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Thinking of Changing Careers? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

Topics: Career Advice
changing careers
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Very few people work for the same company from graduation through retirement these days.

Over the course of a career, people change jobs 10 to 15 times, on average. And, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of January 2018, the median employee tenure was just 4.2 years.

It’s harder to find data on how often people change careers altogether. This is partly because many career changes are more gradual evolutions than great leaps.

Still, if you’re planning a pivot, you should know that you’re about to take a big professional step — one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It pays to make sure you know why you’re thinking of moving on to something new.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Ask yourself these questions first:

1. Why do you want to make this change?

It’s always a good idea to fully understand why you’re doing something before actually setting your plan into motion. This will help you to stay focused and motivated toward your goal. So, ask yourself — why do you really want to change careers?

Think carefully about your current job, too. Are you tempted to switch careers because you’re hoping to escape a negative situation that’s going on right now at work? If so, be careful. It feels a lot better to run toward a career than to just simply run away from one.

2. Could you take a pay cut?

You have more experience in the industry you’re leaving than the one you’re moving into. So, you might not be ready for as senior a position in your new line of work, which could mean taking a pay cut. Ask yourself whether or not that’s something you can afford. And, would it be worth it?

Get your free salary report so that you’ll know what you’re really getting into.

3. Are you ready?

Timing is important in life. You want to make sure that you take this leap when you’re really ready. So, think about whether or not now is the right time to make the move.

Would it make more sense to get more training, education or experience before looking for work in another industry? You want to initiate this change when you’re really ready. That’s the best way to help ensure your success.

4. Would you be willing to relocate?

You should consider whether or not you’d be willing to relocate before officially deciding to change careers. Do some homework to research the job market in your area.

Some industries thrive in some locations but not so much in others. For example, moving from working in tech to working in agriculture could necessitate a relocation. Would you be willing to move for the right job? PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator can tell you more about relocation could impact your bottom line.

5. What is your heart telling you?

You have a right to live a life that makes you happy. It’s a good idea to pay close attention if you have the gut feeling that you ought to be applying your talents and abilities in a totally different way than you are right now.

Life is short. So, if your workdays are starting to feel really long, boring or just generally terrible, it’s worth questioning your circumstances. It’s not immature or irresponsible to let your heart guide your professional path, as long as you don’t make any rash or uninformed decisions.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you thinking of changing careers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.