Some people know from an early age exactly what they want to be when they “grow up.” Some enter their college years without much of a clue, and eventually “find themselves” during their years of study and make a career choice. Some exit college still not sure, and then they land a job and eventually they settle in to a career.
For the average person, changing careers multiple times in a lifetime is not unheard of, especially if they were like the last person described above that just kind of fell into a career. However, even those people who made plans and had a goal and reached it, are not unlikely to change careers later on. Choices at one time in life are not necessarily permanent choices for various reasons.
1. Lifestyle changes: You may have chosen a career that was excellent for when you were a single person doing your thing, but later on when marriage and children come into the picture, the career choice may not be the best suited for you. Careers that require long or hectic hours, or much traveling for instance, may not be the best to have when having a family. It may be time for you to seek a career change that is more suitable for family life.
2. Being Phased Out: Maybe you entered a career that was quite promising, but since then, technology has begun to phase out the need for your position. Maybe what looked like a growing field has begun to fizzle out, or has changed so radically that your original training is obsolete. Retraining, additional education, or a total career change may be in order.
3. Dissatisfied: You have stars in your eyes as a youth entering into the career field of choice, but now after a few years the glamour is gone from the job, and you find yourself burned out or very dissatisfied with the field. The career of choice turned out not to be the field of flowers you expected. Sometimes it is tough after years of settling into a career, but if you find the job is more frustrating than fulfilling, a change may be needed.
4. You Made It: Maybe after years of work, you have reached the top of the ladder, and are unable to advance any higher. No further advancement and no further challenges can make your job become quite boring and unsatisfying. Job satisfaction should be more desirable than simple income ability, so changing career paths, or retraining into a related field that allows further growth may be what is needed at this juncture in life.
5. Stress and Money: Highly stressful jobs can take their toll on your mental and physical well-being after a while. Staying in a stressful position is not a great option, and if your job is driving you crazy in that area, a change is probably in order. Money can be a leading factor in some of the stress in a career too, though of a slightly different nature than actual on the job stress. If you are not making what you need in your current position, and that is leading to additional stress levels, then seeking advanced training and/or changing careers may be needed.
Admittedly, changing careers is tough; especially if you have acquired a good amount of training and are in a comfortable place in life. However, with the economy the way it is now, you need to be watching the activity in your field, and not only make sure you are employable elsewhere if the need arises, but make yourself employable in other fields if your current field is failing to meet your needs.
Have you changed careers in the past? Share your story below in the comments.