Choosing or Changing Careers

Whether you’re new to the working world or have been working awhile but feel like you’re at a dead end and want to make a change, choosing a career can be overwhelming. Many will tell you to go for something high paying, while others will insist true success means finding a career that you love and find fulfilling.  Of course it’s possible to find a career that fills both, but it’s not always easy. So where do you begin?

First, sit down with paper and a pen (or at your computer if you prefer) and start making some lists. First list all of your interests, then list everything you don’t like about your current field (if you’re already employed) that is making you want to change it. If you’re new to working, list all the things you absolutely need from a job, then all the things you want, but can compromise on or do without. Then list all your skills and experience. These will help you figure out what fields would be a good fit for you.

Now it’s time to look for resources. A Google search will give you a variety of tests you can take to gauge your strengths, weaknesses and aptitude for different career fields. The book “What Color is Your Parachute?” is enormously helpful, and of course Google can help you research different jobs you’re interested in. If you’ve already explored these things and still feel stuck, consider specialized career consulting. Sitting and talking with a highly trained career counselor can really help you with your decision making. Talking to an objective third party is really beneficial.

If you’ve narrowed things down to two choices, one in a field you’re passionate about but that doesn’t traditionally pay well, and one in a well paying field you’re not passionate about but highly skilled/experienced in, it can be tough to make a decision. See if you can shadow someone in each field for a day or two to get a better idea of what each would be like. Then look at your finances. Do you have a supportive partner that is or is willing to become the breadwinner? Great! Go with the field you’re passionate about. If not, can you make compromises or comfortably cut back on/sacrifice some things to make the lower pay not much of an issue? Then go for the field you love.  If finances or other circumstances make it impossible to not chose the well-paying field, don’t despair. Find other ways to keep your passion alive. Volunteer, start your own side business, get a part-time job in the field-in otherwise do everything you can to stay active in that field and give yourself the outlet you need until you can make that jump! Good luck!