There’s a difference between changing jobs and making a career change. A job change is simply the act of changing employers for reasons such as better advancement potential, more money or a chance to work closer to home, among other things, while remaining in the same profession. A career change is defined as a transition to a different profession and changing the type of work you do. An example would be entering the training profession or academia after having a technical or managerial career.
Many people consider making a career change when they should actually be asking themselves why they wish to change and whether they are actually just considering a simple change of job. So before you consider a radical career change, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.
The first, and most important question to ask is “am I unhappy with my job or company, but not the type of work I am doing?” In other words is it the job or is it the company? This is important because it’s possible that you could simply be having an emotional response to a negative employment situation (or even experiencing frustration with a protracted job search). In this case, you might want to first consider how to address the issues with your employer or manager because there could be an internal solution. Career managers have seen this scenario many times, with the solution being a better alignment internally for the individual.
Indeed, many people initially seeking career support services for a career change confess that they are actually quite happy with the work they are doing, it’s just that they are no longer challenged, they may work in a poorly communicating company or they may have simply outgrown the role. In this case, having exhausted the internal possibilities, they should then focus on where to better align their interests, skills and values, identifying those companies of interest by first researching and then gaining a better understanding of their organisational dynamics and HR expectations through networking. This is an activity that takes time and requires skill and practice. I emphasise the word time!
So the second question then becomes “are my goals for transition realistic?” This is important because often people want to make a significant change, but they’re limited by an inability to put the necessary time into research, networking activities and job interviews. It is important to set realistic goals for a career change, which can take 6 months, or longer. If you’re planning a career change and expect things to happen within a few weeks you might be sadly mistaken. And it’s important to ascertain what the market for a different profession requires in terms of qualifications and experience, as some career changes are unattainable.
Another consideration is “am I able to take a considerable step back with remuneration and if so, how much?” Too often we see people attempting to replicate their salaries when changing careers, only to learn they may need to forfeit tens of thousands of dollars, making their career change unrealistic. It’s better to understand this issue beforehand.
So before you make that career move consider the above questions and scenarios and by all means, seek the advice of others!
Posted by Scott Spaulding
If you find yourself in the wrong job, or simply want a career “health check”, contact Bravo Consulting for more information about how we can help you make that all-important career move.