If you’re stuck working in a job you don’t like, feel like you’ve stagnated, or simply want to pursue something new in life, you may already be thinking about a career change. Pursuing a new career can be a fun, exciting venture – but the process inevitably involves taking a major risk. Whatever your plans, make sure you take all the necessary factors into consideration before you take the leap.
As you plan for the future, ask yourself the following questions.
- How much money will you be making?
You’re already established in your current job, so you know how much money you’re making now. A new field might offer a comparable salary, but it’s important to take the big picture into account. As a new employee in a field you’re not familiar with, you’ll likely be paid an entry-level salary, which may initially be lower than you expect. You may need to be prepared to take a pay cut while you establish yourself anew.
Other factors may mitigate the issue of the pay cut, however. If you have a substantial salary but feel it doesn’t make up for the emotional weight of your current job, a pay cut may not be the worst option, according to experts from Forbes. On the other hand, a new position may have a lower salary but more comprehensive benefits, which can help even things out.
- What will your living expenses be?
Will your new job require you to move? You may have to relocate to an urban area or other place with a relatively high cost of living. Jobs in these cities often offer higher salaries to attract talent, so do a little math to figure out if the change is comparable to your current salary and benefits with higher day-to-day expenses. Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of moving, unless your new employer will cover it as part of your benefits.
Consider the financial implications for your family as well. Will your loved ones be impacted financially or emotionally by the change? More importantly, are they willing to adjust? Take some time to talk to your spouse and kids about how they feel, and factor that into your decision.
- Will you need to further your education?
Obtaining your dream job may require more schooling. Some changes involve more educational investment than others. A six-week certificate in phlebotomy, for example, won’t cost anywhere near as much time and money as pursuing a new degree. In addition to tuition and fees, the time you’ll spend completing the degree will be time taken away from working. Will you have to take out loans? These are all factors that should influence your planning.
Final Thoughts: Go For It
If you’ve done your homework and carefully considered the options, the only thing left to do is make the change. One potentially smart option is to start looking for a new job before you leave your existing one. Be strategic and aim for job positions where you know you’ll excel – and use the experience and skills you’ve worked so hard to gain in your current career.