9 Signs That a Career Change Will Pay Off
by Elizabeth Aldrich | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Sept. 23, 2019
If you're feeling unfulfilled in your current line of work, maybe it's time to make the jump to something new.
The decision to change careers can be both exciting and terrifying. Most career changes require upfront costs, and you might be risking a salary decrease if you're starting out in a new field. Your new role might requires you to earn a second degree, invest in a training course, start out in an entry-level position, or even spend some time as an intern in order to boost your qualifications. You might have to save up money before taking the leap, too.
However, many people find themselves longing for something new despite the hurdles. Perhaps you feel unfulfilled in your current role, are stuck in a job that doesn't pay well, or want to finally go after your dream career. If you're on the fence about making a career change, here are some indicators that your desired career will lead to not only more fulfilling work but also higher pay in the long run.
1. You're passionate about your new career
Passion doesn't always translate to wealth but it can certainly help when pursuing a new career. If you're deeply interested in and passionate about the new role you're considering, you're more likely to work hard and aim for promotions that will lead to more success and higher pay.
2. You have the natural skills for it
You can't expect to be wildly talented without developing your skills through real-world experience. However, if you already have some abilities that lend themselves to the career you're considering, you'll begin with a great foundation that you can build upon with training and learning on the job.
3. Your new career comes with a high mid-career salary
Entry-level salaries aren't always telling of what you'll actually make once you possess the necessary training and experience. Look at mid-career salaries to gauge where you'll be financially five or 10 years from now. If you can realistically make a significantly higher income in the long run, your career change may be worth accepting lower pay in the beginning.
4. You're underpaid or underemployed in your current career
If you aren't hitting your income goals and can't negotiate a raise, a career change might be the answer. Oftentimes, people hit a salary ceiling when they've been in the same field for a while. Others are stuck in a field that doesn't pay well or is declining in demand. Whatever the case, if you find your income level isn't where you want it to be, it's time to make a change. Picking up a new skill and switching to a more lucrative field might help you get paid what you're worth.
5. You're constantly stressed out or suffering from mental health issues because of your current career
No amount of money is worth sacrificing your health. If you consistently feel like you're emotionally running on empty due to your job, a career change can help open doors to a healthier work-life balance. Plus, it's hard to do your best work when you're stressed and exhausted. Switching to a career that allows you to prioritize your own health can help you achieve more success in both your personal and professional life.
6. You won't need to invest a lot of money to switch career paths
Investing in yourself is important in all aspects of life. If you need to spend some money up front to learn a valuable skill, that's often one of the best investments you can make. However, you need to draw a line when making this type of financial decision.
7. Demand for your new career is consistent
Make sure the skills you'd be learning in your new career are in demand and will likely continue to be for years to come. You don't want to move forward with this potentially life-changing decision only to be underpaid and underemployed again in a few years. However, if you move into a field that's experiencing worker shortages, you can expect to have a much easier time moving up the ladder quickly, even if you're starting from scratch.
8. You have connections in your new career who can help you get your foot in the door
Having the right connections can help you break into your new field faster and put you on the fast track to promotions. Let those connections show you the ropes so that you aren't starting from scratch. They can also serve as mentors throughout your journey. Just be sure to pay it forward by helping out someone who's new once you're established.
9. You're certain this new career is what you want
Plenty of jobs appear to be glamorous and rewarding from the outside, but it's hard to get a sense of what a job is really like until you've actually done it. Don't jump into a new career -- no matter how lucrative -- until you've taken some steps to make sure it's what you really want long term. To get a better understanding of your new career, arrange to job-shadow or interview people who are currently in the position you want. You can also test the waters by taking a class in your field of interest or volunteering with a related organization.
Making a career change can be scary, but it can also be very rewarding in many ways. If you identify with the majority of these scenarios, you can feel confident that your desired career pivot is the best decision for you.
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