Changing careers can be a uniquely stressful yet rewarding pursuit. Many people stay in jobs where they are unhappy or unfulfilled because the process of changing a career can be so difficult. Becoming invested in a new career may require the time and expense of retraining as well as spending a few years of your free time preparing to change jobs.
While it may be problematic for some employees, a career change can be an important step toward independence and increased self-worth. Medghyne Calonge, a human resources expert from Tampa, FL, examines the reasons why people change careers. She also shares the many benefits and challenges of transitioning between careers.
Reasons to Change Careers
Many people consider changing careers because they are not fulfilled in their current positions. They may believe that their talents are being underutilized by their current employers. People often believe that they do not have enough free time to spend with their friends and family, especially when this time is unpaid or falls outside standard working hours.
Oftentimes, people are looking for jobs with better advancement potential. They may feel that they have maxed out the amount of upward mobility in one position due to the unavailability of training or the hierarchical structure of their workplace.
Some people are bored by their daily routine and need a change of scenery. This type of pressure can sometimes be relieved by a lateral move within the same industry, but many employees become restless and believe that they have a chance to start over in a new sector.
Financial concerns probably take first place when it comes to employees’ reasons to change careers. Many employees who have worked in one place for a long time feel that they have not received fair and equitable raises and are not being paid what they are worth as individuals. Moving to a better-compensated field can be the best course of action for these employees.
Benefits of Changing Careers
People who change careers often experience higher levels of financial rewards. They may work in jobs that have better hours and benefits than the jobs they left behind in their former careers.
Personal fulfillment may be higher in a new career. For example, if a person who was previously employed as a teacher is highly interested in the field of law, they may feel constricted and bored by their job. When they switch to a new career in law, they may find that they are happier both on the job and in their free time.
In addition to this personal fulfillment, a new career can put you in a position where your mental health can improve. Things like better pay, better hours and a more welcoming and encouraging work environment have been directly associated with positive mental health. This type of work environment can also lead to better sleep and a more healthy and balanced diet, which are also important for maintaining positive mental health.
New jobs can be associated with mental challenges. Many people flourish when they are presented with problems to solve. This can make the difference between thinking of their work as a simple job and thinking of it as a career. Furthermore, as you continue to learn and grow your skill set, your career earning potential will increase. In fact, those who are willing to change their position often earn more money than those that remain in the same position for multiple years.
Meeting new people can be a benefit of changing careers. Expanding an employee’s network can be a significant benefit of changing careers. They may be able to call on their professional networks to find new employment or references.
Challenges of Changing Careers
One of the biggest challenges that can get in the way of changing careers is the educational gap that must be bridged. Some industries require a significant investment of time or money before an employee can even apply for a job in a certain field. Some examples of these industries include medicine, law and education. Before investing in an extended college education, employees may want to take entry-level jobs in these professions, like certified nurses’ aides and paralegals.
Another challenge may be that entry-level positions in the new career pay less than the job being left behind. Starting over at the bottom of the work ladder can mean that an employee needs to go through the processes of gradual advancement and incremental pay increases all over again. This is especially true if a person does not have management experience or an advanced degree in the field.
Simply learning the ropes of the new job can be challenging as well. It is a good idea to fully research all of a new job’s requirements before starting that job. This can be accomplished by speaking directly to the prospective employer or asking current employees what their jobs entail. Every workplace has its standards and routines, and it may take time to feel comfortable.
Workplace culture can differ significantly between careers. Some careers like the law can be more competitive and less collaborative than others. Not everyone is cut out for a job that does not mesh with their personality and skills.
Changing Careers and Experiencing Success
Changing careers can be a fulfilling pursuit. Medghyne Calonge understands that you may be feeling constrained in your job and that you may need a change for your well-being.
If you feel that it is a good time to change careers, Medghyne Calonge recommends doing your due diligence in researching new opportunities. Become familiar with the type of education and training needed to advance in the new field. Find out what the pay, benefits, and culture will be like in your new career, and most importantly make sure that it is a decision that you will be happy with for overall growth and success.