How to Know When it’s Time for a Career Change

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How to Know When it's Time to Change Careers

Do you wake up energized to go to work every day? Do you feel like you’re making a difference and have the right opportunities with your current career path? If not, then you’re not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, only 49% of Americans claim to be very satisfied with their job.

When it comes to our careers, many of us feel like there must be something better out there. We might feel stagnant in our current role, or like we could be doing more with our lives if we pursued something new.

These feelings are completely normal and don’t always mean it’s time for a career change. After all, a complete change in career is not something to take lightly. Trying something completely new takes a lot of time and mental fortitude.

Sometimes, we might just need to switch things up in our current role or look for new opportunities to learn and grow. However, there are also times when a career change is definitely the right move. If you’re experiencing any of the issues below, it might be time to consider a career change.

Related: Find a New Career at 40

Reason’s to consider a career change

You hate your job

When it comes to our careers, many of us feel the urge for a change at some point in our lives, especially if we hate our job. Unfortunately, hating your job is incredibly common and can cause great stress and dissatisfaction with life. It can lead to feelings of stagnation and worthlessness and feeling like you’re not making an impact in your current role.

If you’re in this situation, it might be the right time for a career change. Find something that aligns with your values and interests and start taking steps to make the transition.

You feel unfulfilled

Another sign that it might be time for a career change is that you’re not feeling fulfilled in what you’re doing. We often choose a career path out of college based on money or other factors other than what might be most fulfilling. But after you spend some time actually doing the job, you realize it’s just not for you.

There’s no shame if you find yourself in this position. After all, how is a teenager supposed to know what they want to do with the rest of their life?

So, don’t be afraid to explore other career options if this is the case.

Related: High Paying Jobs With Little Schooling

You’re not using your skills and abilities

Are you in a role where you don’t feel like you’re putting your skills and abilities to good use? This is often a sign that it’s time for a career change.

It can be incredibly frustrating when we don’t feel like we’re using our talents to their fullest potential. If this is you, it’s time to start looking for something that can better utilize your skills.

No opportunity for advancement

If you’re in a career and you sense there’s no real chance for advancement, you may want to consider changing careers. That’s as long as you really want to advance, and let’s be clear, some people aren’t looking to climb the corporate ladder. If you’re happy with your job and don’t mind staying at the same level, then you might be fine where you’re at.

But do consider that even if you’re okay staying at the same level for the rest of your career, an employer may not feel the same way. A younger generation may come up behind you and be willing to do the same job for less money. So always consider the risks of plateauing too early in your career.

You can’t stop thinking of a different career path

If you can’t stop thinking about your dream job, and it’s not the one you already have, then you should spend some time looking at this new career. There’s nothing worse than having that feeling you could be doing something different and enjoying it more.

No matter our age, a different career opportunity is always worth considering if it better aligns with what we want.

You don’t feel like you’re making a difference

Sometimes we start down a path without thinking about what impact we want to have on the world. For many, making a difference becomes more important, especially as we spend more time in the workforce.

It might be time for a career change if you don’t feel like your job is making a difference. Look for something that more closely aligns with the impact you want to have in the world and make the switch.

The industry doesn’t align with your beliefs

One of the telltale signs that it might be time for a career change is when you find that your current industry or profession no longer aligns with your values and beliefs.

If you once found purpose in the work you were doing but now feel like your goals are being compromised due to changes happening within the industry, it might be time to start looking for something new.

You are offered an amazing opportunity

While it’s not the most likely of situations, you might receive an offer you can’t refuse in a different career. Maybe you have a friend or some other connection and that person just loves you for a certain position.

While it might be a difficult decision, this is definitely a reason to think about changing careers. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of such a decision, but if you’re not entirely satisfied in your current career, then why not think about taking a shot.

You want to start your own business

If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss, this might be the time to try it. It’s absolutely safest to start this business in an area you already have expertise, so it might not need to be a complete career change. That said, if you see an opportunity in a brand new industry, don’t be afraid of that either.

Just make sure you’ve done the appropriate planning, and make sure you have the finances to take the risk. The reality is that many businesses fail, and you’re likely to outlay some cash during the endeavor. If that’s the case for you, then let’s make sure you didn’t gamble the kids college funds away.

