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What You Should Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

What You Should Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job

So you’re thinking about quitting your job? It’s a tough decision with many things to consider, no matter what you do. With unemployment rates nationally around 6.3% and much higher in cities and towns across the country, it’s important to take a systematic look at whether you should quit your current job. Here’s what you should ask yourself before you quit your job

Why do I want to quit?

This is a very important place to start. What about your job do you dislike? Are you being underpaid, but enjoy what you do? Do you hate your boss or clash with co-workers? Are you bullied or feel threatened? Each of these reasons, and the hundreds of others not mentioned, must be considered. When you’re answering the question “why do I want to quit,” be honest and open. Consider if there are things you could do to make the job fit your needs. Having problems with co-workers? Are there things you can do to improve your relationship outside work? Having trouble with your boss? Consider transferring to another part of the company or to a different department. Are you being underpaid? Consider asking for a raise or going for a promotion. No matter what the answers, make sure you fully flush out why you want to quit and make sure you understand all your options.

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What do I want to do instead?

So you have your list of reasons why you want to quit. What do you want to do instead? Be honest with yourself and know your limitations. Many people want amazing dream jobs, but if they don’t have the qualifications, they must be realistic. Do you need more education or more experience to get the job you want? Is your preferred career very competitive? Understand what can set you apart. Know what you want to do and research how many openings are available in your area, how your requirements stack up, and the pros and cons. Use tools like Glassdoor to see reviews from those in your dream job and review the companies with openings to see what they think. Do your research and make sure the grass really is greener on the other side.

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Can I afford to quit?

So you know why you want to quit and you’ve found your dream job. Now the question becomes, can you afford to quit? This comes down to two major decisions: Can I afford to quit before I find a new job? And does my new career support my lifestyle as well as my current job? For the majority of people, it’s financially difficult, if not impossible, to walk into your job and quit without another opportunity. And usually when that happens, it’s more because of a snap-judgement rather than a well-thought-out plan. Being without a job for any amount of time can take a huge toll on your financial future, so make sure you don’t make a snap-decision you’ll regret.

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Will I be happy working for someone else?

When considering a change in career, always consider the other side. If you love your boss but have other issues with the job, consider this: Your boss can make all the difference. Will you find a job with a better boss? Will you have the same freedoms and input you currently have, or will you take a step back. If you’re having problems with your boss, will working at another job really fix it? If you’re getting slack for being late, not finishing on time, etc., is it something you need to fix or is it truly the boss? Make sure you take a real, hard look at the situation. Switching jobs can be stressful and difficult financially. Make sure you’ll truly be happier working for someone else before making the switch.

Quitting your job is a huge decision. Make sure you take the time to answer these questions and make a plan to ensure it’s truly is the best opportunity for your situation.

Featured photo credit: SpectralDesign via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

Now or Never Is a Fallacy

For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

Career Changers Are Among Good Company

Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

Step 2: Be Proactive

These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

Take Baby Steps

Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

Volunteer

Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

Take Online Courses

Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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Take a Temp Job

Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

Network!

Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

    If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

    Step 3: Take It Online

    This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

    Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

    Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

    Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

    Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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    Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

    For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

    Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

    If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

    Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

    Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

    More Tips on How to Change Careers

    Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

    Reference

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