Questions you should ask yourself before making a career switch

Whether you’ve been sitting at a desk for ten years or you’ve just begun at an entry-level position, at some point you may ask yourself the question: am I on the right career path? When you start to recognize that feeling, ask yourself the following questions to determine if you should make a career shift.

Woman arranging papers on her desk

1. Why am I considering this?
Maybe the idea of a career switch just crept into your head. It could be a fleeting thought, but you should analyze the reasons why you're thinking about making a career switch. Assess whether or not this is something you really want, and ask yourself what is causing you to feel this way.

2. Am I giving up? Or can I use this problem as an opportunity to grow?
It could just be that you've been having a rough couple of weeks. If that's the case, work to rise above the situation. It could be a great learning opportunity for you to come back stronger than ever.

3. Am I having a problem with my company or the industry?
If you want to switch within your industry, do you have enough experience to acquire a similar position at another company? If your unhappiness persists, determine if it's due to your company. Maybe you don't feel like you're paid enough. Maybe, despite your best efforts, you don't get along with your coworkers – or boss - or you can't get on board with the company's ethics. If your issues remain unresolved, it might be time to consider moving to a different company.
If you are interested in leaving your current industry, give a great deal of thought to what type of industry you might thrive in. All careers have their ups and downs. Will you experience similar problems on this new career path? Think about the potential negatives of switching industries and compare them to your current one.

4. Do I have enough money saved?
There may be downtime between jobs, and you may suffer a drop in pay if you are less qualified for your new position. Consider that you'll be losing all the seniority that you had acquired at your old company. It's important that you're happy at work, but it's equally important that you're happy at home, which is largely dependent upon having the means to live a comfortable life.

5. Is this really what I want?
Even if the feeling has been gnawing at you for months, don't be rash. Make sure this isn't a feeling that will pass and that you can't fix it with small adjustments. Talk to your coworkers or supervisors and voice your concerns. If you think everything through thoroughly and are still unhappy at work, then perhaps a career shift is the right move for you.

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