The inevitable happened, you hit a rut at work. You’re questioning everything: your role, your passion, even your entire career. You start thinking about other career paths and consider making the switch. But the entire time you aren’t quite sure whether a career change is the right decision or not. How do you know for sure? Make sure you’ve answered these questions before jumping ship:What’s the actual problem?
You’re not happy with your current job or you wouldn’t be considering a change. But do you know why you’re unhappy? You need to know the real reason to determine whether you simply need to switch companies or change your entire career path.
- Signs you need to switch companies: Your workplace can color everything about your career and personal life. If you’re experiencing things like challenging colleagues, a poor relationship with your boss, no recognition, and lack of growth opportunities, you might just need to find a new workplace. If what initially drew you to this career path still interests you, make sure you’re not throwing it away over one bad workplace.
- Signs you need to switch your career: Sometimes you change, and your career path stays the same. If you find you want a new challenge, you’re disinterested in things about your career that used to interest you, your values have changed, or you have an intense desire to learn something, you might need a new career path.
Have you done your homework?
Just because you have set your sights on a different career path, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. After all, the grass is always greener in other careers when you may be struggling with yours. Before making any decision, do your homework by assessing yourself and the potential career path.
- Self assessment: There’s always more self-learning to do! Take assessments like Myers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder. Ask trusted coworkers and mentors what they think your professional strengths and weaknesses are. Brainstorm about what you want out of a career versus not. Journal your success stories to figure out exactly what makes you proud and passionate. The better you know yourself, the easier you’ll know whether or not a career change is the right move.
- Career assessment: Immerse yourself in a potential career path as much as possible before making a decision. Talk to people and ask them about their experiences. Read related articles to learn as much as you can about the industry. Go to industry events to try the career on for size.
Do you know what you’re getting into?
Now you know why you’re considering a career change. Check. You have a better idea of what you want. Check. You know the career path actually interests you. Check. But do you know what you’re getting into? Even if the career change is a small one, some things are bound to be drastically different. Make sure you’ve thought about the following:
- Seniority: This one is hard for some people. It’s very unlikely you’re going to enter a new industry at the same level you are now. Your status will likely dip and you’ll be playing catch up alongside people who are younger than you.
- Salary: Speaking of salary, know whether your paycheck is taking a hit. Comb through some industry reports and get a sense whether the potential salary is realistic for your life.
- Skills: Finally, be realistic about the amount of growth you may have to do to even break into a new career field. Do you need an MBA? A certification? Analyzing job descriptions will help determine what you need to build.
There is no easy answer when it comes to making a career change or not. Remember that a career path is a journey unique to you and there’s no shame in making a major change or two. Take the time to answer these questions, trust your gut, and do what you have to do.