Get Ready: 3 Reality-Check Questions Before Changing Careers

Man running upstairs career move up concept

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. When you’re stuck in a tedious job, tied to a desk, just waiting for the 5 or 6 o’clock to hit every day, you tend to idealise what could have been your career. You probably daydream about how easy, fun, and rewarding it will be if you’re at the salon, making people pretty, or at the animal shelter, giving cats and dogs the care they deserve. If you’re convinced that you have to make the switch in careers, you need to put off those rose-coloured glasses though and trade it for some dose of reality. Ask yourself these questions to know if changing jobs is the best move:

What do you not like about what’s happening now?

Be very specific. Is it your boss? Is it the work environment? Is it your colleagues? If you want to leave because of these, don’t. There’s a good chance that you will encounter the same demanding boss, the same stressful work environment, and the same annoying colleagues in the job you’re moving into. You don’t see this (or at least refuse to confront this reality), precisely because you’re idealising your dream career. If you’re struggling with these work dilemmas, the right thing to do is to grow despite those setbacks, rather than leave. If your reasons, however, is more about yourself, for instance, lost passion or underutilised skills, that’s a good reason to explore the other side of the fence. As you switch gears, educate yourself about the industry you’re moving into. If you are exploring the beauty sector, take those make-up artistry classes or eyebrow tattoo courses Sydney experts provide. If you’re keen on the animal shelter career, consider volunteering in your local community first.

Can you handle the disillusionment?

One of the reasons you ‘hate’ your job right now and love your dream career is because you’re immersed in the former and hardly scratching the latter. Once you get into the industry you’ve been longing to be a part of for so long, you’ll see everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly. So as early as now, as morbid as it may sound, you should be getting ready for the disillusionment. Condition your mind into thinking that it’s not as perfect as you imagine it to be. If you’re going to be a beauty guru, it might mean working for longer hours, sometimes sacrificing your physical and mental health. If you’re going to be an animal rights advocate, it might mean seeing a shortage of funds and meeting people who are indifferent about your cause. The best way to prepare for disillusionment is to ask the people who are already immersed in the industry. Listen to their struggles. Understand their frustrations. If you think you can handle that, then switching careers may be for you.

Are your expectations guided?

Man thinking
People switch jobs for different reasons. Some want to have some additional cash. Others do it for the fame and prestige. Still, some feel that the job fulfills their purpose in life. The thing is, when you’re putting your dream career to a pedestal, you believe, sometimes unconsciously, that you’re going to get all of these — which of course, doesn’t happen all the time. When expectations don’t meet reality, you’ll eventually grow tired and fed up, much like what happened to your previous job. So check your expectations. Ground them to reality. If your motivation for switching jobs is the fatter paycheck, learn about the average salaries in the industry. If you’re in it for the prestige, look at the newbies in the industry if they’ve ever enjoyed such. All these will give you a realistic perspective as you pursue your new career.

A Dose of Reality

Again, before changing careers, leave your rose-coloured glasses. Look at your dream job with the lens of reality. This way, you can make better career decisions.

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