Time for a Career Change! (Can I Do It?)

The Careereon Blogging Team
September 10, 2023

Changing Careers – Possibility or Pipe Dream?

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life

It’s gonna feel real good. Gonna make a difference

Gonna make it right


Truer words! There are thousands, likely millions, of changes we make throughout our lives, from the simpler ones like changing a hairstyle, where to go on vacation, or updating a wardrobe, to bigger ones like moving to a new home, or a change in relationships, and so forth. We mostly forget 99+1/2% of the smaller ones that happen every day because their impact is just as small in the overall scheme of things. But the bigger ones take more thought, effort, planning, and emotional consideration to ensure we are prepared for possible outcomes, not all of which are guaranteed to be positive. But as the song suggests, when you look in the mirror, only that person knows whether making that change was the right move. The outcome notwithstanding, the person looking back at you knows what was in your heart and your mind to do. If you made the right, often tougher decision, you will see a proud face staring back at you, even if you both are uncertain about the outcome. Taking the easier path, one from the standpoint of fear, opting to ‘not rock the boat’, you likely will avoid mirrors altogether for a while – you know the disappointed look that is coming your way for a little while. Changing careers is a huge change, and not one anyone takes lightly. Having spent years building the skills and reputation as a subject matter expert or leader in your field, doing a one-eighty, changing course to start anew in a field you have passion for but lack experience is a leap not many have the stomach for, but may lead you to the happiest career-space of your life. And it all begins with the right strategy.

You are taking stock of your career, whether you need to find something new, perhaps you are not working at the moment and need a job to make ends meet, or you may be dissatisfied with how things are playing out at your current company. It may also be that you feel you have plateaued where you are. You have done well here, but you recognize that the company sees you at one level or in one area of the business, and despite your belief in yourself, your talent, and your overall potential, they are no longer looking at you as ‘next level’ talent. Be sure to examine those thoughts closely. Is it a byproduct of a recent dust-up or disagreement with your boss, or a change coming that you don’t believe is in the company’s or even your own best interest? There are many reasons each of us pause and begins to feel that the place we are now may not be the place we want to be for much longer. The grass is not always greener, but when you suspect and ultimately ‘prove’ to yourself that it will be, it’s time to get to looking.

Take Inventory(and be honest!)

Step outside your current situation, which can be hard to do. But if you don’t you will bring too much bias and emotion, likely to bring in not just the facts of where you are, but all of the feelings you have about times you were passed over or done wrong, or simply measure where you are with where you think you should be. That process will always lead you to look elsewhere and leave. That may ultimately prove to be the right decision, but without a proper and accurate assessment of the truth about your current standing, you could just as easily walk into the same situation(or worse) because no place you look at will have any of the negative history you may be holding onto. As part of your introspection, ask a few important questions:

  • Are you still challenged in your work?
  • Which parts of the job, the team, or the company do you enjoy?
  • What skills have you learned here?
  • Have you developed skills that apply to roles you’re interested in pursuing?


Job Change or Career Change?

You may be thinking about leaving because you hope to find the same job you have today but in a different environment or company. If you are at the point in your career where you have done as much as you can or want to do in your position, you may be looking not only to move on, but to move on from the company, job, and industry altogether. If it’s a change of scenery, then your job search will be a bit simpler – not easy, but simpler – as you will be given serious consideration based on having done the role for as long as you have. For the full career change, it will take some work. What are you passionate about? What companies have these types of roles? Whom might you have done business or worked with that may be there to give you a direct connection? As you find openings in the area you are looking at, begin networking with the right people to build a connection you may not have today. Good experience, talent, loyalty, and relationships all matter, and will be attractive to any hiring manager. It is an uphill climb to move from one industry to another. Consider the education or training it may take to position you from being an outsider to someone with talent and great work history to someone worth taking a chance on. Being flexible with your compensation, span of responsibility, and the level at which you begin in the new industry will be a must. You can’t expect to move from Director of Operations at a technology company to the same role in the hospitality industry. The new industry may love your work history, love you as a candidate, and believe the timing is right to bring someone in to give the company and strategy a fresh look. But they will also assess the risk of someone lacking experience in their industry and may hedge their bet somewhat by starting you at a lower level to make sure you are the person they believe you to be. You need to decide, or learn, that you have the humility to do so, and it may pay dividends when you learn the new industry and can apply the next-level leadership and business acumen that drove your rise through the ranks at your former workplace.

Work Your Network

It is no longer the 1980s, nor any years before the internet exploded around the globe. Prior to that time, most social circles were within your geographic footprint unless you worked for a large, national company, and traveled for business. Even then, ‘networking’ has an entirely different definition than it had years ago. Now in the digital age, with the ability to join platforms with global reach that span every industry, the opportunity to build a network is immense. In minutes you can join professional organizations, groups, and forums related to the work that aligns with your passion and skills and begin connecting with people in your desired industry. Research industry events coming up, of which you will find plenty – some virtual, some in-person, and both offer incredible value. You can also learn about where and how you can volunteer your time in your desired field to give you both experience and the opportunity to grow your network. Networking is critical, and something you can continuously build, focusing on the network you have, particularly those who may have connections of their own in that field who can help, and being strategic about shifting your online presence into your industry of choice.

Weigh the Risks

You no doubt recognize that a career change is not an easy feat, nor for the faint of heart. It will take perseverance, a thick skin, and resilience to take rejection and learn from it. Be honest with yourself. If you are not good at getting feedback and working it, or it has been a long time since you have heard someone say ‘No’ over and over again, you may not have the intestinal fortitude to make this change. There are financial implications as well. The career change will mean the compensation you receive today that has provided the lifestyle you have will go away. You may move into the new career at the same money and level, but you also may not. Research compensation levels within the new field to better understand what you may be looking at financially. The likelihood is that it will be less than you make today, and will be important for you to determine if you can swing it, knowing it may take years to get back to the level you are at today. Map out a budget that makes it clear to you what you need, or what you can reconfigure within your budget to make it work at several different levels of income. Doing so will allow you to focus with clarity on the new phase of your career without the stress of all of the related impacts that will come should you actually make the change.

It is never too late to make a change of career and look for something you find more rewarding, enjoyable, and for which you have great passion. The key to making this dream a reality is planning. If you plan for the bumps in the road you expect to encounter, you will be able to overcome and move forward with optimism and motivation through the unexpected, focused on this exciting new chapter of your life.

No message could’ve been any clearer

If you wanna make the world a better place,

take a look at yourself and then make a change!

At CareerEon, we can help! From Resume Building to Interviewing Skills, Networking, and Industry Research, we work personally with you to build your strategy and skills to help you take the next step in your career.

Schedule a Call Today and Let’s Get To Work! https://www.careereon.com/contact-us/

You are the Expert in What You Do, We are the Experts Who Prepare you to Do It!


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