In some ways, managing your career is like playing that old game show Let’s Make a Deal. Do you stick with the security of what you’re doing now — something you might not totally love — or take what’s behind door No. 1?
In an insightful Business 2 Community post titled “6 Awesome Tips for Midlife Career Change,” writer Cormac Reynolds outlines a series of things to consider before resolving to try something new. It’s practical advice for anyone who’s not just looking to change companies, but who’s also thinking of switching fields and following what might either be a spot-on gut instinct or a total flight of fancy.
Reynolds’ first tip is to look at jobs are more than paychecks and benefit packages. The longer you stay in a place that doesn’t challenge you or present you with constant learning and growth opportunities, the further you get from the “long-term goal of financial freedom.” Don’t stay at a job that’s merely “good enough” if you’re feeling stagnant and uninspired.
That being said, Reynolds cautions against following your dream too far. “As you get older your commitments increase and a reliable income stream is necessary to get through life,” he says. Before you do anything drastic, create a financial plan that will help reduce risk and any hardship you and your family might suffer while you’re making the transition.
Once that’s done, you’re free to take Reynolds’ third piece of advice: “focus on work and not money concerns.” This means honing your resume to fit your new direction and talking to people who work in the field. If it’s possible grab some on-the-job experience to ensure the prospective new path is right for you, by all means, do it.
Reynolds’ next suggestion is an especially good one, as it might not occur to everyone: “Understanding that the real reason you are not happy with your current career lies within.” You may think it’s your jerky boss that has you dissatisfied with your current job, but as Reynolds writes, it goes deeper than that. There’s a fundamental human need to learn new things, and if you can figure out what’s really got you down about your present situation, you’ll be in a much better position to find something more meaningful.
By knowing what you’re truly seeking, you’ll be less likely to seek short-term solutions — which is what Reynolds warns against in tip No. 5. Just because you’re eager to leave your job and embark on some exciting new journey, it doesn’t mean you should jump on the first thing that comes along.
Lastly, Reynolds comes back to the point of financial planning. If you couple your career strategizing with some sound saving and investing, you might not find yourself wedded to jobs for money reasons. “Financial freedom,” he writes, “will open the doors to endless opportunities.”