So you’re sick and tired of your job. In fact, you’ve decided you are ready to completely change careers. Of course it can be done. It’s done every single day. Sometimes by choice, often not so much. One way or the other, changing careers can be a daunting task and here are a few of the things to consider before turning your world upside down.

I look at career change issues a lot like a condition that requires a visit to the doctor. I’m not very pleased with a physician that’s too quick to pull out his prescription pad to treat the symptoms. Don’t get me wrong, I want the symptoms gone, but not at the expense of finding out what’s causing the symptoms in the first place.

Being able to put your finger on the reason for considering a career change is essential. If the real reason remains lurking in the shadows, it is bound to appear again in the future. So taking an honest look at what’s really going on is essential to a successful transition. Just remember, the downside to running from our problems is that whenever we arrive at our destination, we’re always there.

DISCLAIMER! … Now that I have your attention. Changing jobs is not the same thing as changing careers. I am addressing career change here. If you are considering changing jobs but remaining in the same career field, this list may strike a familiar chord, but will not necessarily apply to your situation. So keep this in mind as you continue reading. Besides, you may think you are only considering a job change when something inside is screaming that the problem is bigger than that. Who knows, you may need a brand new career after all.

“So, why am I considering a career change?”, you ask. Here are some of the most common reasons.

Purpose

This is a big one and it is often the most difficult to wrap your mind around. The existential question … why was I put on this planet? Sure, there are those in our lives that were born to become part of the political machine or surgeons working their medical wonders in the jungles of Honduras … and knew it since they were six-years-old. Not me. Have you ever wanted to “make a difference” and just can’t figure out how? This is where taking inventory of your skills and interests can really help. A great way to get our bearings on our career adventure is to ask our closest friends and significant others. Although our parents and siblings may have an opinion, they often view us from a past perspective and not who we have become. That is exactly the reason we revert to being sibling rivalries at Thanksgiving or Mom and Dad still think of us as their little darling or a their very own real life version of Bart Simpson.

A career coach is a great idea. Make sure you are confident in their abilities and that you trust them. Interview several until you sense the right connection.

Boredom

Once upon a time, you knew this was the career for you. Wow, how could it get any better than this? Or perhaps you needed a paycheck and just took the first job that came along. Either the boredom has always been there and has finally become intolerable, or you are discovering new facets of who you are. Something over the course of time has changed. Maybe it is the job that has changed, or just maybe it is you. Change is the only constant. Ironic isn’t it? If you have decided to keep your job and tolerate the boredom here’s a good article entitled “How to Deal With a Boring Job”.

Burnout

One definition of burnout is the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest. This could be a valid reason for changing careers or perhaps just taking a sabbatical. Loving what you do, while fulfilling, can also put demands on you that become overwhelming from time to time. While being a contributor is personally satisfying and beneficial to your company or cause, it is commonly those who get things done that are called upon to take on additional responsibility. Learning to diplomatically decline the additional work is possible at times and could be the relief valve you have been looking for. Saying no is quite often the best way to avoid burnout and provide the best service. You can only give out of that which you posses, so make sure to give yourself opportunity to rejuvenate. When saying no isn’t an option, job or career change may be on the horizon. Make the decision before someone else or even your health makes it for you.

Stressful job

Stress is unavoidable. In fact there is good stress and bad stress. The good can keep us alert and on task. It can help us avoid getting hit by a bus. The bad can make us wish we were actually hit by a bus. If your chosen career is negatively impacting your health, it’s time to look for another one. Those that matter most to you will be glad you did.

Outlook – Dwindling future – Layoff

What do the following have in common?

  • Lector
  • Lamplighter
  • Elevator Operator
  • Milkman
  • Copy Boy
  • Switchboard Operator
  • Pinsetter
  • Typist in a Typist Pool
  • River Driver
  • Typesetter
  • Iceman
  • Telegraph Operator

They are all obsolete occupations. Is yours headed for extinction? Do your research and see what the occupational outlook is for your chosen profession. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource for keeping tabs on your current occupation or checking out one that you may be considering.

Life changes

As stated earlier, change is the only constant. Occasionally, those changes may require a new career. Starting a family, an injury, caring for an aging parent, etc., may require adjusting your career goals. While shifting into a job within your current career may be possible, sometimes it just isn’t realistic.

Money

This is a valid reason to consider changing careers if your financial needs are not being met. Yes, I said needs! Wants are important, but if your spending habits are out of control, that is no reason to change careers. Scheduling an appointment with a Certified Financial Planner may be a better solution.

I am a firm believer that in most cases, money should not be your sole reason for making a career change.  This is why I only award money a 1/2 point.

Of course it can be a valid reason, it simply should not be the ONLY reason. Let’s face it. There are some rewarding careers that pay very poorly. Job satisfaction vs. a big paycheck is a common dilemma. Sometimes, a change to a better paying job within the same career field is the proper solution. Especially if you love everything about your job except the money. However, if one or more of the factors listed above apply to you, perhaps it really is time to make a career change.

While issues such as location, management, benefits, being unappreciated, personality clashes and commute are important issues, they are not career changing issues. Perhaps they are job change issues and that is topic for another time.

 

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