By Joseph Gonzalez
Your job should be something you enjoy. If you’re someone that works full-time, 40 hours a week, it’s not ideal or healthy to be looking at the clock every 5 minutes, constantly wondering when it’s 5 p.m. Unfortunately, this seems to be reality for a lot of people. According to a Gallup world poll, only 15% of people worldwide feel “engaged” at their job. If you’re one of the many people that feel either unhappy or dissatisfied with work, and you’ve exhausted the possibilities within your current employment, perhaps it’s time to consider the first steps of a career change. The paradigm is shifting, and while it was once considered career suicide to shift jobs midway through your journey, today that’s no longer the case. With the right plan, the right choices, and a lot of self-awareness, it’s never too late to change your narrative and find a successful career shift that really works for you.
Why make a career shift?
Many people I know had a bit of an existential crisis in their early-mid 20s. You feel like you’re supposed to have a job in your field, and you have everything figured out as soon as possible. This is rarely ever the case. As someone who graduated from college five years ago, I still feel like there’s many parts in life that I can improve on. And that’s ok!
Life is about blooming when you need to, and discovering when a cleanse of any kind is needed. It’s never too late to change your own circumstances for the better, and a good place to start would be finding a job that works for you if you’re not satisfied with your current one.
Personally, I was one of those people that felt like they weren’t being appreciated at work. After months of self-doubt, I finally took it upon myself to find another job. The interviewing process wasn’t easy, but through it all I was able to find a different job, one that leaves me fulfilled every day. Something that I thought wasn’t possible before is now a reality for me.
Journalist and The Daily Key publisher, Danielle Rose, has had plenty of experience when it comes to career changes. “My biggest career goal has always been to be happy in my work,” Danielle said. “ Life changes are a form of education in so many ways. If they are aligned with your happiness and larger life goals, they can only benefit your career journey.”
Take a chance: The first steps of a career change
If you feel like your job doesn’t appreciate you, you’re not alone. Among the many reasons why people quit their jobs, Pew Research reported that in 2021, over 60% of Americans cited both “low pay” and “no opportunities for advancement”’ as reasons as to why they quit their jobs. It’s pretty common for people to feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick.
Is it taking a risk to leave a job where you feel secure? Absolutely, especially if you have kids, mortgage payments, all of that stuff. But think of it this way: your job affects almost every aspect of your life, so wouldn’t you want a better future for you and your family?
“Consider things you have no control over: what if you hate your new coworkers? Will you still be glad you took the job?” Danielle said. “List your priorities and ensure that the change is in alignment with them.”
Your action plan for career change
Life is messy, and so is finding happiness and success. Luckily, there are resources out there to help you discover your evolving career path. Danielle suggests that the first steps of a career change could be as simple as making a list, or talking to someone. She suggests reaching out to your professional support team, as well as brainstorming or sharing your feelings with others you trust. Let them be a sounding board to help you determine if the shift is something in alignment with your happiness and greater life goals.
Be careful, however, because big life changes are scary, and therefore often come with much resistance, especially from those who love us most. Feeling confident in who you are and what makes you happy will go a long way toward making the right choices for our dreams.
For example, do you want to spend your retirement years sailing the world? Then a career shift that gets you on a boat can grant you education and contacts that might be more valuable than the pay or perks at your current position. Use your pros and cons list to help weigh the long term benefit of this career change. Look into the cost of classes to achieve your dream, and factor in driving time and time off, plus any added expenses. A lower paying job may not only provide everything you need without added cost, but offer the same pay and perks as your current job in a few short years.
Danielle offers another option for those needing to take it slow. She teaches how to research your passions, and then write about them in an informed and professional way. By reading and writing about what you love, and then properly posting the information you’ve gathered, can actually help others, including potential employers (or clients for those seeking to work for themselves), see you as an expert in your new chosen field. This opens up many career options that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without going back to school or embarking on a new educational path, including a career shift that doesn’t start you at entry level.
If you believe in yourself, you can do anything you want. If you feel like finding a different job is the key to improving your life, then go for it. It’s always better to take that chance than wonder what could’ve been.