Everyone’s been in the same boat – we burn out at our jobs, or realize it wasn’t what we expected. We want out. Some of us go further than switching companies and even decide to change career trajectories altogether. Switching careers is possible at any stage of life, but it takes work. There’s no easy way to make a big change, and it takes introspection to understand what is right, and when. So many career-changers make simple mistakes that ruin their efforts or put them in situations they can’t handle.
Don’t Rush In
No matter how much you may hate your current position, making a rash decision to switch careers is not the solution. First, you need to evaluate why you’re so unhappy in your job. Is the corporate environment a bad fit? Are the tasks draining you without offering a challenge? Have you plateaued in your advancement, and want a fresh start?
You should ask yourself these questions to understand why you’re considering a career change. It’s possible that what you really hate is your boss, or your company, not your specific field. If that’s the case, you’re better off finding another position in the same industry rather than jumping ship entirely.
Do Your Research
You can’t expect to enter a new field without understanding the basics. There may be an educational gap barring you from entry. Other times your skillset is almost – but not quite – a match, in which case you’re going to need to do some learning. Make sure you understand what the field expects and requires and be prepared to learn some new tricks before you find a job.
Following the Money
If the reason you chose a new career field was because of the salary, you’re already making a big mistake. A job can pay you any salary in the world, but if you hate coming to work, it won’t be long before you quit. Even if you stay at the job, the stress and misery can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. You have to ask yourself if you actually want to work in a specific field before you enter.
Leaving your job without another one lined up isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but it certainly makes your job hunt harder. Hiring managers don’t like resume gaps of any kind, and while it may be easy to explain in person, if they throw away your resume before the interview you’ll never get the chance to do so.
A real killer for career changers is when they’ve landed the job, done all the right steps, and aren’t satisfied with the results. The truth is that it took your entire career to get to the position you were at before. You won’t find a comparable position in a new field right away – that just won’t happen.
But that’s no reason to give up! If you find yourself enjoying the challenge, what you do, and feeling better in this new role, you may have stumbled on something special. Even if it’s not immediate bliss, stick it out. Only if you’re in it for the long-haul will you know if you’ve made the right choice.