Are you stuck at a workplace that is just not “you?” Are you missing passion for your job? Is your boss favoring someone else? Are your colleagues thwarting your success or your chances for advancement? Sometimes there is no way around it — a career change is what you need to get back on the career track.
But with today’s current economic climate, it can be scary to consider a career change. Will you have to start back at the bottom? Do your skills transfer? How do you know that the new career you are considering will be the one that is right for you?
It’s important to remember that how we once thought of a career is a thing of the past. Whereas people used to picture a career as a smooth trajectory, where they would start at the bottom and progressively move up the ladder, staying with the same company and making their mark, that is typically no longer the case in today’s environment.
Now, it is much more common for people to not only change companies but entire industries as they look for a career that matches their needs and interests. Anecdotal research shows that the average U.S. worker will have seven careers over the course of his or her life.
The important thing to remember is that rarely are you starting at the bottom just because you are changing career. More often than not, there are transferrable or complementary skills that will make you a valuable addition to your new workplace. In fact, when considering a new career, it is vital to make sure that your new employer values what you can bring to the table.
One of the challenges is knowing if it’s the right time to consider a career change. There are many factors to consider, and one of the best ways to get started is to figure out what you are looking for and how what you have at your current position compares. A simple chart of pros and cons can help you elaborate on the factors that are most important to you — whether you are looking for a position where you have more authority, or a more involved team behind you, or hoping for a larger company or, conversely, a smaller startup. Consider the intangibles such as commute, work environment, company culture and the other factors that can make a job more favorable.
Also, before you leap, it is vital to speak to others in the industry. Solicit candid feedback on the opportunities for advancement, the potential barriers to entry and how you can overcome them. For example, if you need to seek additional degrees or accreditation — and what a typical day looks like, before you decide to make the leap. This is where your network will come into play — talking with those within your company in different departments, or with people you know in completely different industries.
Since your career has so much impact on your quality of life, from your income to your lifestyle, it is vital to remember that you are the architect of your own career success.
Onward and upward!
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