

Examining your reasons for wanting to make a career change is the first step in a decision-making process. Therefore, avoid quitting your current job to pursue a new career after a single specific issue. For instance, a slight disagreement with a coworker is generally not a good reason to switch careers. You also should not consider changing careers because you expect the office political atmosphere to be different when you pursue another line of work. Overall, disagreements and personality conflicts will exist in any career path you choose. Generally acceptable reasons to consider a career change include the following:

  • You can earn more money in a different field
  • You are consistently unable to deal and overcome issues and stress factors that are commonplace in your field of work
  • You believe that your chosen new career will significantly improve your personal life

In addition, identifying your goals is a necessary step when determining if a career change is right for you. Even if you know that you want to change careers, accepting the first new offer you get may land you in the wrong line of work. For a successful career change, make sure to list out possible options from which you can choose. When making your list, consider:

  • Current skills you have, and how they will apply to each listed career.
  • How much you will earn in the new career you are taking into consideration.
  • Ongoing requirements for that particular career choice, such as additional educational requirements.
  • Projected job availability for the career path you want to embark on.
  • Your general level of interest in the career you are considering.

A Career Change May Present Some Immediate Challenges

The career change you are considering may involve starting your own business or working for a different company in another industry. In any case, you will certainly have to overcome obstacles in order to make the transition a successful one.

For example, starting your own business will require a financial investment. You will also have to invest a lot of time and effort to get the business running. Conversely, working as an employee in a new industry may also be difficult. Financial struggles may be a concern if you have a period of unemployment while you look for work in your new field. You may also have to:

  • Start working in a lower position than you expect.
  • Take a salary cut until you can work your way up in the new company.
  • Lose benefits and recognition you held at your previous place of employment.

As the new person at a company, you will also be faced with the challenge of proving yourself to your new coworkers and supervisors. Therefore, you must focus on making a name for yourself in your new environment. Moreover, you have to be able to illustrate the skills and traits that make you an asset to the company, which will ultimately help you to thrive in your new field.

Making a Career Change Requires Research

You may have chosen a new career that you think you would enjoy. After carefully examining the possible challenges you will face, you may also feel ready to start working in that field. However, making a career change will require you to research every aspect of that transition process.

For instance, you may choose a career that suits you perfectly, but that does not mean all jobs within the field will be right for you. Thus, taking the time to research local businesses in your chosen field and locate the type of work environment that suits you best is essential for success. Failure to do so may result in you wanting to make another career change once again in the near future.

Make Sure That the Timing Is Right

When making a career change, the timing of that transition is as important as the new career you choose. For that reason, you must evaluate how long you should stay at your current job first. For example, changing careers after a sudden job loss makes sense. During such a time, you can focus on honing new skills and take the opportunity to get into a new industry. However, it may be a bad time to change careers if:

  • You are currently employed by a company that shows appreciation for your work and invests in your professional development.
  • Life events have placed you in a situation requiring the financial stability that is provided by your current job.
  • You need time to undergo educational courses and hone the necessary skills to succeed in a new career.
  • Networking is required before you have enough contacts to help you advance in a new field.

When considering the timing of your career change, you may want to discuss this transition with your friends and relatives. They may have insights that will help you determine whether the timing is right for you to try a new profession. If they all support your decision, it is a good sign that the decision is right. Otherwise, you may want to consider their feedback. For example, if your spouse has an excellent income, he or she may be willing to provide both emotional and financial support during your career transition. However, if money is currently tight in your household, your spouse may suggest you postpone taking such a risk.

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