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Considering a Career Change? 3 Important Questions to Ask Yourself

by Marianne Stenger
Posted: December 23, 2015

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Although you probably felt a lot of pressure to choose the ‘right’ career after you finished high school, the truth is that few of us actually end up doing the same thing for the rest of our lives.

In fact, research shows that the average Australian stays with the same employer for just a little over three years, and people aren’t just switching jobs anymore, but changing professions too.

Some of the most common reasons people give for pursuing a new career include a lack of advancement opportunities, a poor work/life balance, low pay, or skills not being used to their full potential.

If any of these issues sound familiar to you, there’s a good chance you’ve considered making a career change yourself, and the following questions can help you figure out the next step.

1. What is important to you?

Before you choose a new career path, take some time to think about the things that are most important to you. Is earning more money your main goal? Are you looking for a job that will afford you a better work/life balance? Do you want to be able to use specific skills or talents? Of course, simply feeling dissatisfied with your current career is as good a reason to make a change as any, but you still need to figure out why you feel dissatisfied and how your new career will change that.

2. Would you be willing to start from scratch?

Switching careers often means starting at the bottom and working your way up, so if you currently hold a more senior position, you’ll need to ask yourself if you’d be willing to give that up and start from scratch in a new career.

Of course, some of your skills and experience will be transferable, so although you may need additional training and education, it shouldn’t take too long for you to work your way up again.

3. Do you have realistic expectations?

When planning a career change, it’s important to make sure you have realistic goals and expectations or you may end up feeling disillusioned. Do careful research and try to speak to as many industry professionals as possible to get a better idea of what to expect and whether or not you have what it takes to reinvent yourself.

Keep in mind that while finding a fulfilling career is your ultimate goal, focusing on how your work may benefit others can help you find meaning and value in almost any job.

If you’d like more advice on pursuing a new career or are still on the fence about whether or not a career change is right for you, be sure to check out the Open Colleges career change guide which is loaded with advice and guidance from both career change experts and people who made inspirational changes and found a way to do what they love.


Marianne Stenger

Marianne is a London-based freelance Writer and Journalist with extensive experience covering all things learning and development. Her articles have been featured by the likes of ABC Education, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, and Psych Central.

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