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Should you change careers

Updated on November 21, 2009

Pros and cons of changing careers

 You've been working in the same job for a number of years.  You may work in a profession such as teaching, or you might work in a minimum wage job.  Until now you carried on going to work coming home, waiting for the wage slip at the end of the month.  Month after month, year after year.  Then the moment comes.  You wonder whether this is it.  Will you still be doing the same work until you retire or die!  Too many times I've seen the latter happen, especially in my former career as a teacher.  Many people wonder if they should stay in work that does not meet their expectations but never get any further than just wonder.  If this sounds like you then ponder over the next few points. 

I've come up with the main reasons for and against changing careers.  These are as follows:

Main reasons for changing careers:

1.  Do you get that Sunday night feeling?  All you can do is think about Monday morning.  Normally such feeling of dread stops you sleeping properly through the night.

2.  Do you feel unchallenged or bored by your work?

3.  Do you have a bully boss?  Bullying can range from being shouted at, to more covert forms of bullying such as persistent nit-picking, you can never do anything right, being left out of social groupings etc (the covert bullying is more common among female employees).

4. Have you reached the point where promotions are drying up or you have not had any promotions (ever).

5. You feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.  Some work places are just wrong for some people, however you will have to decide if it is the work place or type of work that is wrong.

6.  You don't get paid enough.  Some types of work expect you to bend over backwards for them but in return they do not reward you financially.

7.  Do you yearn to be somewhere else when you are at work?  Do you wish you could earn money from a craft, hobby, wish you were back at college or even travelling the world?  You could rediscover your creative side or even learn new skills if you changed careers.

8.  You spend most staff meetings daydreaming/thinking about what you were are having for tea later etc (I've done this one alot over the years!).

9.  The job you are doing is too stressful.  You seem to spend most of the year feeling run down with a permanent cold.  You might suffer IBS or high blood pressure.  This is your body telling you to slow down or get out.

Main reasons for not changing careers:

1.  Finances.  Have you got a mortgage, children, credit commitments?  Have you got a partner who can support you when you are not working?

2.   Stability.  In the difficult economic position we are in at the moment, can you afford to take the gamble and leave your possibly secure job for almost certain insecurity?

3.  The bank manager will most likely not be your friend if you stop working.

4.  You almost always will find (unless you are very lucky) that any new career will start at a lower rate of pay than the one you left.  You will have to make lifestyle changes, at least to begin with.

5.  If you wish to change to a completely different career, you will have to retrain.  Most courses will cost you thousands.  Can you afford it?


The above points are not a comprehensive list, but instead what I believe to be the main pros and cons for changing careers.  A career change is a scary thing, which is why most people talk about being unfilled in their work yet do nothing about it.  However, it isn't easy to change either.  The best advice I can give to anyone contemplating a career change is to plan early.  Look into going part time, if your employer will let you or finding out about educational funding for retraining etc.  My belief is 'Where there's a will, there's a way'.


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