There comes the point in your career when it is clear that it is time for you to move on. Certain signs constantly point you towards a career change. Sometimes this can be hard to digest or accept, partly because the thought of starting over and reproving ourselves at a new company, with new people, just seems so overwhelming.
And if we’re honest, a career change is scary regardless of your level of success. It is even more complicated when on all accounts, it seems like you are doing well. You’ve secured the bag; the job is great; you have ample room to grow, but you still feel like something is missing.
Signs that you need a career change include:
You feel disconnected, and you’ve checked out mentally for quite some time.
You’re on autopilot; you feel demoralized and undervalued.
You dread going to work EVERY DAY, and nothing excites you anymore.
The money doesn’t make up for the level of dissatisfaction.
Your work-life balance is awful.
You constantly daydream about a new career.
Before you jump ship, take time to go through these questions so they can prepare you for the next phase of your career. Having a clear direction and path will help you avoid circling back to this article in a few years.
1. What isn’t working for you in your career right now?
Make a list of all the things that you dislike about your work environment. Is it the organization itself? Is it your colleagues? Management style? Pinpointing the direct cause of your mental and emotional shift is the best way to analyze what’s wrong.
2. Will your new career address these concerns?
You certainly don’t want an out of the frying pan into the fire type of situation. So make sure that you discover what you dislike about your current job and analyze if your new career cures this.
3. What is working in your current position?
Equally as important as knowing what you don’t like is knowing what about your current position brings you joy. When you are clear on those things, you can explore positions that allow you to do more of those things while minimizing the things that you don’t enjoy as much.
4. Do you have the right skills, passion, and experience for your new career?
Certain barriers may exist that will prevent you from easily immersing yourself in your new profession. This could be a lack of experience, training, age, gender, etc. You need to factor in the barriers too.
5. Will you need further qualifications?
This is tied in with point number three above. Certain career shifts will require you to go back to the drawing board in terms of your education. Figure out if you are willing to do that.
6. What is the scope for future opportunities?
Try to analyze the current predictions concerning the industry that you want to dive into. Are there opportunities for growth and future jobs? Ask someone in the industry what their opinion is. They usually have more insight than an outsider.
7. Are you being realistic?
You might have longed to be a doctor growing up, but you need to be realistic. Some career changes will require you to start at the very bottom. Can you handle being an intern again? How will that affect your financial well-being?
8. What vision do you have for your life?
A new career is meant to address your current problems. Visualize whether this new path will fit into what you envision. Will it help you manage your work-life balance issues? Will it give you more time with your family? Do you have room to express your passions? Will it stimulate your mind? Will the work environment be better?
9. How will the decision impact your life?
Depending on your current life stage, your decision to change careers could impact more than just you. Going back to school or taking a pay cut can significantly change your quality of life. Your spouse or partner may have to pick up the slack. Your kids might be affected as well, so keep this in mind.
10. Can tweaking things around in your current job change things?
Sometimes all you need is a new environment and not necessarily a new career. Try to identify changes you can make in your current career to help you address the challenges you are facing.
Like we always say, you want to be running to something and not from something, so take the time to do some self-reflection before deciding to make any significant changes.