In today’s professional environment, it is hardly possible to imagine a person working in the same company from graduation to retirement — which often used to be the case in the last century. And it’s not about job security or market fluctuations. The employment world is changing quite rapidly these days, offering new career opportunities and increased chances for professional development.
In fact, it is becoming increasingly common to change not only employers but entire careers, starting from scratch in brand-new industries. There can be plenty of reasons for a career change, and as a rule, monetary compensation is not the main driving factor for this. So, if you feel stuck in your current job, this article is for you. We will go through the main reasons to consider a drastic career change and offer some tips to ensure that your transition, should you decide to take this dive, goes as smoothly as possible.
Reasons to change jobs or start new careers
Personal & professional growth
Some careers simply have no room for any personal or professional advancement — they are the end of the line. This is one of the most dangerous professional situations people can find themselves in because such jobs always end up in emotional fatigue and burning out. Obviously, this affects both life and work quality. So if you already feel trapped in your job, with no possibility of any professional improvement in the future, it is the right time to abandon that sinking ship.
Flexibility in work-life balance
Another common problem that forces many expert professionals to consider a career change is an unhealthy work-life balance. For many people, there comes the point in life, when it is important to dedicate more time to themselves and their loved ones. Whether it is a family change or another personal reason — there is no shame in this. We are all people, and we do not work on enthusiasm alone. So, if your job leaves no time for living a life, it is wise to consider changing this job.
Generally, drastic market changes do not happen overnight, but experienced professionals can usually predict them years before an important shift happens. If you feel that your current profession will soon start declining and have some idea of which opportunities will be in-demand when this happens, it is definitely the right time to start working on the escape route.
On the other hand, not everyone can safely predict changing market demands. But since such shifts are never instant, you can invest some free time in the research of the most popular careers and analyze current market fluctuations to make an informed decision based on facts. Generally, if you see that the demand for a particular job is growing, you can expect the tendency to last for a few years. But the more people figure it out, the fiercer the completion grows, which is why the pioneers of any trend always have it easier than the followers.
Management & environment
Another common reason why many people change careers — sometimes rather drastically — is that they are simply not happy with their current work environment. If faulty management in any given company is the cause, merely changing the employer solves this issue. But often, it is not about incompetent management — it is about industry specifics. In some professional areas, there is too much competition from within the company, too much gossip, too much stress, or some other negative factors that lead to emotional burning out.
Let’s be honest — we all like to be recognized for our efforts. But it is not always possible with some jobs and industries — for example when working in outsourcing development companies or major content creation (video, visuals, texts — it doesn’t matter) mills. If you are tired of being a nameless bee and are looking for some public approval of your professional efforts, it’s quite alright to consider a career change.
Yes, we have mentioned that money is not always the driving factor, but sometimes it is just that. If this is your case, keep in mind that a major career change may not even be necessary in this case — often, finding a new employer or a slightly different market segment is enough to get that increase in payment. In some other cases, a more drastic change is required — especially so if this final reason on our list coincides with a few other incentives listed above.
How to ensure a smooth career change
Consider opportunities related to your current profession
Often, the best career change is a change that has at least some connection to your current job. In fact, many people go through such career changes quite naturally as they explore new professional growth opportunities. The easiest practical example here is to go from doing something to teaching how this could be done and vice versa. In this case, you get to change your job environment and daily skill set, but you do not need a brand new degree in another major. However, teaching is obviously not for everyone, and there are plenty of other options that follow the same logic. For example, an industrial architect can easily become a civil landscape designer.
Carefully analyze your reasons for quitting
Before you venture on a drastic career change, carefully analyze your reasons for doing so. In many cases, an extended vacation or a sabbatical can prove a better answer to your professional fatigue. Note, nobody encourages you not to change careers, but before you do, you need to honestly decide for yourself what pushes you to this decision. This answer, as long as it’s 100% honest, will also increase your chances of finding a fulfilling job in another industry.
Follow your heart whenever possible
This sounds like a no-brainer, but sadly, too many people ignore their inclinations for the sake of profit or seeming stability. In practice, today’s business environment has room for all sorts of occupations — from organic farming in far-away countries to making craft jewelry and selling it online. If you are already sick and tired of what you are doing right now, why not take a step back and ask yourself — what is that I always dreamed of doing?
Consider available prospects objectively
Dreams and enthusiasm are great, of course, but you still should keep your feet on the ground. It’s very important to objectively analyze your employment opportunities — and this cannot be done without researching the market. Resources like SignalHire can prove incredibly helpful here as they research in their blog the demand in the labor market, giving an unprejudiced picture of in-demand jobs across multiple industries. You can also consider Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter.
State your reasons for change openly
By the time you decide which career you would like to pursue and start going to new job interviews, be prepared to explain your reasons for quitting your previous profession. The best word of advice here would be to give an honest and straightforward answer because most experienced recruiters can spot a blatant lie. Remember, whatever your reasons for a career change were — you are probably not the first person driven by these motives, and you will unlikely become the last. Besides, being open with a prospective employer boosts your chances of getting hired by a company that fits your mindset, which is already halfway to professional fulfillment.
No doubt, starting a new career from scratch can be very intimidating — especially when you’ve spent many years in a different market segment. On the other hand, postponing this decision until you cannot bear the job you have any longer is not the wisest strategy either. If you already notice some red career-change flags from our list, it’s very unlikely that the situation will magically improve without you doing something about it. And the longer you wait, the harder your career change gets. In other words, it is sometimes wiser to rip that bandaid away and start exploring new, more promising career opportunities before your burn out at your unfulfilling job.