5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Changing Careers

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Changing Careers

questions to ask yourself before changing careers
Want to know how to choose the right job? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before changing careers – so you can find true fulfillment.

Technology has evolved so fast over the past few decades, opening the door for many new opportunities. Even the way we find jobs has changed — from classified ads and humble posters to entire platforms listing hundreds of positions at a single click of a button.

This dizzying number of possibilities has had its effect on people looking to switch from their current careers. In fact, a study conducted by The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the average person changes jobs around 12 times in their lifetime.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Changing Careers

There is nothing wrong with a career change. And there are several reasons why you might want to shift careers as well. You may find that you’ve hit a ceiling in terms of improving your skills.

Or it might be that a new or emerging field sounds really exciting for you.

Whatever the reasons may be, if you’re seriously considering a career shift, there are some important questions you have to ask yourself before making a final decision.

1. What do you dislike about your job right now?

Thinking about what you don’t like about a job can be just as useful as knowing what you do like. Define your work personality — what makes your position a bad fit?

  • Do you work in an office cubicle when you’d rather be exploring the great outdoors?
  • Are you a night owl who has to get up early in the morning?

If you’re finding a lot of “you’d rather be” in this process, then it’s probably true that you’d feel better in a different working environment altogether.

2. How different is this new job you’re eyeing?

Once you’ve thought of all of these things you’d rather have, compare them with the new job you’re interested in. Which of the boxes does it tick off, and are they enough for you to leave your job at the moment?

Dig really deep when you do your research. And don’t just base it off the job descriptions posted online.

Read reviews, studies, and if possible, ask someone in the industry for all the details, good or bad.

3. How much will you get paid in this new field?

If one of the reasons you’re leaving is because of the low salary, you won’t want to encounter the same problem in a new and unfamiliar field. Money is still important, after all, no matter how much personal fulfillment or learning you might gain in a new job.

Scope out the salaries for different positions in the company you’re interested in, and don’t forget to learn about the regulations in your state regarding compensation.

Some states actually ban employers from asking applicants questions regarding their salary history. Special Counsel notes that the penalties range from $2,000 to $250,000, and possible jail time.

Knowing this will give you more room for negotiating reasonable pay with a potential employer in this new field, and not based on your previous salary.

4. Can you afford the uncertainty?

Never underestimate a career shift, and keep in mind that it is, in fact, a major decision. Now isn’t the time to shy away from hard questions when weighing up the pros and cons.

Ask yourself:

  • How much do you have saved up?
  • Are you supporting a family or partner?
  • How long can you go without a salary?

To help you plan out your finances, The Balance recommends tracking your spending habits religiously with an app, or even with a good old pen and paper.

Knowing how much you spend can help you make the right adjustments to prepare yourself for a new career.

5. What else is stopping you?

We talked about how to just lean into a change – and keep moving in a helpful career article here (which offered 7 simple steps to stay focused and motivated to achieve your goals).

We explained how important it is to just take the first step even without seeing the whole staircase. If you’ve really thought about all of these questions, and have clear answers pointing towards a new career, then there is no reason not to move forward.

After all, it’s normal to be a little bit nervous when making big decisions like these. But when the only thing stopping you is this fear of change and uncertainty, then it’s time to just take a deep breath and make the best choice you can for yourself.

Think happier. Think calmer.

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