Think before You Switch Jobs/Change Career

I have read many posts on the forum where people have been asking about changing their career to HR or any other.  A young executive, seasoned professional or a student fresh out of college are becoming increasingly convinced that their current career path will not take them to their final goal. If you are contemplating a career change yet again, you might want to take a look at some common mistakes to be avoided.

Follow a checklist before making a career switch:

Assess your present situation

Ask yourself some questions and be honest with the answers. This exercise will help determine whether your motivation towards career change is practical and timely or not.

What element of your present job and job sector leaves you dissatisfied? Will a job change (and change in work environment) alleviate the situation? Or is changing career tracks the only answer?

Also, does the new career choice cover all parameters that the previous line of work could not provide (a job in the area of interest, less stress, more free time)?

Are you ready to deal with financial implications a career change is likely to entail? Are your savings decent enough to carry you through the initial low patches?

Explore all possibilities well

Go with your likes – Take a deeper look into what drives you and what profession could make work seem less like work to help you steer your decision towards your new career.

Get skilled/ trained

Along with transferable skills, a career change in all probability also necessitates some form of training or up-gradation of skills to ensure that you are ready to put your best foot forward. Search for career training courses that can fit into your current work schedule; distance learning programmes and vocational schools are good options for this.

So if you think you will require some add-on qualification(s), check the accreditation of the school and placement services offered, if any. This will help you get a head start on your new career path.

Grass may not be green initially on the other side

Venturing into a new career, you will come across many changes, and flexibility towards salary, job designation and profile will most likely be on the cards. While setting long-term positive goals, the initial stages will demand some adaptability from your end. Step ahead with optimism but be ready to face an initial setback.

Changing careers is not an easy step, especially if you have spent a considerable time and effort in building your current one. However, as unsettling as it may seem initially, if your decision is backed by a well thought-out plan and readiness to face any initial hiccups, shifting from one career to another can definitely translate to success.

Moving ahead without a plan – Changing careers is a big step, and requires giving due consideration to the move. Planning for the shift must involve an honest self assessment of your likes and personal goals. Reckless enthusiasm should not land you in situations that put your professional standing in jeopardy.

Changing just because you hate your current job – If you find yourself unhappy in your job determine whether it is a job change or career change you need. A job change can fix the following:

  • monotony of carrying out same job duties
  • absence of challenges
  • poor relations with boss/peers

A career change goes a level above and should be delved into if the discontent transcends the above and leaves you feeling listless and without motivation to seek growth in the career you are currently in. Realise that changing careers is no solution for on-job troubles.

Charting ahead without acquiring required skills – Okay, so you are confident that career change is what you need. Good! You have the major decision out of the way. The next step is to plan the ingredients for a successful switch-over, and acquire skills relevant to the new career. You can count on some transferable skills to bridge the gap between the two career sets, and even opt for additional training.

Prepared for initial struggles? Your college degree did not train you for the domain you are venturing into and a new job market can look formidable. There could be an extended phase of joblessness, job offers that require you to take up a lower designation and work your way up to the target position, a dip in your remuneration package, etc. Have you carefully considered the implications of these on your professional chart, your financial status and your family? The road to success is never easy, but without a prepared mindset, it can become treacherous.

The ‘what if’ question – Once you have analysed your situation, it’s time to take action. Don’t let the fear of unknown hold you back from realizing your dreams, it will only increase the level of dissatisfaction in your current career. You need to evaluate the risks and take a planned step ahead towards your true calling.

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