Being in a job you don’t like can be exhausting. Considering how much time is spent in a workplace, if you don’t like where you are, it can turn into a real struggle. But is switching the careers the right move? Well, it certainly can be. There’s nothing wrong with switching careers if it moves you closer to where you want to be.
“Making smart career choices is important because it will propel your career,” career expert at Monster.com, Vicki Salemi tells Bustle. “Making moves, even a lateral move that better positions you for upward advancement, are incredibly wise.” Don’t be afraid to take a side step — or even a step down — if it ultimately gets you a better place.
It may be that you weren’t in the right field to begin with, or maybe your goals have changed since you started in your industry. Either way, it’s OK to switch careers. “Your priorities are unique to you,” Salemi says. “But your choices can change as you get older so it’s important to pursue opportunities and employers that fit into your life and goals.”
But, even though it may be the right move for you, it can still be a huge undertaking — and one that you want to think about carefully. Here’s what you should know before you switch careers, according to experts.
1It Can Be A Great Move
Don’t think of a career switch as you trying to rectify a mistake — it’s totally OK to make a move and it’s all part of your career journey. Even if you have to take a step back to start a new career, it can be a great decision.
“As long as you have a compelling reason to change your career, there are only pros,” XCaliber Coaching & Consulting Founder and Career Coach Alex Aberle tells Bustle. “Your ability to make a bold move will feel liberating, and there is a chance that the feeling of freedom can inspire you to do even more in your professional and your personal life.” So feel confident that it can work.
2Make Sure It’s Not Just To Get Out Of Your Current Workplace
Switching careers can be amazing if you do it for the right reasons. Life coach and career expert Nina Rubin tells Bustle there are a couple of questions to ask yourself first. “Are you switching careers just to get out of this workplace? Is the new career seemingly better or is it just a rearrangement of location for work?”
Make sure that you have the right motivation for leaving, other than just getting out of your current office.
3Make Sure It’s Not A Band-Aid
If you’re making a career switch, it’s important to find the right new job — not just the first one that’s available. Make sure that you’re not just picking something new because you’re flailing and looking for a life-raft. “What about the new career will propel you forward?” Rubin says. Make sure your career move will actually help you, rather than just work as a band-aid.
4Starting Over Can Be Difficult
Even though it might be the right move, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy one. Prepare yourself for switching careers by being realistic — starting over can be hard. “Instead of starting a wonderful new adventure, you can easily jump into the dark abyss,” Aberle says. “It’s important to consider that any career change will require new learning, and can manifest discomfort.” Learning pains will probably come — and that’s OK.
5Tests Can Help You Make The Right Choice
Tests may sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re done with school, but there are lots of tests that can help you find the right career for you. If you’re looking to switch careers but you don’t know exactly where you want to go, doing some research and taking tests like the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or Princeton Review’s Career Quiz can provide some useful guidance.
6Make Sure Your New Career Will Fit In With Your Goals
What are your long-term goals? If you’re making a big move, you want it to chime with your plan for the future — so think about what you’re really looking for in a career.
“In changing careers, there is always a sense of dissatisfaction with one’s current job and at least a vague idea of a job that would be preferred,” Lucy Guida, Senior Analyst at Lausanne Business Solutions, tells Bustle. “It is wise to carefully analyze what aspects of that ideal job are most critical to your future job satisfaction. This way, as you navigate the uncharted territory of unfamiliar careers, you have a compass.”
7Support Networks Can Make A Huge Difference
When you’re dealing with a big transition, having a support network and asking for help can make all the difference. “This kind of transition will undoubtedly bring to the surface many of your insecurities, not to mention, a lot of fear,” Guida says. “It is important to find a support system to bolster your confidence and keep you from succumbing to those fears and insecurities. That support can come from your family, friends, or a trained professional (or all of the above!). Your own confidence will ensure your success. Foster it.”
Changing careers can be a scary decision, but it can also be the right one. Just make sure you know why you’re doing it and be prepared for things to get a little rocky as you find your feet. But if you’ve made a thoughtful decision, it can really pay off.