15 Things to Consider Before a Career Change

If you are thinking of changing career then, before you make the decision to move away from the line of work you have been following for so long, take a moment to stop and ask yourself why you are doing it.

How do you really feel about the way your working life has treated you so far?

Do you reckon you have:

  • Exhausted every challenge that your current job can offer?
  • Gone as far up the ladder as you can or want to go?
  • Been appreciated and remunerated appropriately?
  • Attracted the approval and respect of third parties?
  • If you answered ‘no’ to any of these then it suggests your current career is probably not the issue; it is either the job you are in or the company that you work for that is driving your decision.
  • It might be better to transfer departments within your current company or move to a competitor, taking the opportunity to obtain an increase in salary and status at the same time.

Many people arrive at the position you are in because they are fed up with their employer rather than the actual job and they can end up discarding many years of striving just in order to make a break. Try answering the following questions to see if that is at the root of your issues.

Do you currently:

  • Find yourself at loggerheads with either your direct boss or your workmates?
  • Consider that your skills and talents go largely unrecognised?
  • Try to find excuses for not going to work because you dislike it so much?
  • Struggle with frustration because you are not being allowed to work to your potential?
  • Feel lacking in motivation or incentive?
  • Tussle with conditions of employment or hours of work that clash with your domestic commitments?
  • If you said ‘yes’ to any of these then it suggests you should really stay in your current industry but change departments or employers. You are tacitly admitting that the problem is not your work, it is your job.

Assuming either that the above confirmed you need to change career or that the arguments here have not persuaded you otherwise, the next recommended step is to have a chat with the Department of Employment about your position. Their guidance is free and they have Careers Advisers who can let you know what help (retraining, grants, funding etc) are available.

Be prepared for them to go through your reasoning as they will need to establish if the best thing for you is to:

  • Move jobs but keep your same employer
  • Keep your job but change employer
  • Completely change career
  • Have a sabbatical break away from your job to allow you to see things more clearly
  • If you are heading for a new career, then this will almost certainly involve an element of retraining which in turn will require a great deal of effort and willpower on your part. As you get older, learning becomes increasingly difficult and, what would once have been a simple matter, can now seem like climbing Everest. Never rush into such a thing and certainly don’t consider anything rash until you’ve talked it through at length with your family. There will be lots of implications and these may not all be immediately obvious.

From personal experience, bosses tend to be much more amenable once they know that you are not leaving for a competitor. In many cases, they may be prepared to do a deal whereby you stay in your post while they find a replacement in return for allowing you work time to attend classes, do a correspondence course, have online tuition and so on. It is always worth asking your boss (or the big boss, if necessary).

If you are indeed adamant about changing career then you must remember that you will thenceforth be chasing jobs for which you are probably less well qualified than your fellow applicants, plus being older and expecting a higher salary than them.

That said, there is only one guaranteed life and, if you are unhappy with your career, then you need to change it as soon as you can.

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