A quarter-life crisis is often a breeding ground for contemplating a major career change. Emotions can range from utter confusion to extreme optimism to full-on panic in a matter of minutes, which usually leaves you mentally exhausted with no clear answer. After discussing this topic with a few women, I’ve come to find this is a very natural progression. We spend most of out adult lives at our jobs or thinking about our jobs, so having a career that is fulfilling and manages to pay the bills is something that most people now consider a primary goal.
But how do we make a successful career change, and where do we begin? Here are three things you must consider before taking the leap.
It is vital you think critically about why you want to pursue a new career. Is this really a time to change careers or is it simply a time to change jobs? There is a big difference. Take time to make a list of the things about your current position you don’t enjoy. It can be task-oriented as in your dislike making cold calls, talking to customers or starring at excel sheets or situation-oriented as in you don’t like sitting at a desk all day or you don’t care to work in an open office setting. This list will help you decide if a different job in the same field might suffice or if you need to work in a different industry all together.
If you have a new field in mind, start digging for information. For starters, are there opportunities available around you in the field? Are you willing to move for a new opportunity? Will the entry-level salary in this field support your lifestyle? These are things you need to find out before you make a switch. Moving from a corporate gig to a full-time musician might sound like a dream, but will you be able to afford your apartment? Find the facts by emailing, reading and calling people for more information. This research will save you a great deal of time and potential regret.
Evaluate your skill set
The truth of the matter is you might not have the skills you need for your new job. Making a career change might require going back to school, taking a night class or practicing your new craft on the weekends. I know many young professionals who work their 9-to-5 before heading to coach a basketball team or practice coding for hours after work to prepare themselves for a switch. Career changes aren’t easy. You’ll have to hustle to prove you can work in a new field, but if you’re serious about the change, you will roll up your sleeves and welcome this daily grind.
Big career changes are possible, but to make them successfully they demand attention and hard work. While you’re working on your switch, it’s important not to slack off in your current role. You never know when you might need a good recommendation or if you might want to switch back. Keep as many doors open ask you can, and walk through them when you know you’re ready.