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Changing Careers is a Big Decision. Make Sure You Plan Ahead

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Are you unhappy in your current job? Has the economy forced you to consider a new career? Whatever your reason for seeking out a new path, it's a decision that you can't take lightly. Changing careers can be very stressful, and if you're not careful, very costly. Before you give your two-week notice take a moment to look at the questions below. How many of them apply to you?

  • I do not feel satisfied or challenged in my current role.
  • My job no longer fits my personal goals, suits my skills or matches my basic interests.
  • My career ambitions cannot be fulfilled at my current company.
  • I am dissatisfied with my company's performance, direction or method of doing business.
  • I seldom think about my job when not at work.
  • I would consider a new job at my current salary.
  • I have fewer important job responsibilities now than a year ago.
  • I am earning below market rate for my job.
  • I am dissatisfied with my income level and future earning potential.
  • I manage finances wisely but remain unable to save with my current salary.
  • I am working a second job to meet my family's financial needs.
  • My work is negatively affecting my health.
  • I feel stressed or depressed on days off when I think about going back to work.
  • Individuals I respect suggest that I change jobs.
  • My work commute is unreasonable.

How many of these did you check? Checking one or two does not automatically mean you are ready for a career change, but it may point out areas of dissatisfaction that could be improved in your current situation. If you selected many of the above items it may be time to look into other options.

If a career change looks possible either now or in the future it will take some preparation. You have to understand that generally a new position will not fall into your lap overnight and careful planning will ensure you make the right decision. If you already have a career path in mind be sure to brush up on any skills that may be necessary in this new position. Will it require any formal training or licenses? Research the position and required skills so you can begin the application process with your best foot forward.

The next thing to consider is networking with those in the field you plan on entering. Do you know any friends or relatives in the field or do they have contacts that could help you? Building a network is important so that you aren't blindly trying to enter a new position. These people can be a great source of job leads and hold a wealth of information in regards to the industry that can make getting your foot in the door easier. If applicable, join industry specific organizations or check with your alumni organization where you went to school to broaden your network.

Finally, if you have a spouse or significant other it is important to discuss every aspect of this decision with them. With change comes uncertainty. If one person in the relationship is unprepared for the consequences and changes that are bound to occur it will lead to unnecessary stress and tension which will make the whole process even more difficult.

Changing jobs is no easy task and the decision can have significant repercussions on all aspects of your life. Take the time to reflect on your current situation and determine the reasons you are seeking change. If the reasons are significant and cannot be improved upon in your current position it may be time to prepare for change. Take extra care in planning for this change and work with individuals who can assist you in this transition.

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  5. Are You Ready for a Career Change? - Ask Yourself These Questions First

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