It used to be that people were generally expected to stick with one career or plan for their whole life. This attitude still persists for many, but it’s far from universal. Many people are beginning to accept the possibility of changing jobs or careers well into their middle ages. Sometimes it’s because technology forces them into this choice (remember travel agents?), but other times it’s because technology has provided numerous opportunities to easily make the transition. Before making this major leap, what do you need to know? Read on to find out!
Having a dream has its perks, but you need to focus on reality. For example, if you do not have a job lined up, it’s better to stay at your current one until a new position opens up. What if the job requires you to travel 180 days per year, and you are a single parent raising three children? Once again, you may need to wait – but that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes, having a long-term goal in mind (for say 2 or 3 years down the road) can ensure that you have the proper time to make the necessary preparations and gain the requisite skills.
Consider Your Salary
Sometimes, money is not a major concern, especially when you are very young or if you have a spouse with a secure job. Who knows? You might be living with your parents and have practically no bills for which to pay. If one of these situations applies to you, now just might the best time to make the change. This is because even with a wealth of experience, entering a new field will very often result in a pay cut. If you’re lucky enough to be able to withstand the decrease, it might be worth being able to pursue your goals.
One of the reasons people caution against switching careers is because they are afraid doing so will become a problematic pattern. Some people wind up changing their jobs every few months or every couple of years. Jumping from job to job does not give you the time to build up any sort of seniority or to really develop your skills. This can be problematic, because if you’re just trying out different fields until something works, then your resume might look awfully risky to the employers that really matter to you once you’ve figured out what it is you ultimately want to do. You need to strike a balance between enjoying life and securing your future.
Before you make the final decision to switch careers, you will likely need to acquire some training. This could entail returning to college for a second degree or having an apprenticeship at a local shop. Whatever the case may be, training does more than just prepare you for the actual work of the job. These opportunities also let you know what the work environment is like. So, you have to allow time and money for this step. Perhaps you will find that this is truly the right career path for you, or maybe you’ll discover that the hours are not what you want or the specs are not what you had imagined them to be. This is an inherent risk to changing careers.
Maybe our parents had something important to say about sticking with one path. The idea of being realistic and prepared might have taken on a slightly different meaning, but these concepts are both still applicable in modern times. You don’t want to just dive into a career and see what happens – you want to be sure that it is the right fit for you. Still, don’t allow this caution to dictate the direction of your life. Anything can happen, and if you’ve worked hard and plan to continue doing so, you’ll land on your feet.
Veronica Morrison writes about professional development, business and more. A recently hired accountant, her proudest piece is on the Top 10 Best Online Masters in Accounting Degree Programs.
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