The average person can expect to change careers at least once in his or her lifetime. One reason is that sometimes people don't make informed decisions when choosing an occupation. For example, they neglect to do a self assessment that will help them learn about their interests, work-related values, personality types, and aptitudes in order to find out what occupations are suitable based on those traits. They also do little to explore the careers they are considering and therefore don't know as much as they should about them.
Making an informed decision regarding your career will certainly increase the likelihood that you will be more satisfied with it, but even if you do everything right, there are no guarantees the career you choose when just starting out is the one you will want to remain in for the rest of your working life. That is, after all, a very long time. Changes in your life or the economy can all influence whether you will want to, or can, stay in the same career. At some point, you may find yourself wanting to, or needing to, follow another path. Here are some valid reasons to make this transition.
You Should Consider a Career Change If...
- Your Life Has Changed: When you chose your career back when you were in your early twenties, your life was probably different than it is today. For example, you may have been single then, but have a family now. What seemed like an exciting career that required lots of travel and long hours, is no longer viable. It makes you long for more time at home, and that is what you should look for when you explore new careers.
- The Job Outlook For Your Career Field Has Become Poor: When you choose an occupation, one of the factors you should consider is its job outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts whether employment in an occupation will grow, decrease, or stay the same over a decade, based on current and forecasted economic and other factors. While the future may have looked promising for your field when you entered it, changes in technology, the economy, or the industry can impact it. Perhaps job opportunities are no longer plentiful, and when you research future predictions, you learn that conditions are going to continue to deteriorate. You should look for an occupation that has a better outlook.
- You Are Experiencing Job Burnout: Even a career you once loved can wear you down. After years of being in the same occupation, you may begin to experience job burnout. Before you do anything rash, you should try to figure out if you need a new job instead of a new career. Sometimes that solves the problem. If it doesn't, it's probably time for a bigger change. Wouldn't it be nice to enjoy going to work again?
- Your Job is Too Stressful: Some occupations are inherently stressful. Learn about the stress involved in the occupation you are considering and take that into account when you are picking a career. If you find yourself dealing with job stress that is too much for you to handle, it may be time to move on in order to preserve your mental and physical health.
- Your Work Bores You: Another factor to think about when choosing a career are the opportunities for advancement and your desire to climb the "corporate" ladder. Some people become bored if they've worked in their field for a while and haven't been able to advance or if they've moved up as far as they can. If your career no longer challenges you, pursuing a different one can help revitalize your motivation.
- You Want to Earn More Money: When you compare careers, you should think about compensation. While higher earnings won't necessarily lead to job satisfaction, you will want to be able to make a decent living. Sometimes your needs and wants change, and other times the typical earnings for an occupation changes. If you can't make as much money as you would like in your current career, look for one that has higher earning potential. Just remember not to let your desire for higher earnings outweigh all the other factors that lead to job satisfaction.
Are you still undecided about whether to change careers? Take this quiz to help you find out. Ready to embark on a transition? These articles can help you:
- How to Make a Successful Career Change
- 5 Things You Should Know Before Making a Midlife Career Change