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Career Change: When, Why, and How?

Steve Jobs once said that “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle!”

Now, how many of us have settled for a job because it’s in the same field we studied in college, because it is what we’ve been doing for so long, or simply because the pay is well?

Probably a lot. We usually settle for a job where we get stuck in a comfort zone of our own creation, too scared to look beyond the boundaries we have put for ourselves.

Feeling drained, uninspired, and frustrated at a career is no way to live. Yet, the other option can be too scary to many people, understandably so. To change career is no easy feat; to abandon everything you have reached in a certain career and start from scratch somewhere else, in a new career.

Change is usually scary; leaving the comfort of the “Known” to step into the discomfort of the “Unknown” is not to be taken lightly. But if you feel like you can no longer continue in your current career choice, that there is something more out there, new fields to discover, and hidden passions to uncover, then don’t settle for what you have and where you are now. Keep looking till you find what you are meant to be doing.

People have been making career changes for centuries now. After being in the same career for 5, 10, 15, and in some cases for more than 20 years, people have just stopped what they were doing, evaluated their positions and considered their options, and made the decision to start over.

But, when should you make the decision to change your career?

Your reason to change your career can be something as simple as feeling like what you’re doing isn’t enough, isn’t satisfying anymore, and that there has to be more to be done out there.

However, there are many other reasons for you to determine if this is the time to make a career change; such as:

Was your career really your choice?

In other words, many people just fall into a career because it’s the family business, or because a friend or a relative helped them get started in it, or because they have a particular skill that helped them succeed in a certain career but they can’t see themselves doing the same thing for the rest of their lives.

If this was how you got into your career, through pure chance and not something that you worked hard for and pursued, and many years later you feel like you can’t do it anymore, then this might be the time to think of a career change.

Uncovering Hidden Passions

There is something in particular that you have enjoyed doing while growing up, a workshop that you attended, an old friend you met, a new friend you made, a trip you went on, a book you read, and on and on. All of these life experiences can inspire you to find something you love more than your current career; something else that you want to do.

If this has happened to you, then it is quite alright to re-evaluate where you stand now and to make the decision to discover your newfound passions.

There are many other reasons that can spark the decision of changing your career, a reason that is unique and special to each and every person on their own.

Such a decision is not easy and is never immediate; so, it is important to know that there is nothing wrong with stepping out of your comfort zone; with taking risks and creating change.

Moreover, there are other important factors to consider before changing careers, because, and like anything else, such an action has advantages and disadvantages.

The many advantages of a career change include:

• Tapping into all your skills and talents to make this change a successful one, and being able to use these skills and talents in your new career choice as you’ll probably be more engaged in it, eager to learn more, and do more.

• Discovering new fields and new skills; thus, gaining new expertise for even more job opportunities.

• Flexibility and adaptability to change, something your employees and/or employers will definitely love about you.

• Meeting new people, and expanding your career networks.

On the other hand, career changes come with their own disadvantages as well:

• Changing your career more than once can have a negative impact on your career.

People may see you as unable to stay in one career for too long, which they might find to be unreliable.

• It may also show that you are still uncertain about the career path you want to take, which might be a concern to many employees.

• Going through a career change means that you will start all over again, from scratch. So, you will need to be prepared that you will most likely start your new career from the beginning, and will have to move up the career ladder all over again, just like before.

In the end, know that the decision to make a career change is not an easy one; it is the first step on a long and hard road that might or might not lead you to do what you love and want to do.

Don’t make such a decision lightly; always evaluate where you are now, why you want to leave, and what you will do after that, before taking any steps.

Passion and motivation are two of the most important things that keep us going through work and life; so, if you feel like you lost one or both of them, then keep looking for what gives them back to you, don’t settle, and make a change.

Written by Yasmine Mokhtar

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