Should You Switch Careers in 2022?

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Is it time to jump ship and explore new job opportunities?

Key points

  • A career change could have a positive impact on your wellbeing and finances.
  • But it's important to switch careers at the right time.

Some people stick with the same career their entire lives. Others mix things up, either because they want to keep work interesting or because they realize they've chosen the wrong field in the first place.

No matter which camp you're in, you may be contemplating a career change in the coming year. To know if you're ready, ask yourself these four questions.

1. Do I know what new career I want to try?

If you're unhappy with your current career path, you may be willing to do just about anything to escape it. But before you rush into the first opportunity that presents itself, ask yourself what it is you actually want to do. If you're not sure, you may want to wait to make a move.

If you hop from industry to industry, it could reflect poorly on you when potential employers look at your resume. Instead, research different fields. Talk to the people you know in various industries and aim to get a sense of what different ones entail. Also, do a little soul searching. Figure out what sort of job you have the potential to be passionate about if your current one doesn't fit the bill.

2. Do I have enough money in savings to support a potential pay cut?

Switching careers often means having to start at the bottom again. That doesn't just mean going from senior associate to junior associate or assistant. It could also mean seeing your paycheck drop substantially. Before you embark on a career change, you'll need to make sure you can handle one financially.

To this end, assess your savings account balance. If you have a solid amount of money socked away, you may be able to manage a pay cut for a while -- even a substantial one. But if you have little to no money in the bank, you may want to build up a cushion so that if your career switch results in a pay cut, you're not forced into debt.

3. Am I expecting any major life changes?

Changing careers can be exciting but stressful. If you're expecting to undergo other big changes in 2022, it could pay to put that switch on hold.

Imagine you're planning to have a baby in the new year. Do you want to be learning the ropes in a brand new field while also running on minimal sleep caring for a newborn? There's something to be said for the stability of the job you know when other aspects of your life need to settle down.

4. Am I planning to buy a home next year?

Qualifying for a mortgage can be more difficult when you change careers, so if you're planning to buy a home next year, you may want to stay at your current job until that loan is finalized.

Mortgage lenders like to see a history of income stability when approving home loan candidates. Now, if you're an accountant and move from one firm to another, the fact that you've recently switched jobs shouldn't concern a lender at all. What may raise a red flag, however, is you going from five years at an accounting firm to two months in the entertainment industry. At that point, your lender might worry that your job isn't steady and deny you a loan, which is why keeping things status quo on the work front could make sense.

Switching careers could be one of the best moves you'll ever make. Just be sure the timing is right before taking that leap.

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