3 things to consider before changing your career
Not feeling the love at work? You’re not alone. Gallup’s findings in the recent State of the Global Workplace Report suggest that 85% of employees around the world are not engaged, or are actively disengaged at work. Most of these workers are defined as ‘not engaged’ which means they are largely indifferent to the work they’re doing and the company they work for. Sound familiar? So much of life is work, nobody wants to be disinterested in what they are doing. Doesn’t everyone wish that did what they loved, that their work didn’t even feel like work? Or perhaps you love what you do but you seek fulfilment of a different kind. In either case a career change might be on your mind.
The key here is: don’t rush into anything. Yes, that new position at a funky startup may sound like your dream job, but before you smugly start writing your resignation letter take a breath, make yourself a cup of coffee, and consider this:
- Can you afford it?
This question may seem like a no-brainer and it’s the biggest block to most people taking the leap into a new career, but the answer is not always as obvious as it appears. Changing careers is not the same as changing jobs within the same career – when you switch to a new career you might need to drop a couple of notches on the ladder. Are you currently managerial level? You might need to start at ‘Administrator’ or ‘Co-ordinator’ level before working your way up. Look at the pay on offer at those levels to gauge whether you can afford to make the switch. And remember to look honestly at your expenses and commitments. Are you serious about this? If you are you will be willing to make some short-term sacrifices, but don’t put yourself in a borderline position. If you’re just making it financially you leave no room for unexpected expenses (they’ll definitely happen) and you risk your major financial commitments like bond payments, car payments, kids’ schooling, life cover and so on – all the stuff that ensures you and your family are safe and cared for. Always be realistic about the transition period between starting a new career and achieving financial stability – it’s often longer than you think.
- Have you got the skills?
You’re smart, willing to learn and you’re passionate about the work you’re moving into, but future employers will probably want to see a bit more. Get a clear picture of the type of skills you’ll need in your new career. Then, look carefully at the skills you’ve acquired through your working life and focus on those that can be transferred to your new career – pump these up on your CV. Now look at the skills you need and the skills you have – any gaps? Fill them by getting some training – you can get an online course in almost anything nowadays – and tap into your network – do you know any experts in the field who can lend you some guidance? If you’re short on skills but high on passion you could still land the job but at reduced pay. In that case, refer to point #1.
- Is this really what you want?
Time to get real – do you really want to change careers or are you just unhappy where you are now? How much fantasy about your new career is driving your decision? Spend real time exploring your motivations and what you hope to find in your new career – they might be available to you in a different version of your current career without as much risk.