How do you know you’re ready for a whole career change, rather than just a new job? It’s perhaps one of the most difficult things to face in your working life, but there are significant benefits to realizing it’s time to shift sector and do something completely different, including the major advantage of job satisfaction.

If you’re starting to feel less engaged in your current industry than you previously were, it could be time to begin seriously thinking about the idea of a career change. But how do you know you’ve reached the end of your career road?

your career goals change

When you started out on your current career path, you might have had a specific idea in mind for your future. These goals change over time - it’s natural - but if you start envisioning yourself at the top of a completely different corporate ladder, then it could be time to start thinking about how you could apply your skills to a new field.

If you start out as a chemical engineer but find yourself dreaming of being head of an IT department, it could be wishful thinking. But this can lead to you starting to dread going into work, which will then have an overall impact on your productivity; and this could then jeopardize your current position.

Your goals might change for a multitude of reasons - including financial, ambitions, and hopes for personal development - and they can change at any point in your career. However, you won’t be the only one looking to branch out. Younger workers, in particular, are changing jobs and industries more than ever before. According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, among younger workers, 38 percent are likely to leave their jobs within two years, while a further seven percent reported they would be leaving their jobs “soon”.

your personal ideals change

If you start to lose interest in the wider industry you work in - and this is notable because you previously paid a great deal of attention - it might become apparent that your career path is no longer the right one for you. 

There is also the possibility that your world outlook may evolve. For instance, if you begin your career in the finance industry but you start to increasingly sympathise with people making a difference in charitable organizations, it could be a sign that you’ve outgrown your career and it’s time to switch industries.

Your commitment to the idea of changing careers could be tested by discussing your concerns with your manager. If you’re offered a pay rise or better benefits to stay at the company, you will soon realize whether you are looking to leave for personal reasons or for your employer to recognize your value. The Guardian advises people not to be swayed by promises of more from their employers if they really do want to change career, saying “the novelty of a pay rise will soon wear off when your career becomes stagnant again”.

you wish you could say you had a different job

If you’re not happy in your current career, you should pay attention to your feelings. When you introduce yourself to someone new and wish you were telling them you did something different, you shouldn’t ignore that. This is particularly true if you start feeling envious about what other people do.

According to Alison Elissa Cardy of Learnvest, being jealous of other people’s careers could “actually be a key directional signal”. She encourages those who are feeling jealous about different careers to “break down the components of the job” and to consider “what exactly is making you jealous”.

Once you know what career elements you would like in your own job, it becomes easier to work out how to achieve them. For example, if you know you want a role that gives you an insight into technologies before they are widely adopted, you can start working out what jobs would be relevant and how you would be able to get into one of them.

looking for a change?