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Things to consider before making a career change

When men and women find themselves out of work or dissatisfied with their employment, changing careers represents greener pastures and a new beginning. Many people who have successfully changed careers admit the change did them good. But individuals considering a career change should consider a variety of factors before making such a significant decision.

Finances
Those with significant financial flexibility may not need to weigh finances too heavily when considering a career change. Most people, however, need to determine if they can afford a career change. Men and women with considerable professional experience might find that their past experiences don't translate to their new desired field of work. In such instances, people should expect to take substantial pay cuts. Those who can afford pay cuts might seamlessly transition to a new career, while those who can't afford to earn less money may find themselves deeply regretting their decisions. Potential earnings should not be the only factor to consider, but don't ignore certain financial realities, either.

Career or Company?
A person unhappy with his or her current position might mistake feelings about the company with feelings about the career field itself. If you like your work but feel held back by your company, then you might be better suited to finding new employment within your field instead of switching fields entirely. Thanks to an economy that has struggled considerably over the last half decade, many companies have asked more of their existing employees, leading to employee burnout and dissatisfaction. If your dissatisfaction stems more from the company, be it minimal advancement opportunities or lack of employee appreciation than from your actual work, then you likely don't need to change careers but merely companies.

Prospects
Career prospects are another thing to consider before making a career change. The job market has not fully recovered from the recession that began in 2007, and many experienced professionals have been out of work for several years. If your desired field of work is not thriving, then your prospects of finding gainful, rewarding employment might be rather slim. Of course, the economy can still recover down the road and that recovery might open up a wealth of attractive opportunities. But switching careers to a field of work that is struggling financially might not be worth the gamble.

Qualifications
It's important to consider the necessary qualifications before changing careers. Some careers only require experience, and your experience in your current field might easily translate into a new line of work. Other careers, however, might have certain requirements with regard to education. In such instances, you might have to go back to school. Your willingness to learn new skills and possibly return to school should weigh heavily in your decision to change careers or to stay put.
The decision to change careers is one that individuals make every day. But before that decision is reached, a careful consideration of a host of factors is necessary to ensure the decision is the right one.

---Metro Creative Connection