The average person will change careers four to six times in their life. It’s true: most of us dream of a career change from time to time. Research has shown that nearly 50 percent of adult professionals are not satisfied with their current job. So whether you are one of the dissatisfied financial professionals seeking your dream job, or you simply want to achieve a better work-life balance, if you have reached the point where you are at least considering a career change, there are several things to consider.
Because you have already achieved some success in your current industry, you are likely to experience some resistance and criticism from colleagues, friends and even your family. They may be uncomfortable with your plan to change. You shouldn’t be. If you feel like you cannot get any more pleasure out of your current position, or can’t motivate yourself as fully as you used to, or just have something you want to do instead, move forward.
While you can afford some hopscotching around when you are younger, later in your career you’ll want to be sure that you pick a career with a future. So take some time to explore: research, interview, work part-time, volunteer and get a real feel for the new career, so you do not regret the change. Salary and benefits are always a consideration, but you must be sure it is a career that will please you. Research has shown that people who work in a job that they enjoy are healthier and develop fewer stress-related illnesses.
Making the move could be a financial challenge. Your income is likely to take a hit, so take a close look at what you can earn making the switch, and what your financial obligations are. Consider them both seriously. Of course, the more you have socked away, the better positioned you are for a swap. Twelve months' salary in the bank is a good start.
Burning and Building Bridges
In preparation for your change, begin networking with people in your new sector or industry. Especially with social media so prevalent today, you should easily find someone with whom you can build a rapport, showcase your talent and personality and begin to promote yourself in the field you are pursuing. And never underestimate the power of the informational interview.
Changing careers should not be an excuse to “get a few things off your chest” with the management, or colleagues at the place you currently work. It’s a small world and every action has its equal and opposite reaction. Don’t invite ill will. Instead, take the high road, forgive past rivalries and conflicts. Make everyone you worked with sorry you’re going—or at least willing to work with you again.
Considering a career change doesn’t mean you have to do it. But taking the time to consider all the elements will put you in a better position if, and when, the time comes to jump into that new career. It might be a year or two or more, but no matter—you can enjoy the process of acquiring the perfect career.