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Have you been thinking that it might be time to change your career? If so, you surely realize that this is a major decision that cannot be made over night. If you have been unhappy or unsatisfied in your current profession for quite some time, you must seriously evaluate the pros and cons of either looking for a new job or changing your career altogether.
Making a decision to switch jobs or switch careers takes careful thought because you want to make sure you are making the right choice for the right reasons.
While you are evaluating the prospect of pursuing another job or another career, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you dislike your current job or profession?
Do you dislike your profession because you are not in a position with enough responsibility?
Do you like the profession but you want to work in a different department?
Do you like your profession but are you overwhelmed by your responsibilities?
Have you had an interest in an unrelated career field for many months or more than a year?
Can you stick with your profession and just change industries? There are many industries that require workers with specific skills. For example, people who work in the field of human resources are need in every industry. The same is true for accountants, sales people, marketers, writers and even teachers.
Are you in a profession that is needed across various industries?
Do you think you would be happy working in the same type of profession but for a different employer?
Has the industry for which you work been working seen a downturn and you want to switch to an industry that is more popular?
If you think you want to change careers, do you know what type of career you want? Changing careers can be difficult and time-consuming. It may involve the need to go back to school and earn an advanced degree or a certificate. Before abruptly deciding that you want to change careers, take a few free personality quizzes that are available online to help determine what type of profession best suits your character traits. Following are a few popular “career aptitude quizzes” that might steer you in the right direction:
Do you want to change careers because you want to make more money?
Are you sure that the career you want to pursue actually has a higher salary potential than your current career?
Check out one of the following salary wizards to find out average salaries for specific professions:
Salary Wizard from Salary.Com Salary.com
Salary Calculator from Monster.com: CreerAdviceMonster.com
Salary Wizard from WSJ.Salary.com: WSJSalary.com
How long will it take you to achieve a higher salary than what you are currently making – knowing that you will probably have to start out with an entry-level position when you enter your new career?
Will you have to attend school so that you can start working in a different profession? Some professions require a formal education and others do not. Are you planning to choose a career that will require four or more years of school?
Can you afford the tuition?
Can you afford to not work while you are in school?
Is there any way you can stay at your current job while you are in school earning a degree for your new career?
How do your spouse, your significant other, and/or your family feel about your desire to change careers?
How will you handle opposition from those who are close to you?
Will your family support you financially and emotionally while you are seeking employment in your desired professional field?
Is the profession you want to enter actually as great as you think?
It is common to glorify a certain profession before you actually work there.
Is there a chance to volunteer or complete an internship so that you get a feel for what it’s actually like to work in the profession?
Are there current employees in the profession that would be willing to talk with you and give you advice?
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when trying to make a decision about changing careers. The farther you are into your current career, the harder it will be to switch to something completely unrelated. Taking time to understand what you want out of your career and how to align your professional desires with your core values is a great place to start.
Written by Melanie Fischer, Career & Job Expert who has been writing professionally for over 10 years.