The Pros and Cons of Changing Careers

Career longevity isn’t what it used to be. Time was when changing career was frowned on; 40 years of steady work rewarded by a gold carriage clock was seen as the desirable norm.

iStock_000008869356XSmallNowadays, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median number of years spent in any one job is just 4.6. Hopping careers is becoming much more normal.

If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled at your current job, you might start dreaming of greener pastures. The trick is figuring out whether changing career is really the best option for you.

As the article “Career Change Options for People with Your Background” points out, research to find out if a career change is doable for you is an important step.

So how do you do just that? Start by checking out these pros and cons to help you figure out if a career move is what you need.

Five Reasons to Change Career

Among the reasons to switch your career aspirations:

  1. Better job satisfaction. If you’re currently in a job that really doesn’t light your fire, life can become tedious. Given that work is a large part of your life, finding work that you enjoy and that leaves you fulfilled is one way to a happier life all round.
  2. More confidence. Taking the plunge and embarking on a new career will change you as a person, showing you how resourceful you can be when it comes to taking risks and learning new things.
  3. Learning new skills. Changing careers usually involves further training and learning a whole new set of skills and information. This can be engaging and fun, challenging you to expand your horizons and use your mental muscles.
  4. More money. Retraining for a better paid career can mean a bigger income. The lure of better pay is certainly a factor in changing career, and if you choose a new career that will genuinely boost your income, your future will look brighter.
  5. Boost your resume. While there is still some risk of looking flaky (check out the cons of changing career below), a career change doesn’t have to negatively impact your resume. Showing flexibility and the willingness to start again and learn new skills can give your resume a boost.

Five Reasons to Think Twice

Among the reasons to give some pause:

  1. The grass isn’t always greener. It’s important to really analyze why you want to change career before taking that step, as some people who change careers do regret it later. It could be that you need change in another area of your life, or that a move to a different role within your current field would be more appropriate.
  2. Looking flaky. As pointed out above, a certain amount of flexibility in your career history is no bad thing, but you may still have to field questions from potential employers about why you chose to change. Be sure you’re ready with an honest answer that shows your commitment to growth rather than making you look indecisive.
  3. Going it alone. Changing careers usually means leaving behind your work colleagues and your existing network. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing – the opportunities for growth can be exciting – but there’s no doubt that it can be daunting.
  4. Cost. Training for a new career can be a costly business. As well as paying for any courses or other training, you’ll have to absorb the impact of giving up your job to look for a new one, so some careful planning is in order.
  5. Less security. Changing career can often put you back at the bottom of the career ladder. That means you’ll be the new hire all over again, leaving you more vulnerable during potential re-shuffles or cut backs.

There’s no doubt that a career change can be a refreshing and rewarding experience, but it’s not for everyone.

Take the time to really understand your motivations and the impact of making that change first, to give yourself a better chance of success.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO and changing careers.

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