Career Lifestyle

4 Things To Consider If You’re Thinking Of Making A Career Change

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The COVID-19 pandemic pushed a lot of people to rethink their lives and priorities: perhaps their jobs weren’t everything they thought they would be, and they believed they could achieve a better work/life balance by switching to another profession.

Even as we return to normal, you may still be considering a career shift: maybe there’s a skill you’ve never put to good use, or your current role simply isn’t igniting your passion like it used to. Perhaps you’ve decided you want to do something a little more rewarding, or it might be that you feel you’ll be financially better off in a new industry. 

It’s never easy to make a career change, though. You need to be certain that it’s the right move for you, and willing to do what’s necessary to make it a success. Here are some things you should consider before you take any action:

Is there any chance you can salvage your current career?

The grass is always greener on the other side, as they say. It’s easy to look at people in other professions and assume they’re doing well because you only see the good parts — just as people look at lawyers and see only the affluence and importance, or at teachers and see only the extended vacation time! It would be a huge waste of time to go through a turbulent career upheaval only to find that you’re no happier elsewhere.

Before you take the idea any further, then, you need to think carefully about whether you could salvage your current career. Could you reduce your hours, or negotiate a more flexible work arrangement? Move to a different department, perhaps? Take a similar job elsewhere instead of completely moving on from what you know? There must be a reason why you originally decided to pursue your current career, and maybe you’ve been so fixated on the negatives that you’ve forgotten all about it.

Would self-employment suit your skills and personality?

Due to the lockdown measures that prevented many companies from operating normally during the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers throughout the country (and the world) found themselves furloughed or even fired — most of them perfectly deserving of their jobs. As a result, several explored self-employment as an alternative career option, finding that permanent roles were hard to come by. 

Driven by this as well as a desire to take control of their destinies, plenty of people are now in self-employment: indeed, 10.4% of US workers are self-employed in 2022 — a slight increase in pre-pandemic levels. ‘Solopreneurs’ are setting themselves up as freelancers, or even starting their own businesses, and building personal blogs to establish themselves as experts (it’s a key part of content marketing and something that’s cheap and accessible to invest in).

What you need to decide is whether that approach is suitable for you. Would you be comfortable doing business as an individual instead of a part of a company? Working consistently to market yourself? Some people aren’t good self-promoters: they’re just not comfortable with it, and they never will be. But if you think it could work for you, then it’s a really solid option: it’s ultimately about investing in yourself and your prospects.

What can your current finances accommodate?

Maybe you have a dream of giving up a burgeoning legal career and becoming a magician, for example. Stranger things have happened, and it might be your destiny — but a move like that is likely to prove very costly. Not only will you lose your current income (that may be substantial), but you’ll also need to factor in the likelihood that you won’t make any money at all for quite some time.

What can your savings accommodate? Do you have enough money in the bank to tide you over until you reach a point of profitability with whatever venture you’re leaning towards? If you don’t, then as much as you might want to take the plunge, it simply isn’t a good time. Wait until you’ve been able to adequately prepare.

You may even decide to ‘up sticks’ and explore opportunities a little further afield. Many countries — such as Spain — have introduced ‘digital nomad visas’ that allow non-residents to work remotely from overseas. An employer of record service from a global HR partner such as Remote makes this increasingly possible, but you’ll need to ensure it’s financially viable (what’s the average cost of living in your chosen destination, for example?) before taking this step. 

Do you know anyone who can give you useful advice?

Learning from others is a key part of getting the most out of life, and as uncertain as you might be about your future, there’s a decent chance that you know someone who’s been through something similar. If you can talk to people who’ve experienced the highs and lows of changing their careers, you can get a lot of invaluable context that will help you decide if it’s for you.

If you don’t know anyone like that, why not reach out online? The internet is packed with resources for people thinking about changing their careers, and communities full of people willing to help. Reddit is particularly handy: there’s even the r/careerchange subreddit, which isn’t huge but still has thousands of members.

Changing your career might be the best move you ever make, or something you end up regretting. You can’t know ahead of time what the result will be, but you can think it through carefully and ensure you’re optimally prepared. If you’re set on it, go for it. If you’re not, then maybe you can salvage your current career.

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