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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Switching Careers

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Switching Careers
MBL Editors

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Switching Careers

E. Wilson

In an attempt to make their companies more lean, employers are producing with less labor, leading to a decrease in hiring. The market focus is now on which work fields remain consistently in demand, and those in transition are paying attention. Being ready psychologically by having ambition to go after the type of job you want is just as important as having the resources to do so.  “The recession changed everything.”  This is the typical response that I give when I’m asked about what factors led me to me wanting to change career fields. After spending years working in a particular sector, switching job hats teaches one to be flexible under a new economy and adapt by learning new skills.

Career shifting can be intimidating to those who crave security and stability, but it doesn’t have to be if you take the critical time needed to reflect on this decision before leaping straight in and going about steps half-wittingly.  Here are 5 honest and personal questions you should ask yourself in accessing whether changing careers is the right course of action for you:

1. Why do you want to do this?  There are many reasons why people want to change careers that are often related to their passions and beliefs about work.  Spend some time making a list of reasons why you feel you need a change in careers and what you hope to gain from a new position.  Be honest in making this list and take into account those who may be affected by your decision.

2. Are you up for this?  Finding a new position can be stressful and requires a lot of patience.  Having stamina and the ability to not take rejection personally are two positive traits career changers should have. Finding a mentor or letting your friends know about your intentions can be helpful in building a relational support system. You’ll need to surround yourself with people who believe in you at times when you are ready to give in.  Attending church, meditating, goal-mapping, exercising, and spending more time with family are just a few ways that people gain energy to deal with upcoming stresses. Find ways to refuel and focus yourself.

3. What are the opportunity costs involved?  Entering into a new career field may mean learning new skills.  Going back to school as a returning or new student can be expensive if you haven’t saved to pay the tuition and fees associated with college. Make a list of the amount you are willing to spend in getting the position you want. Allocate money for travel expenses to and from interviews and expenses related to printing such as resumes and business cards. Remember taking advantage of opportunities also means having the ability to invest time in your new search.  Using free time to spend towards job hunting may seem like a sacrifice now, but it’s well worth it if you get the result you want.

4. What is your timeline? Create a goal by marking the amount of time you think it will take you to start a new career.  Give yourself a deadline for when you want to complete your career shift. Your timeline can be broken up into quarters or segments of time composed of weeks or months for smaller goals.  Include deadlines such as when you want to be completed with new classes you may be taking or the number of interviews you want to have scheduled for the month.  Plug in important dates of events for networking, job fairs, and professional development seminars to keep yourself on task.

5. What is your Plan B?  For some people, the “plan B” may be learning how to be happy in the position they are currently in.  In this case, don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that changing careers may not be the best option for you at this moment, and work on improving your quality of life outside of your job.