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Thinking of a Career Change?


Photo courtesy of Canva


By Angela Hartleigh

March 12, 2024

 

Making a career change can be a new adventure. It’s a decision that can transform your life, but it comes with both excitement and challenges. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of switching careers and provide insights to help you make an informed choice.

In light of the current job market for many industries, such as technology, in which many layoffs have occurred and even fewer companies are hiring, changing careers may be a necessary decision. Whether you are making this decision from your own desires or find yourself having to make a change, it is important to look at it from all angles.

 

 Photo courtesy of Canva


Pros of Making a Career Change


1. Personal Fulfillment

  • Why It Matters: Feeling fulfilled in your work is essential for overall well-being. If your current job leaves you drained or unfulfilled, a new career path can reignite your passion.

  • Action Steps:

  • Reflect on your interests, values, and strengths. This is a great opportunity to do what you have always wanted to do.

  • Explore industries or roles aligned with your passions.

  • Consider other fields that closely align with your current field so that your skills will easily transfer.

  • Seek out mentors or professionals in your desired field.

2. Professional Growth

  • Why It Matters: A career change often involves learning new skills and gaining fresh experiences. This growth enhances your employability and broadens your horizons.

  • Action Steps:

  • Identify transferable skills from your current job. Even if you do not have direct skills in the new field, you have skills that can transfer from your previous experience that will help transition you into your desired profession.

  • Invest in education or certifications related to your new field. Certifications are a relatively quick way to add to your current education to build up your qualifications.

  • Network with professionals in the industry. Build your contacts in Linkedin. This is a great way to get connected within the industry.

3. Increased Happiness

  • Why It Matters: If you dread Mondays and find yourself counting down to weekends, it’s time for a change. A fulfilling career can significantly impact your overall happiness.

  • Action Steps:

  • Assess what aspects of your current job bring you joy and which aspects do not.

  • Research careers that align with those positive aspects.

  • Consider work-life balance and job satisfaction.

  • Consider where you are in your career and what matters most to you at this stage in your life. This is an opportunity to create the life you want and build your career around that.

4. Exploring Passions

  • Why It Matters: Maybe you’ve always dreamed of pursuing a different path—a creative endeavor, entrepreneurship, or a humanitarian cause. A career change allows you to explore those passions.

  • Action Steps:

  • Create a vision board or mind map of the life you want.

  • Then add in the career that aligns with that.

  • Attend workshops, conferences, or webinars related to your interests.

  • Talk to people in that profession and find out how they got their start.

  • The internet is a wealth of information. While search engines, such as Google, are an obvious choice, social media is also an excellent resource for gathering information and they are also powerful search engines. Just type in your interest in the search bar and you’ll find many people in your area of interest who can be of great assistance.

  • Take calculated, informed, and educated risks to follow your heart. As the saying goes, follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

 

Photo courtesy of Canva 


Cons of Making a Career Change

1. Financial Insecurity

  • Why It Matters: Starting anew may involve financial risks. Consider the investment required and the possibility of an unstable income during the transition.

  • Action Steps:

  • Create a budget and assess your financial stability.

  • Save up for the transition period and have a backup plan in place beyond your savings. Count on your endeavor taking twice as long and potentially costing twice as much as you expect.

  • In addition to the time the transition may take, you may also have to take a cut in pay initially if you are not able to move into a lateral position. You have to decide if the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain. If it is, prepare, and then take the leap.

  • Explore part-time or freelance opportunities alongside your current job. Anything you can do to build your resume while preparing to make the move will help you in the long run.

2. Learning Curve

  • Why It Matters: Be prepared for a learning curve when transitioning to a different career. Acquiring new skills takes time and effort.

  • Action Steps:

  • Embrace a growth mindset. Accept that there will be things you have to learn. Be willing to challenge yourself. Commit to it and do it. Everyone goes through the stretching process when entering a new job or a new field. No one fully knows what they’re doing when they enter something new. Accept that it will feel awkward and unfamiliar. Do it anyway. Before you know it, it will become familiar and you’ll be glad you accepted the challenge.

