Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Career Move

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Thinking about switching careers? You’re not alone. Sometimes these thoughts can trickle in when you’re not happy with your job or sometimes you just want to see what else is out there. According to a worldwide poll conducted by Gallup regarding job satisfaction, only 13% of workers surveyed feel “engaged” in their jobs. The other 86% were “not passionate with what they do” (Source: Gallup).

Most of the time, employees who are unhappy in their roles look at moving on. However, even if you are happy in a stable job, you may still think about making a career move. Wanting change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Switching Careers

Before you make any life-changing decisions, you might want to ask yourself eight important questions when deciding your next major move.

1. Is this the right career for me?
The first question you need to ask yourself is if your current career is right for you. It might be a good idea to make a pros and cons list or simply take some time to reflect on your career and whether you are ready to move on from it. It’s important to think these things through because you need to make sure you’re not just feeling “stuck.” It might be a case in which you actually love the career you have chosen but need to find projects that are more challenging and fulfilling. However, if you truly feel that you are not growing any more or that you have maxed out on opportunities and pay, then a career shift might be the right choice for you.

2. Am I willing to learn?
Every career comes with different opportunities and challenges. Certain careers require you to take certifications or specific training courses to get into the field. Some careers may require you to start from the bottom and work your way to the top. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to learn and take the necessary steps to pursue another direction. Keep in mind that it might take you longer to get to where you want to be and you need to make sure it’s worth it in the long run to make the change.

3. What opportunities align with my values?
You might be getting a lot of opportunities that look exciting to you. The first step in evaluating these opportunities is to figure out if they align with your values. Is this new career or job something that “fits” with your personal goals? When pursuing a career, many individuals feel satisfied knowing that their career truly aligns with what they want out of life. The pay might be fantastic, or the projects might be appealing, but it’s important to understand if the career path is true to you.

4. What are the obstacles when transitioning to another career?
Besides having to look at necessary courses or certification requirements, you need to consider some other challenges of transitioning into another career. This could be whether you are financially able to do so or whether you’ll have to give up certain perks you enjoy in your current role. Additionally, it is important to communicate with your family and loved ones to get their support if a career move will impact them in terms of your schedule and availability or financially.

5. Can I afford to make a career move?
Jumping off the last point, making sure you are financially secure to make a career change is important. Sometimes, switching careers may require you to take a lower paying position, reduced perks or even move to a location with a higher cost of living. You need to evaluate and make sure that if you make this move, you will still be able to support yourself (and family if needed) and that you won’t be struggling in the long run.

6. What lifestyle do I choose?
Work-life balance is extremely important to most people and, depending on your career, you might have more time for one than the other. What kind of lifestyle do you want to live and how will this new career impact it? Additionally, will you be able to take time off or will this new career keep you more (or less) busy than you prefer? Issues such as work from home opportunities, commute time, and the flexibility of the new career are other important factors you need to consider.

7. What are the talents and skills that I bring to the table?
Choosing a career comes with figuring out the skills and talents you possess. Therefore, as you figure out a new career path, it’s a good idea to lay out all your skill sets and see what potential roles and opportunities are out there for you to consider. We all have natural abilities in certain areas, so it’s a good idea to lean towards roles that will only help you grow and enhance your skill set rather than something you don’t enjoy.

8. Is this career going to help me achieve my long-term goals?
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether your new career is going to help you achieve your long-term professional goals. Map out what your 5 to 10-year goals are to see where you want to be. Figure out why you are making a career switch in the first place. Is this new career going to help you achieve your goals in the short term and long term?

Are You Ready to Switch Careers?

No matter where you are in your career, making a move is always going to be a tough decision. However, when you realize your passions and understand what you want to spend your life doing – whether it’s pursuing your hobbies, enhancing your talents, or making more money – you will be more motivated to find the role that is the right fit for you.