So, you’re considering switching careers. But, unsure, you dither and hesitate. Between the comfortable security of a long-held job and the thrilling uncertainties of starting up in a new field, which could be best for you?
It could be that you got a respectable job in a well-known company after graduating from college. You have done what has been expected of you, and you have even gotten promoted several times.
But after a few years, you still can’t find any sense of fulfillment, you feel out of place, and the idea of a career change is starting to grow on you. Now maybe the time to create a plan and move forward with a new career.
So What is a Career Change?
Some people confuse changing jobs with a career change. Career change is not as simplistic as finding a new job. When you change careers, you are changing the type of work you do.
It is more about setting another direction for your future and starting a new career path.
The thought of such a significant overhaul of your life can easily make you nervous. You wonder if such change is possible without catastrophic mistakes, and you are looking for someone to show you the intricacies of such a significant life decision.
Fortunately, we are here to help. We believe a successful career change is possible. Still, before you make such a momentous move, you must consider the pros and cons of switching careers.
Career Change Pros
Switching careers could be beneficial. And to motivate you, here are some of the reasons why:
Taking Back Control of Your Life
You find it hard to wake up in the morning, and you dread going to work. At work, all you think about is what your life would look like if you could get away from your current environment. A career change may just be the fix you need.
A new career can demand less of your time, and this lets you devote more time to family, your hobbies, and other pursuits.
Increased Happiness and Contentment
Doing what you love is often touted as the key to being happy with your job. This is true. There is a unique sense of satisfaction that comes with doing your favorite projects every day.
When you are fascinated with what you do, you will be eager to continually develop yourself, and this will lead to higher levels of competence, which leads to better performance.
You will also be content. This is especially true if your new career path is that of entrepreneurship. When you are your own boss, you will be highly engaged in what you do because failure is not an option, and success brings contentment.
Self-development and Growth
Career change often requires learning new skills. You will need to expand your knowledge, and this will lead to more self-development.
Also, the rationale behind a career change could be the need for advancement. You could be well paid in your current job, but you may have reached a ceiling, and there is no more room for growth. A new career will create opportunities for advancement.
A diverse skill set is also another advantage. When you have developed expertise across a range of disciplines, it makes you adaptable, and it broadens the scope of what you bring to the table in any future engagement.
Increase in Income
This is the primary motivator for many of us. It is simple: the most important consideration for most people when making a career change is money.
In the current economic climate, getting a significant bump in your salary at your current job every few years is a pipe dream for most people. Often, salary increases that come with promotions are minimal and are never enough to create an immediate leap in your standard of living.
Changing your career to a better-paying industry or profession will clearly lead to a significant increase in your spending power.
Acquisition of Crucial Soft Skills
Change requires the ability to adapt. When you regularly job-hop, you will need to cultivate new relationships everywhere you go and adjust to new processes and workflows. This helps you develop soft skills like relationship management, networking, and effective communication.
Employers may not demand such skills in job adverts, but they will surely value you more when they have you on their team.
Working overtime is a staple of the modern work environment. Many work long hours, which leads to stress, and this can create health problems. A career change can give you an escape from the stress you face in your current job.
People who make career changes because they want to work in less-stressful settings are often willing to make the sacrifice of earning less. Income may reduce, but the benefit to your happiness and a healthier lifestyle can justify such a move.
Some environments are simply not ideal for some of us. It is essential to be motivated and excited about what you do.
A career change can give you the uplifting environment you seek. Many people rediscovered their lost energy and excellence with a change in career and work environment.
Career Change Cons
Before you file that resignation letter and say goodbye to your coworkers, you should consider some of the Cons that may come with making a career change.
A job means a steady paycheck every month. When you quit your job, that income ceases to exist. Making a career change may come with a period of uncertainty during which you will be unemployed and searching for a new job in an unfamiliar industry.
There is also the risk of losing retirement income. A 401(K) savings vehicle works when your employer makes matching contributions to your savings account. When you don’t stick around, you may lose that contribution.
Starting From Scratch
In your current job, you probably have a clearly defined career path. You have established professional relationships and a network of influence you have spent years building. When you switch careers, you lose all of that.
Often, you will have to start from scratch to prove yourself and build a new career. You will need to ask yourself if you are willing to start from the bottom all over again.
There is also the issue of confidence. When you are new, your employers are less likely to give you the degree of autonomy and flexibility you had in your old job where your competence was already established.
Also, career advancement is tough for a new guy. In a new job in an alien industry, you will have to compete with internal candidates that have had years to prove themselves and are already familiar with the politics of your new environment.
The Risk of Being Labeled as a Job Hopper
No recruiter will look at a resume that shows someone who moves from job to job without taking a pause.
Indeed, the job hopper label is often unfair, and many workers end up working for several companies or organizations during their careers, but it is still a label that sticks.
Employers invest a lot of time and resources into recruiting new employees, so they want to be sure that the new guy will hang around for a while.
If you are switching careers, this stigma is something you need to overcome. If you get labeled as a job hopper, employers will see you as someone who finds it difficult to be committed to the success of the organization that pays his checks.
Dealing with Competition for Jobs
In your industry, you know the key players, you have built up a track record, and getting another job in the same industry may not be such a daunting task.
Switching careers is a different ball game. You will need to learn new skills, adapt to a different approach to recruitment and evaluation, and at the same time, compete with other people that have spent years in that industry.
There is also the reality that many companies prefer to promote internal staff to fill new positions. Companies invest in grooming and training in-house talent, and such individuals will often have significant leverage over the new guy that is looking for a new adventure.
Starting something new will involve a learning curve. You will make mistakes, and there will be setbacks. This is something you need to consider before making the decision to switch careers.
You are ditching your current job because you are unsatisfied with the state of your career. But the grass is not always greener on the other side. The truth is that a career change may create new problems that will make you worse off than you were at your old job.
Switching careers is never an easy decision. You have spent most of your working life building competence in your industry and rapport with your work colleagues. It’s not going to be easy dumping all that in favor of starting all over again.
On the other hand, changing to a new career might give you the much-needed opportunity to grow and reach your life goals. It could also give you a better work environment and overall satisfaction. Carefully weighing the pros and cons of switching careers is crucial to making the best decision for your circumstance.