  • Seek out mentors or take courses to accelerate your learning. Surround yourself with people who are in the field and those who can help make your path a little smoother. Learn as much as you can as quickly as you can. That will make your transition a little easier.

  • Be patient with yourself during the adjustment phase. You won’t automatically know it all overnight. And while you will have skills that help you transition into the new field, there will still be many things you have to learn, and that will just take time and effort.

3. Independence

  • Why It Matters: If you’re venturing into entrepreneurship or a small business, you’ll likely need to handle everything independently. This can be both exciting and challenging.

  • Action Steps:

  • Develop a business plan. It doesn’t have to be presentation-worthy, but know what the end goal is and what steps you plan to take to reach it. Only 10% of small businesses last longer than three years largely because they fail to plan. Something my father taught me when he and I were in business together many years ago was to plan the work and then work the plan. As corny and cliché as it sounds, it is a phrase I remind myself of often.

  • Learn about marketing, finances, and operations. You know what you do, the thing that you want to create a business to do or to sell, but that is only a small part of running a business. Marketing, in today’s world, is all about having an online and social media presence. You have to decide how you will market your business. Will you take out ads? Will you drive traffic to your website organically by posting on social media? Will it be a combination of both? I have found that for my business, learning how market on social media has been as much of a learning curve as other aspects of the business. How will you sell your product or services? How will you track your sales? And don’t forget that you’ll have to pay your own taxes. Will you get an LLC? These, and many more, are all aspects you have to consider when starting a business.

  • Build a support network of fellow entrepreneurs. You can find groups on Linkedin and Facebook to get connected with other small business owners. You can even find local groups with which to connect. I have connected with a local group that meets monthly in my area that consists of entrepreneurs in various industries.

4. Stress and Uncertainty

  • Why It Matters: As exciting and exhilarating as it is to embark on this new adventure, even good change can be stressful. The unknowns associated with a new career can create anxiety.

  • Action Steps:

  • Practice stress management techniques (e.g., meditation, exercise). You may find yourself at your computer for hours at a time. Get up, walk around, stretch. Go outside for a few minutes. Even taking short breaks will help you clear your head and help you be more productive.  

  • Break down your transition into smaller, manageable steps. This goes back to creating the plan. Determine the goal. Then create the steps to get there.

  • Seek emotional support from friends, family, or a career coach. But keep in mind that not everyone will believe in your dreams. Some will think you should just keep doing what you have been doing. Be thoughtful in who you tell initially. Only tell those who will support and encourage you. And if you do tell someone who doesn’t have the enthusiastic reaction you had hoped for, just let it roll off and keep moving.

5. Higher Stakes

  • Why It Matters: Depending on your circumstances, the stakes may be higher. Evaluate the impact on your life, family, and financial stability.

  • Action Steps:

  • Conduct a risk assessment. Life consists of many risks. It is a risk to love and trust people. It is a risk to get married, to have children. It is a risk to accept a job, to start a business. Life is full of risks. You don’t know what the outcome will be. But living this life requires that we take calculated, informed, and educated risks. Thoughtfully evaluate the risk. Make sure that the timing is right. Be as prepared as you can be.

  • Have open conversations with loved ones about your decision. This is especially true if you are relying on a spouse or significant other to help carry the financial burden during this transition. Having them on board will be crucial.

  • Be prepared for setbacks, because they will likely come, and adapt as needed. Be flexible. Things may not go exactly as planned. You may be required to pivot a few times. Go with it.


A career change is an opportunity for growth, self-discovery, and fulfillment. Weigh the pros and cons, listen to your intuition, and take deliberate steps toward the life you desire, which includes a brighter professional future. It’s never too late to pursue your passion and create a meaningful career journey. Whether your decision is to change careers or not, you have to make the decision that is best for you at the time that is right for you.


Photo courtesy of Canva

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