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beautiful woman at home writing and workingI recently received an email from a reader asking me for advice on if she should take the leap and change careers. It got me thinking about the issue and I wanted to share my thoughts for all of you.

If you’re unhappy in your job and you’re thinking about changing careers, it can be really scary and it’s something that takes a lot of consideration. It’s a good idea to weigh up all the pros and cons and seek advice from others (particularly third parties who don’t have much of a stake in the situation).

Time Spent In The Current Job
I think, depending on how far into your career you are, the decision should be viewed in different ways.

If you’re in the first year or two of your job and you’re not really liking it, then there’s not much that’s really going to change that. If it’s so early on, you need to consider what it’s going to be like when the job gets more stressful and when you’ve got longer hours – will you really want to put that extra mileage in?

Making a career change so far into a job (like 10 years) would be tough, mainly because you’ve generally got to start from the bottom of the ladder in a new industry – it’s only fair that you start with the foundations right? I recently had a 40 year old woman under me as a junior starting out in PR because she changed careers! But kudos to her, she did it and she enjoyed it.

Learning New Things
You need to back yourself that you’ll be able to ‘catch up’ in a new industry and that you’ll be able to learn a whole new set of processes – many from scratch. Skills can be taught, it’s how you tackle them that makes the difference. Plus, if the new job is the right fit, then you’ll probably enjoy that learning course.

If you’re being put off the change because you know you’re going to take a pay cut, consider this: a higher salary will only supplement your happiness for so long. Long term happiness from a career path is much more sustainable – and that happiness will make you work harder, take on more challenges and help you flourish more in your career overall.

Saying Goodbye To Good Contacts
This isn’t something to stop you from moving into a new industry. You never know how your current contacts will cross over into a future job and you can network in any industry and build up a new base of connections.

Worried What Your Boss Will Think
Worrying over disappointing your current boss is something you can’t get too hung up over – it’s good that you care, but if you approach it well, they should be understanding. I think to leave on a good note with your employers you can only be honest and thankful, let them know you really appreciate the opportunities they gave you but it’s just not the right fit for you. Try to be straight up and they should respect that.

Is Change Right For You?
Do keep in mind that you might just be having a “grass is always greener on the other side” attitude. Don’t convince yourself that all your issues will disappear with a shiny new job in a new industry – work is called ‘work’ for a reason. You’ll have to apply yourself just the same, if not more, and put in the hard work.

Have you ever changed careers? Please tell me about your experience in the comments below!

If you’ve got a topic or issue you’d like me to address, please get in touch

Laura is the Founder & Editor of The Workher. She is an award winning Public Relations professional, who loves blogging about surviving and thriving in the workplace as a young woman.

8 comments on “Changing Career Paths”

    • Hi Fiona, you could always explore new ideas by speaking to people in other industries and see where that leads? Also chatting with recruitment agents can help (if you haven’t done so already). Thanks for your comment

  1. I have changed jobs several times and I’m only 25! I have worked in marketing, then life insurance and now teaching! It has all been an interesting journey and I have learnt a lot along the way.

    • I hope you’ve now found what you’re passionate about – sometimes it does take a journey doesn’t it. But the interesting thing can be drawing on and applying experiences from past roles to your new job, things can sometimes surprisingly cross over! Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks Laura! All great advice, and it’s definitely helped me think things through. For me, in the end it came down to gut instincts. And particularly in regards to salary – you can’t put a price on happiness from job satisfaction 🙂

    • So pleased to hear it Francie! You can only weigh up the pros and cons for so long right, then gut instinct should over-ride the decision

  3. I’m not a young working woman but, as someone who returned to work in her late 30s when her youngest child started school, I do understand what it’s like to change direction (several times). I think the best attitude we can have is one of flexibility and a willingness to learn and reskill whatever situation we’re in. The working world is changing so rapidly that the career we think we sign up for when we start out may not be at all the same years later.

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