8 questions to ask before making a career change

Should I go or should I stay – the pertinent, life-changing question employees ask at some point in their career. It might seem like your only option when you’re unhappy or discontent with the route your career is taking but is it really the right move to advance your career to the next level?

If its’ the right call, a career change could transform your work life and bring the desired fulfilment that’s evaded you. A new challenge might inspire you to greatness. Yet the decision while empowering is scary and should be carefully considered.

8 questions to ask before switching careers

Does the new career path correlate with your career goals?

Some people who have reached managerial positions in their current careers sometimes feel they have what it takes to transition to a different job that pays more and offers better perks, even when it doesn’t align with their career goals or life values. What are your main priorities in life, how will a career change bring you closer to achieving those goals?

Create a list of the positive catalysts behind your desire to switch jobs, evaluate your top five goals in life and review these goals to ensure a career change is the right step.

Are you having any recurring problems at work that crush you?

A career change might not necessarily solve your career problems or crisis. If you notice that you’ve experienced the same problem, even after switching jobs, its’ time to peel the layers and ask hard-hitting questions pertaining why you have problems. It might be issues with authority figures or lack of social skills that limit your interactions with colleagues in your workplace.

What personal changes can you make? Are there any life lessons you can learn? If you allow yourself to heal, these problems will cease to occur and your work life will be transformed.

Does your present job offer room for advancement?

If you feel there is nothing new to learn at your present job, or you’ve been stifled in your current role for too long, its’ time to consider a change. Consider the growth opportunity, company size and turnover in your decision. The new job you take should have room for advancement, today and in the future.

Have you weighed the pros and cons?

Create a list of the benefits of your present job versus the job change you’re considering. Your career goals and priorities should be at the top of list for you to adequately weigh the merits of each role. Don’t get swept away in the “new is better” thinking. Massages and free lunches are nice but if goal is to find a more challenging job, it’s meaningless. The perks must address your motivations for change.

Can you visualize being there?

Can you envisage yourself in the role when you apply for a job? Is the commute to/from work within reasonable distance that it won’t affect your mental health or overall wellbeing? While its’ hard to determine exactly what you’ll be doing in your new job role, you should be able to imagine yourself completing certain tasks that will make you fulfilled.

Are you familiar with the new niche or industry?

A career change is a daunting task that becomes harder if you aren’t armed with adequate information for the new field you’re about to enter. Do your research, talk to people currently working in the industry. It helps you gain insight into the satisfaction, challenges and expectations of the job. It might seem all shiny and glamorous on the outside but insiders will separate fact from fiction so you’re properly informed in your decision making.

Are your skills portable?

If a new field seems fresh, your skills might not be applicable. Contacts in your industry and the new field you’re considering will tell you if your experience and skills could translate in the industry.  If they can’t find a connection, neither will recruiters.

What is the financial impact of a career change?

Some career changes require investment in additional training and education to equip you for the new job. The commute might be longer, the dress code different and the tools for job hunting more expensive. Do you have the financial capacity to cover the period between quitting your current job and finding a new job?

Conclusion

A career change is one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make in life. Consult with experts and people in your industry who will provide realistic advice to guide your decision. If it’s’ a risk worth taking and the answers to these questions point you towards changing careers, go for it, otherwise figure adjustments that’ll make your current job more bearable.

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