Changing jobs can be quite a challenge. One thing you should consider before making a career change is whether or not the job you are applying for is actually a good fit. There are so many factors and variables to take into consideration when asking this question. Sometimes we are so anxious to move on and move forward we forget about the details. A great example of what I’m talking about has been highlighted through the lens of public figure Sarah Palin. Many people have seen the recent movie Game Change on HBO. Although Sarah Palin proved herself as a capable leader as the former governor of Alaska, it may have become clear later on that her decision to run for Vice President may not have been a good fit for her. Chemistry, skills, lifestyle, and salary are issues that must be deeply considered before making a career change.
Chemistry can mean so man things when talking about making a career change. You have to think about whether or not you will get a along with the staff (and most of all your supervisor) in addition to whether or not you will like the work you are doing. This can be challenging because sometimes we are naturally gifted in some areas but just because you are naturally gifted in an area does not mean that is your true calling. We can sometimes confuse our natural ability to do something with what our ideal job is. If you know you love doing something and want to get your feet wet while trying it out professionally, seek out mentors you can speak to first. See if they will allow you to shadow them for a day. You might even look for some relevant professional communities to get information on the perspective job you are interested in. This will give you the opportunity to check out other people in the industry and get a sense of the industry culture. If you go to an event and don’t feel comfortable with that crowd imagine going to an office every day with people who share that same energy. You can’t force a square peg into a round hole. Ask yourself if this is what you love to do versus whether or not it is what you are meant to do.
Your skills should obviously be taken into consideration if you want to make a career change. You need to ask yourself if the skills you have are already suitable for the job or if you might need to take some coursework as well. Taking classes can give you a good sense about the chemistry of a job as well. Normally people get excited when they take courses that are relevant to their career goals. If you don’t get that happy feeling when you are studying or strengthening your skills that might be a red flag to consider.
Very few people take their lifestyles into consideration when making a career change. In fact the lifestyle department is where people tend to sacrifice the most. We all have bills and responsibilities to manage and we need the money but sometimes you have to draw the line. Is making this career change worth the lifestyle change? Unfortunately, most people don’t seriously consider the answer to this question when making a career change. Most people focus on the increase in income when switching careers but what about the decrease in time spent with your family, friends, and projects outside of work?
Salary is very important and you should certainly get paid what you are worth. Sometimes we sacrifice income for a career change when the job is a dream job and standard salary is worth the decrease in pay. If you are going to receive a lower salary try living on your projected budget to see how it feels. It can sometimes be difficult to make this type of adjustment when you are used to living a certain way. If you feel like you can’t live without the added income consider other income channels you can tap into while managing your new career.
Deciding to make a career change can be transformational and empowering. Whether you transition into work that is a good fit or not you will certainly learn more about yourself. If you make a mistake don’t worry because this will give you the time you need to consider what is more ideal for you. In any event, take these things into consideration before making more permanent decisions.
The Career Reinvention Coach
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