15 Feb 3 Basic Questions to Ask Before a Career Change
“Career change” is a term that is often used for a variety of actions – some voluntary, others not – affecting one’s career or working life.
For some, it refers to a move to a new industry after many years in another job or field; for others, it is a smaller change such as different type of position or a transfer to a new company. Still for others, it is the change from a temporary position to a new, more permanent career option. In any case, the career change is almost always a big change.
Here are a few questions worth asking before you make a career change:
1. Do you really want what you think you want?
It is hard to know if you will like – or succeed – at something before you have actually done it. A hobby, a temporary position, or a thorough understanding of a different job or career can allow you to make a career change with more confidence and better results.
Make sure that you are truly interested in a new career. It is important to rule out the possibility that you are dissatisfied with something else in your life. It’s easy to make a boring job out to be a greater obstacle than it is, particularly if you are deeply dissatisfied with something more permanent or difficult to face.
Don’t make a career change based on something that has only recently inspired your interest. Make sure that you have a genuine interest in making the career change – or, at least, something the new job would offer, such as training or a new location.
2. Are you prepared?
It’s essential to have a plan before making a major change. It can be tempting to just drop everything and give it a shot, but how wise that is really depends on your current position. Think twice before leaving your current job without having a new source of income or support lined up. Similarly, when you do leave, make sure it is on good terms.
This is more important for those who have already established a career. If you’re just getting started on working life, then a career change means less to you, even if it is still risky or frightening. Think about whether you are up to the challenge of not just succeeding in a new career, but finding one in the first place.
You can’t be sure of everything, and if you wait until you are perfectly ready, you will never take any action at all. But taking time to think about what you’re doing and coming up with a back-up plan is always wise.
3. How will you measure success?
Is success defined as simply making the change, or do you have to succeed spectacularly at it? Is success monetary or is it measured in your ability to work for yourself or rise to the top of a great company? It might sound obvious, but being able to answer the question of how you will define success is essential. Without it, you don’t have a real end goal and you can’t be sure that you are actually addressing a career-related problem.
These are just a few of the questions you will need to ask yourself before making a career change. The decision depends on how many other people are involved, how ready you are — only you can make the decision. Remember that you aren’t likely to receive that perfect, affirmative sign you hear about in success stories or in movies – the decision is going to be up to you, and it may be a hard one. What is most essential is that you have a realistic back-up plan, take others who depend on you into account, and, of course, make sure that you know what it is you’re looking for.
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