Knowing when it is time to change your career is a skill unto itself. It can also be exceptionally daunting. There still is a massive amount of pressure for men to work hard to earn money, which often means going for the most stable career path even if that is the furthest thing from your passion.
You can do what you love, you can feel fulfilled in your work, and you deserve to be paid well for it. This is difficult to find, but you won’t find it in your current career path. No, you need to know when it’s time for a change and then how to navigate that change, and there is nowhere better to start than this guide:
Signs It Is Time for a Career Change
There are five signs that can help tell you that a change in careers is necessary. Sometimes the career change will be to a different workplace. Sometimes to a different role. Sometimes it’s time for a brand-new fresh start in something completely different. By knowing when it’s time to change, however, you can make that first important step towards your future.
1. You Don’t Care for the Work That You Do
If you don’t care about your work, have become complacent, and generally find that you are starting to outright resent your workload and even your role itself, this is a big indicator that it is time for a change.
2. You Don’t Feel Like Your Efforts are Working Towards Anything
Not feeling like your efforts are working towards anything (a promotion, a new career path, a better future, etc.) is a surefire sign that something needs to change. If you like the work you do, but feel stuck in your current position, then it’s time for a new employer. If you don’t enjoy the work, you do and feel like it doesn’t offer any career progression options that interest you, then it is time to outright change careers.
3. You Feel Like You Aren’t Paid Enough
If you don’t feel like you are paid enough for what you do, then you need to leave. The best way to be paid appropriately is by negotiating a higher salary at another company. Alternatively, if the salary range isn’t good enough for you, you could change career paths and get started with a more lucrative career option.
4. Your Job is Negatively Impacting Your Personal Life
If you find your job is taking its toll on your personal life, then something needs to change. This could be finding a new job, or it could mean getting out there and retraining for something new. It depends entirely on what the cause of your stress is.
5. You Feel Constantly Stressed
If you feel like you can barely keep your head above water or cannot get your mind to cooperate with you and stress is just something you live with, not just experience, then a change is necessary. If the work you do is causing you stress, then a career change is in order.
How to Change Careers Successfully
There are a few ways that you can successfully change careers.
Go Back to University
One of the best and most robust ways to make yourself qualified for a new role in a new industry is to go and invest in further education. If you are sick of selling medicine, for example, and want to start helping patients first-hand finally, then you can go and earn a nursing degree in as little as 16 months. The best accelerated second degree nursing programs allow you to take your existing bachelor’s degree and use some of the credits towards your new career.
While the best time to go back to further your education is when there it is a licensing requirement, the fact is you can always go back and use existing credits to speed up your next degree. Leave full degrees for the biggest changes, consider diplomas and other shorter courses for moderate career changes, and short courses and workshops for smaller changes.
You may find it fulfilling to look for your job role in a new industry in many cases. If that industry requires specific knowledge, then a short foundation course, online courses, workshops, and even conferences can all help you brush up on the industry knowledge you need.
Use Your Existing Skills to Apply for New Roles
Though this tip is the most difficult, it is still possible. Many roles share the exact same skillset, and every good employer will train their employees during the onboarding process. With this in mind, you can opt for a position that allows you to get your foot in the door. Once there, ask for shadowing opportunities, learning opportunities, and chances to direct your career to where you are most passionate.
You don’t necessarily need to apply for a job or internship, either. Volunteering is another great way to get your foot in the door and will help build the contacts and network you need to secure a job in the company or organization of your dreams.
Tips to Help You Succeed
A few more tips to help you successfully change your career include improving your networking skills and adopting a lifelong learning approach to your personal and professional lives.
Some ways to network better include:
- Attend events, meet-and-greets, and get out there amongst people in the industry you want to work in.
- Connect with people online and engage with them online to slowly build up a strong professional relationship
- Use your alumni network and mentorship opportunities to build a unique network of many kinds of professionals.
Earning a new degree is a great place to start, but you need to adopt a lifelong learning approach to truly succeed. Some careers, like nursing, actually require you to have education hours as part of your relicensing requirements, meaning that it’s as good for your career as it is for your sense of fulfillment. Learn by reading, listening to podcasts and talks, taking short courses and workshops, and more. These are great times to network as well, so you’ll benefit in more ways than one.