Choosing a career is not a permanent decision. Stress, burnout, low pay, unhappiness, disrespect, lack of advancement, or hearing another calling are reasons why you would want to change careers. However, it can take years and cost thousands of dollars to obtain the necessary education and training to become qualified to enter another career. Changing careers is a hefty decision and should only be done if it is absolutely necessary. Recognizing the telltale signs can be difficult, but you should be well-informed before making a drastic transition.
How to Know if Career Change is Meant to Be
- Your Health is Suffering
Chronic stress can take a toll on your physical, mental, and social health. If you are stressed out to the point that you are frequently getting sick, losing sleep, developing stress-related conditions, consistently feeling depressed, and your interpersonal relationships are suffering, you definitely need to make a change. You can replace money, but you cannot replace yourself or your health.
- You are Not Using Your Talents or Fulfilling Your Passions
Poet Langston Hughes wrote about what happens to a dream deferred. The outcome of a deferred dream is never positive. You are much more likely to enjoy work that allows you to use your talents, engage in your interests, and/or allows you to advocate for a cause that you are passionate about. You only get one life, and life is too short for wondering about what you could have, should have, or would have done.
- You Can See Yourself in Another Career
Almost everyone can think of several careers that they would be interested in. When it comes to making a decision about a career, you need to consider a variety of factors, not just what the careers sounds like or looks like. You need to consider the daily reality of the career, the compensation, and the overall life that comes with it. If you are considering changing to another specific career, you need to be fully informed about all of the ins and outs of the career. For example, being a mental health counselor may sound appealing because you think you will be helping people and families live a better life. However, you need to consider what it is like to have to listen to people’s problems all day long, the frustration of trying to change people who are not ready to change, the massive amounts of paperwork, the average salary for a significant amount of work, having to work nights and weekends, and possibly having to be on-call to resolve crisis interventions. The worst move that you can make is to invest time and money into switching to a career that you end up disliking just as much -if not more- than your current career.
- The Money Does Not Motivate You
Money keeps many people in careers that they do not enjoy. If your career is so taxing to the point that money does not compensate your disdain, you have every reason to change and no reason to stay.
Making the Final Decision
Before changing your objective on your executive resumes, you need to identify the source of your angst. Your career may not be the problem. The company that you work at, work environment, co-workers, supervisors, and even factors in your life outside of work can be to blame. Unless your health is really suffering, you should take your time before coming to a final decision. A quick decision is usually not a good decision. Most people never get their dream job, but you should be reasonably happy because your career encompasses a significant part of your life. Ancient philosopher Confucius said, “if you find a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life.”