Thinking of a career change? Don’t make a decision until you ask yourself these 7 questions first.
Many people change their careers because of something they want (or want to avoid), but often find themselves in the exact same predicament several months later.
There are some problems that a change in career can solve, and other that it cannot solve.
Remember that while answering these questions, you have to be completely honest with yourself (even if you might not like the answer you get).
1. What is it about your current job that isn’t what you want?
Be absolutely truthful with this one, because if you don’t know the exact reason you want a career change, you might end up running around in circles without actually solving the problem.
Is your current job underpaying you? Or is it not fulfilling? Or is it something that you can’t see yourself doing in the long-run?
Maybe your current job is actually something your parents wanted you to do, instead of what you actually want.
2. If I have to do one job without pay for the rest of my life, what would it be?
Truth be told, there are actually money to be made in almost any industry, and in almost any job if you’re one of the best. And the only way to become one of the best is when you do what you love and love what you do.
Do you want to start your own business, or run a non-profit organisation, or do you secretly dream of entering showbiz?
Of course, you may not end up doing exactly what you want. If you simply have no talent for singing, you cannot immediately decide to become a professional singer.
However, your answer to this question provides you with a direction for your next move.
Back to the singing example, even though you may not become a singer, you could do something in the industry that you’re passionate about.
Switching from one civil service job to the next just ain’t gonna solve your problem.
3. Why did I choose my current job in the past?
Unless you got your job by throwing a dart on the recruit section of the Straits Times, there’s probably a good reason why you decided to join your current company in the first place.
And that motivation may have dwindled over time, or might’ve been completely eliminated due to changes in workload or appointment, causing you the frustration you’re experiencing right now.
Once you’ve identified the factors that motivated you, see if it’s something you still want. And see if you can re-introduce it to your current job.
If you’re successful, you can experience job satisfaction without having to change careers.
4. What does the new career offer me that my old one doesn’t?
The reason you want to change careers is because your old career isn’t fulfilling one of your needs, and you believe that your new career can fill that need.
The worst situation you can end up in is to wrongly assume that your new career can fulfil a need, when in reality, it can’t.
A career change can provide a temporary boost in your morale because after all, you’re in a completely new environment.
But after the initial hype has died down, you may find yourself back to square one.
Such people are often job hopping and perpetually unhappy with whatever jobs they end up in. And I’m sure you’ve met at least one such person.
5. What experiences do I want that my new career can offer me?
Maybe you want to travel to many different places. Or maybe your current job forces you to relocate every few months, and you want to settle down in one place.
What are the experiences that you wish to get out of your new career?
Often, people use their salary as a gauge to determine if they should jump to a new job or career. But as we all know, you can have all the money in the world and still be extremely unhappy if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing.
6. How does this career change play out in my long-term vision of myself?
Is this new career congruent with my personal values? How does this new career improve me as a person? And does this bring be closer to my ultimate goal in life?
For example, if your dream is to become an internet entrepreneur and travel the world, it’s counter-productive if you decide to further your career in engineering.
Your decision should bring you one stop closer to your eventual goal.
7. What new skills do I need to develop?
The worst thing that can happen to you is to decide to switch careers and find out that nobody wants to employ you.
What are the skills required in your new career?
You should invest some time and money to develop those skills before leaving your current employment.
And in some cases, you might need to go back to school and study for a couple of years before you’re qualified for your new job.
Are you able to afford the education, and is it worth it?
What do you think?
Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.
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