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A rising trend has emerged in the job market since the recession, and it’s not really that surprising. Millennial workers love to change careers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the average American worker will soon have 7 different careers in a lifetime – a statistic that seems astounding, even in the current job market. Still, career changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing, whether they’re a result of young workers trying to find their niche or older workers deciding to follow their passion instead of continue on an unsatisfying path. Today, work satisfaction is valued much higher than it was in the past. If you’re prepared before you choose a new career, you can reduce the number of changes you make because you’ll be able to find that satisfaction. Here are the questions you should ask yourself.
1. How much does your new career pay?
You might be perfectly happy taking a pay cut to pursue something you love, but you also need a realistic grasp on how your lifestyle might change if you had to survive on a much different income. If you have kids, this is a particularly important issue. What will your family need to forego? How long will it take you to earn the highest income possible in your new profession? You may be entering a career that’s much more lucrative than your last, but you have to understand what that means for you.
2. Do you have the right training?
Changing careers can mean much more than a pay cut. If you have to go back to school or enroll in training programs, you could incur even more costs, and you need to be prepared. You’ll have to figure out how to fit learning new skills or expanding old ones into your schedule. Luckily, it’s never been easier to achieve a higher level of training in most careers that require it, and it may only come down to planning for when you’ll be qualified for the right jobs. You just have to be willing to make the commitment.
3. How is your new career better than your old one?
The answers might be obvious, but it still helps to really look at what you hope to gain from a new job. Is it work you’re more passionate about? Is it a better schedule? Higher pay?Opportunities for travel? Understanding what your goals are will help you make the right decision on how they are achievable for you. Sometimes falling into a rut at your old job doesn’t mean you need to deconstruct your entire career plan. Could changing companies or departments help just as well?
4. What are your values?
Not everyone wants to change the world, but having some idea of what you’d like to do with your career can help you narrow down what you ought to be doing. If you want to help other people, there are a myriad of options. If you want to be creative, solve problems, or simply be recognized for your hard work, you should look for a job that will fulfill you on a psychological level. Careers are about more than skills and passions, they’re about what kind of worker you want to be.
5. Will you regret staying where you are?
Changing careers can mean starting from the bottom rung again and overhauling your life, but if it’s really worth it, you’ll know. If you’d look back in a decade and sincerely regret being stuck in the same career you’re in now, then it’s time to try something new. If you’re only entertaining the change because of an economic downturn or a lack of opportunities, ask yourself if the move is only temporary or how much change you really want to make.The goal shouldn’t be to change careers seven times in a lifetime, it should be to make every change count.
It’s very common to work for a number of different employers in your lifetime – some day the average is climbing to nearly 20. But choosing a different career is not the same as getting a new job. In today’s world, what you do has become intrinsically linked to your identity and happiness, which is why so many workers are willing to jump ship and try again if they aren’t feeling satisfied. Whether you stay in the same field or move to an entirely new one, make sure you’re prepared for the journey. It could be the most important one you’ve ever taken.
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