Things to consider before making a career change

What you need to know:

  • While you might not be looking to start a Fortune 500 company or build a famous empire, it is important to know that changing your career is possible for you.

The career you chose at one point in your life does not have to be the one you continue to pursue forever. 

You are neither too late nor too far off to pursue a different career path. A few famous people who’ve made successful career changes later in life include the likes of Pope Francis, who was once a bouncer at a nightclub in Buenos Aires and had a morning shift as a technician in a chemical lab, and later became the pope at age 76. 

Walt Disney was once a newspaper editor who experienced rejection, being told he “lacked imagination.” Actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, also known as “The Terminator,'' became governor of California at the age of 56. 

The founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, applied to over 30 jobs only to get rejected by all of them in his early 30s. Today, at 57, his e-commerce business is now valued at $519 billion.

While you might not be looking to start a Fortune 500 company or build a famous empire, it is important to know that changing your career is possible for you.

It can be inspiring to bear witness to the success of others on a large scale through the illustrations I provided, yet there are some harsh realities and questions you need to ask yourself before you make the leap into a new career.

  1. Are you bored at work? Identify the root cause of your boredom. Do you have boring days, or are you simply bored with the work you are doing? Boring days can be resolved by simply switching up your routine in and outside of the workplace. If you are bored with the work you are doing and are uninterested in growth opportunities within the industry, this may be a sign you need to make a shift.
  2. Is this a gut feeling? Career pains are inevitable; your gut will always point it out; however, ask yourself if the pain is a short-term pain (i.e., my boss is really getting on my nerves lately) or a deep gut feeling (i.e., I’m much more passionate about a different industry and I can’t shake the feeling). 
  3. Are you unhappy with your income? After having done your research, you might have discovered that you can be better compensated in another industry that you are qualified for.
  4. Is your work affecting your health? Job stress is a valid concern. Physical, mental, and emotional work-related health issues can cause great harm. If your health is suffering greatly and it’s not worth the risk, it may be an indicator that you need to make the leap into a different career. 
  5. Are your talents not being used? If you have taken the initiative to use your talents and skills effectively at work and find that there is no room for utilising them, then this can be a definitive sign that you need a career change. 
  6. Are you willing to start from the bottom? Venturing into a new career path could mean downshifting, where you take on a lower or entry-level position. This may also involve receiving a lower income than you previously earned. 

After a thorough self-assessment, identify your goals and consider ways you can facilitate the process by giving yourself realistic timelines. Yes, the transition from one field to another may be overwhelming, but you owe it to yourself to pursue a career you enjoy. 

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