Another, and arguably safer option, is buying a franchise. It’s not for everyone, but can offer you a start in a new career without taking on as much risk.

The industry you work in is not doing well

If you’re in an industry that looks like it’s headed down the tubes, this is great reason to start looking at a new career. Even if you’re doing well, it doesn’t really matter if you’re the captain of sinking ship.

It’s also possible you don’t need to make a complete change in this scenario. For industries like energy that are seeing a massive shift, you may just need to look a the replacement industry. Think of clean energy businesses and similar up-and-coming fields as opposed to the older and dirtier businesses.

You’re only staying for the money

Lots of people, especially those doing well, are just sticking around for the money. And let’s be honest, that’s not always a bad thing to do. Money can bring joy in other ways than pure job satisfaction.

But it may be time for a career change if you’ve used those earnings to save up a good nest egg or just don’t care about the money anymore. Just like the advice we gave with starting a business, make sure you’ve planned appropriately from a financial perspective.

You may not realize how much you’ve become accustomed to your current earnings. So be prepared for a temporary or even permanent drop in your monthly income. As long as you’ve done the due diligence, then there’s no reason not to give it a shot.

You’re not meeting personal goals

We have goals we’d like to achieve in life. If you’re job isn’t helping you get there, then it’s definitely time for a change.

For instance, if you’d like to travel more or be able to take on more family responsibilities due to flexible hours, then you may need to look at switching positions. Despite the wishes of your current employer, there are now plenty of non-traditional work setups that allow for exactly that.

Similarly, if you want to work on your own ideas and start a venture, you may need to seek a job that allows for the flexibility and autonomy needed for such an endeavor.

The Stress is affecting your health

Employers expect more and more from their employees, which can lead to stress. Some people deal better than others, and if the stress of a particular career is taking its toll, then you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.

There are other careers out there where you won’t feel the same stresses, and that can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. Regardless of earing, your health should come first, as it’s essential for both you and your family.

What age is best to make a career change?

Thinking you’re too old is a big reason why many people decide not to change careers. But people are working longer than ever today, especially if they love what they do. That means you likely have more time than you think to make a career change and truly excel over a period of time.

If you’re in your 40’s or 50’s, don’t think you’re doomed to a job you hate for the rest of your life. Instead, think of ways to make a change without impacting your financial future or improving it. There are more ways than ever to retrain for a new career in a short period of time. Take advantage of these opportunities, and you’ll like improve your overall quality of life in the process.

How to make the change?

Make a plan

Having a plan is always the best option when making such a big change. Have a timeline for yourself and include everything from finding suitable job prospects to networking with the right people.

Be prepared to network

Networking is key when it comes to finding a job. Develop relationships with people in the industry you’re looking to get into. It’s also worth setting up informational interviews, where you can find out more information on what kind of roles are available and what they look for in candidates.

Think about your passions

If you’re changing careers because you don’t enjoy your current path, then you should focus on finding something your passionate about. If you’re going to take the risk, you might as well find a career that makes you happy to go to work everyday.

Talk to a career coach

Career coaches are professionals who can help walk you through the process of changing careers. They can provide you with advice, help you find the right job for your goals, and give you tips on how to make it happen.

Get the skills you need

Changing careers likely means you will need to get some new skills. Whether it’s something like coding or just professional development, make sure you properly research what will be expected of you in your next job.

Today you have many options outside of traditional degrees to do that quickly. Think about professional certifications, technology bootcamps, associate degrees, or simply taking some online courses.

Industries like technology, medical, clean energy, and many others are growing at a pace faster than the workforce. That means many of these companies are accepting less than four year degrees for entry-level positions.

The bottom line

Making a career change can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Tens of thousands of people make the switch every year, and with the right planning and execution, you can be one of them. Start by making a plan for yourself and include everything from finding job prospects to networking with the right people.

Be prepared to put in some hard work, as changing careers often requires retraining or learning new skills. But there are more ways than ever to do this quickly and easily.

Finally, think about what you want out of your next job. If you’re unhappy in your current role, then find something that makes you passionate about going to work everyday.

Making a career change is a big decision, but with the right preparation it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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