The median tenure at a single job in the U.S. is four and a half years, and it’s been said that a person will change careers five to seven times during their lives. So if you feel the itch to make a change, it’s perfectly normal -- and it can actually revolutionize your success.
What constitutes a “career change” is a bit vague, but I like to think of it as taking a job in a new industry so that you can continue to develop your personal and professional skills. With that in mind, here are nine reasons to switch careers as soon as possible:
1. You didn’t choose your current career.
There are a lot of reasons to take a job in a particular industry. If your reason had to do with desperation, a family connection or a random circumstance, you may need to switch careers soon. Think about your skills and what you truly enjoy. Don’t be afraid to consider off-beat careers either -- being a forester isn’t as common as a banker, but it may be the perfect fit for you. You deserve a career you chose on purpose.
2. The economy hit your field hard.
A job in finance was lucrative in 2003. By 2008, not so much. If an economic or technological change has negatively impacted your current field, a change may be in order whether you were looking for it or not. Think about what type of work you can do that would leverage your current skills in a new way. When you make the choice now, you avoid a possible panic situation later if you’re laid off or let go.
3. You’ve developed interest in an emerging industry.
Whether you’re 30 or 60, there are an amazing number of careers available today that weren’t even dreamed of when you were in college. If you’ve developed an interest in a new industry that is growing quickly, this is a great time to jump in. A career in an emerging field will allow you to grow quickly, learn entirely new skills and reignite the fire you may have lost with your current work.
4. You hit a ceiling.
Anyone can hit a ceiling in advancing his or her career. Sometimes another job in the same industry will help you break past it, but other times, you need a complete career change. The good news is that great leadership qualities will help you manage in any field, so you can quickly find a new way to put your skills to great use.
5. You need significantly more money.
Sometimes, the career field you thought you wanted turns out to not work on a financial level. In your current field, you may get small raises over time, but if you need, or want, significantly more money, a career change is in order. Money can’t buy happiness, but it is an important part of living life. There’s no doubt that some careers give you better access to money than others.
6. Your talents don’t match your field.
Are you in information technology, but struggle to keep up with technological advances? Or are you a teacher who struggles with high-intensity personal interactions? If your talents don’t match the field you find yourself in, switch careers as soon as possible. Try taking personal and career assessments to find a field that is a better match for you.
7. You have a major change in perspective.
Marriage, divorce, a new child or even a trip overseas can completely change your perspective. The CEO of Esquire Magazine, Phillip Moffitt, left his career to pursue more meaningful and new work options when he was 40. Major changes in your perspective can make it vital that you change careers. Consider what works for your new situation and make it happen.
8. The challenge is gone.
If you’re no longer challenged by your current job or you’re bored with your current field, a career change could be the spark you need. Too many people spend years in boring and unfulfilling jobs simply because they don’t know what to do next. Don’t waste 40 hours a week. Instead, look at yourself and other industries to find a role that will allow you to be challenged and continue to grow both personally and professionally.
9. You’re burnt out.
You’ve given your all to your current company and industry, and now you feel like there’s nothing left to give. There are some situations a week of vacation can’t fix, and burnout is one of them. Your best option is to switch careers as soon as possible. You’ll find yourself with new co-workers, new challenges and new things to learn. It’s the perfect solution for burnout.
Switching careers can be intimidating, but you’ll find dozens of skills that are directly transferable. Don’t delay. If you’re in one of these nine situations, switch careers as soon as possible.
What other factors would cause you to switch careers? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.
Related: Passion Gone: Time to Quit?