4 Considerations Before Making a Career Switch

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

Many people look at their jobs/careers and wonder what they are doing. In some cases, a stressful job may be putting pressure on you at home, as well as at work. Or, you might not be able to stand the unrelieved tedium. Some people want to switch careers in order to try something new or more enjoyable, or to work in a more flexible environment. If you have decided that it is time for a career switch, here are some things to consider:

1. What Do You WANT To Do?

The first question you have to ask yourself is what you want to do. Many experts encourage you to think about what you would do if you didn’t have to work. Go beyond what you would do for fun, though. This isn’t about vacationing, or spending more time with your family (even though you would probably do those things if you didn’t have to work). It’s about figuring what you want out of life. A career can help you feel fulfilled. What sort of job would help you feel fulfilled in yourself? Consider what might make you happy, and what kinds of careers could help you achieve a purpose, or help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

2. What Skills Do You Have?

After you have settled on a career that you think would provide you with something you enjoy in life, consider the skill set you would need. Look at your hobbies, your strengths, your skills and your talents. Look at whether these translate into your new career choice. If you will need to acquire more skills or education, make a plan to do that with as little student debt as possible. You might not even need to get a new degree, but instead take classes or obtain certifications for new skills. Do a skills inventory, and try to see how your skills can make the transition to a new career feasible.

3. Consider Your Financial Situation

In some cases, your first choice of a new career is unrealistic due to your financial situation. One of the reasons that it is so important to pay down debt and live frugally is that you will have more flexibility with your finances later. Look at your emergency fund, and determine whether or not you could live on it while you build your new career. In some cases, you may have to wait on the new career until you are in a better position. Cultivating a little income diversity can help as well, especially if your new career pays much less than your current one. That way, your finances won’t be too adversely affected if you are unable to get your new career going as quickly as you would like.

4. How is Your Network?

Before you make a career switch, it can help to consider your network. What sort of contacts do you have in your chosen career field? Are you likely to have a little inside help as you make your career switch? In general, it is a good idea to keep current with your network, touching base with those you know occasionally. You never know when an unexpected opportunity will crop up, so staying connected could turn out to be extremely beneficial.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

KM July 12, 2011 at 8:24 am

I am thinking about going to grad school in a different field at some point in the future when I get tired of doing what I do now. Enjoying what I do is important to me, but financial aspects could ruin my plans since the other field does not pay well and grad school is not cheap unless you teach and get a stipend. Perhaps it’s something I could do when I get old too and don’t have children to raise. But I am happy where I am for now, though I did make sure to leave a few doors open for future changes.

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Witty Artist July 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

Making a career switch is one of the hardest things to do in one’s life. Leaving everything behind without regrets or second thoughts is the first to get over. I guess the switch is triggered by not feeling fulfilled. Or maybe by not earning enough. Whatever the reasons may be, the most important is to really know what you want next. I speak from proper experience – when you have many skills and things you would like to consecrate to, the most difficult step is to choose only one. I see the ideal job/career as something you would do even for free, without get paid. Because where there is passion, everything else will be mere effects. Miranda, what do you think is the number one criterion to clearly know what one’s want when they have more than one option?

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Cameron July 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm

As the saying goes don’t leave your old job until you have found a new one, but as you mentioned in your article there are many factors to consider such as finding the right fit for your skills and talents as well as following your passion or just making ends meet.

Taking a career quiz can be very helpful because you will be able to assess which career path will work best with your personality.

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sisme bebek December 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I am thinking about going to grad school in a different field at some point in the future when I get tired of doing what I do now. ;)

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