There are only a lucky few who enter the workforce doing exactly what they want to do. For the rest of us, finding a fulfilling and balanced career can be a long and winding journey. Perhaps you are feeling apathetic about work, dread clocking in, need a higher salary, or just want a change of pace. Regardless of the reasons, it can be a daunting task to completely pivot your life. Here are some things to consider as you think about making a switch:
Do you need additional training?
Some careers have easily transferrable skills, but some can require months or years of additional training. This can mean anything from an online course to school applications and potentially years with little to no income. If the job you want to switch into requires special training, certification, or degrees, you should factor that into your budget and timeline and decide whether this is a feasible switch.
Are the benefits the same?
There are many tangible and intangible benefits to every job, and when considered together they can greatly impact your enjoyment and work-life balance. For example, does your current job offer you work from home or a company car that you need? Will that be the same with your new career? Does your current job offer full benefits, like health insurance, vision, and life insurance? If you switch careers, will you need to consider alternatives or get your own benefits? These are all important things to weigh when considering a switch.
How does the salary match up?
This will always be one of the most important questions to consider when switching jobs or careers—your salary is one of the main things that dictates your lifestyle. When comparing the salary ranges of your current career with the job you hope to switch to, remember to include every dollar that you are/would be given (including any bonuses, stipends, 401(k) match, and promised raises) as well as any money the jobs would save you (such as commuting costs). If the career you hope to switch to requires you to start at a lower salary, assess your budget to make sure the income is still a level you are comfortable with.
What does the work-life balance look like?
As we age, work-life balance becomes increasingly important. This is one of those intangible elements that can make or break a job. If you are currently working late into the evening and this switch would give you more personal time, then this might be the right move! However, if you think changing careers would mean working longer hours and sacrificing your life in other areas, consider whether that’s a change you are ready for.
What about company culture?
Every person thrives in a different working environment. Would you rather be part of a small and collaborative team? Do you think you would excel working by yourself? Is a giant office with a ping pong table and a cereal room something you have always dreamed of? Knowing the lifestyle and culture that a company or career is likely to provide can be essential in understanding whether you could enjoyably and sustainably work there.