CAREER TIPS - 3 Things You Should Consider Before Changing Careers
The pandemic has presented myriad challenges for employees at every level, and the pandemic economy has left many feeling insecure in their chosen careers.
As a result, workers are considering whether an entirely new career field would be more interesting or if it would better protect against layoffs, furloughs, business closures, etc.
Even before Covid-19, it’s customary for people to stop and evaluate their career legacy, re-assess career goals and define new paths and outcomes for their professional lives. It is commonplace to contemplate new and different career options and assess alignment at various times throughout one’s career. But in times of economic recession or depression, both the unemployed and employed find themselves more inclined to consider a career change. The more people experience or observe others suffering through job losses and pay cuts, the more anxiety they begin to feel on matters of job and financial security.
1. Consider what’s driving you to contemplate a career change.
What is driving you to consider a career change?
What compelled you to select the career field you’re currently in or the one you’re striving to enter? Is it status, fame, money, interests, etc.?
If you can answer these questions, you can better substantiate your “why.”
And if you can substantiate your “why,” you’ll be in a better position to pull yourself through when the going gets tough.
And, without a doubt, the going will indeed get tough on several different occasions throughout your career no matter which career field you’re in.
Those who experience the deepest levels of career success are driven by factors that go beyond status, fame or money.
For sure, we all need to earn a living. We need to provide for ourselves and our families.
We need to ensure that we’re self-sufficient and can provide for our core needs in life.
We also have innate desires to be appreciated, recognized and validated for the effort and commitment we bring to our work.
In and of itself, there isn’t anything wrong with seeking to elevate yourself to a higher social status, achieve professional acclaim or strive to become a high-income earner.
Nothing is innately wrong with any of this. However, if your primary driver for a career change is status, fame or money, you might find that you achieve financial security at the expense of job satisfaction or career fulfillment.
2. Consider your own definition for career success.
There is a huge difference between accomplishment and success.
How do you define career success?
Career success is elusive. You can find people all over the place who have achieved their goals to earn a good living and hold senior and executive-level roles. You can find people all over the place who have premier offices and cushy job perks. But you’d be more hard pressed to find truly happy and fulfilled individuals who experience, both, the combination of accomplishment and meaningful success.
As you consider a career change, consider how the work you do in your current field compares to the work you want to do in a new career.
How do both contribute—or fail to contribute—to your definition of career success?
Your thinking on this really matters.
If you’re on a mission to get the next office space, the next title, the next pay raise or the next status symbol, but you don’t know how the work you would sign up for fits within your framework for career success, you could likely meet with emptiness and despair when it’s all said and done.
“Career success is a combination of achieving a reasonable level of financial stability while doing work you enjoy and then finding that you are also happy and fulfilled with your life and career choices as well. If you love your job but find that it doesn’t lead to financial self-sufficiency, career success is diminished, and if you get paid very well but lack joy or interest in your chosen career field, career success is diminished. True career success requires that there is alignment between the two.”
3. Embrace reality: every career path brings joy, pain, rewards, struggles and challenges.
A successful career transition depends on appreciating that while the grass may be different in a new career, it won’t necessarily be greener.
Every career comes with struggles.
There are tradeoffs to be made regardless of which career path you choose.
Check out these four dirty little secrets about successful people, and you will see that everything has a cost.
Successful people trade one pain for another.
Successful people take risks and lose.
Successful people want to give up.
Successful people get rejected.
When you’re looking from the outside in, it can seem like some people just have it all together.
You may believe that there are some career journeys or career paths that provide a boatload of joy and very little pain and struggle.
It can appear that some careers are just better than others.
Certainly, careers are different, but—depending on your definition of success—they aren’t necessarily better.
In order to determine which career path is best for you, consider what you’re willing to sacrifice and risk—which tradeoffs you’re willing to make—in order to experience different rewards. What tradeoffs or sacrifices are you willing to make so that you can experience a different career? What dues are you willing to pay in order to transition to a new career?
The point here is that you just don’t want to be fooled into thinking that by changing careers you’ll eliminate all your worries or pain because you won’t. What will happen is you’ll likely experience a different set of worries or pain. And that is fine. That is life. That is reality.