A career change is a major step and can often involve a step-back in pay, willingness to take a lower position, investment in more schooling, and re-positioning your skills sets. A career change also requires significant effort in job search, so make sure you are changing your career for the right reasons and have the correct expectations about what it takes to make it happen and what you may have to sacrifice. Consider the following five aspects carefully before you decide to make a career change.
- Why do you want a career change? Be careful of doing this because “the grass looks greener” syndrome. See my post on “Bright shiny object” for details. If you are doing this to “escape” your current job or career, then it isn’t a good reason. You may just want to find a new job in your current career. A good reason for a career change includes passion for the new career AND having most of the skill sets to pursue it. Be honest with yourself.
- What do you want out of a career at this point in your life? Are you doing what you love? Do you know what you love to do as a career and why? See my post on First Step to Achieve Your Dreams for more help on this. If you don’t know your fundamental career aspirations, it’s hard to think clearly about whether to switch career or not. Once you know what you want, assess how does your current career stack up? How does the new career stack up to what you want?
- Do informational interviews with folks who have the new career you may want. Get the good, bad, and the ugly, so you know what you are getting into. If you only get the good, interview more people until you get the balanced view. You don’t want to make all the efforts of switching and then be shocked by what you didn’t know about the new career.
- Decide what you are willing to do to get into the new career. Do you need and can you afford more schooling? Are you okay to start at a lower position or pay in the new career? It’s tough to get into a new career, be sure you are ready for the effort it takes.
- Discuss with 3 people you respect about your potential career change – find a person who knows you personally well (best friend but not your parents), find a person from the professional world that you respect (a mentor), find someone who doesn’t know you well, but could give you an objective assessment and ask you tough questions.
Good luck with your decision. I look forward to your comments. I am always in your corner.