Switching careers can be scary, exciting, confusing, and rewarding all at the same time. While I went to school for accounting and eventually became a CPA, something always seemed to be missing, even after 5 years in accounting. This is something that a lot of people face: Job Dissatisfaction. But how do you go about making a change? Here are the items I weighed when I made my decision to switch from accounting to recruiting.
Before making any career change, it is important to consider why you are NOT happy in your current role. Is it the company culture? Is it the hours you work? A compensation issue? At the end of the day, every career path will require you to work. Pinpointing what aspects of your current role make you unhappy and determining if those are long-term career issues or company specific issues is important.
For me, while I never felt a passion for accounting, it was around year 3 that I realized I needed to make a long-term career move. I looked at the positions of people above me and decided that they weren’t what I wanted to do with my life. Over the next year and a half, I tried to find what career path would bring me happiness. Bringing people positivity (rather than a tax bill), making an impact on others’ lives (rather than just asking them tax questions 2-5 times a year), having a small, fun office environment (rather than a quiet and disconnected office), and having more interaction with people (rather than being behind a computer all day) are the items I decided I needed to find in my new career. This was the first step and should be most people’s first step when deciding to make a change.
We all want to be happy in our roles, but happiness can’t pay the bills! Everyone’s situation is different. Whether you are single, a secondary breadwinner, or the primary provider for your household, not considering the financial implications of a career change is a costly mistake.
Do some research on the compensation structures of your new potential career path. Websites such as Glassdoor can help you with this, but calling up a local recruiter within that industry is helpful, too. Once you find this information, do the math and see if this option is financially feasible for you. Make sure you put a value on doing something that will make you happy!
When I moved from accounting to recruiting, I faced a large initial pay cut, but I saw the long-term potential in my new career. After 6 months of PB&J sandwiches for lunch (among other expense cuts), I found myself back to where I needed to be financially. Figure out your threshold for any compensation changes and determine if it is worth it for you.
Change Brings Challenge
Starting over is HARD. You have to convince potential new employers that your “different” resume is worth considering. You will likely be passed over multiple times before someone takes a chance on you. I interviewed multiple places before I found my home at SHR and had to deal with rejection.
Once you join an organization, you go from knowing a lot about your industry to knowing nearly nothing. That can be jarring. Learning to be okay in the unknown is incredibly important. Beyond that, remembering WHY you made the change on those tough days and working hard to prove the chance taken on you was a good one is equally important.
Make the Change for YOU!
The world is full of doubters and people who are overly complacent. When you tell your plan to your family, spouse, friends, current bosses, or coworkers, at least one person will tell you it is a bad idea. You will begin to doubt yourself and the change. Remember when we determined what makes you happy? That was for this moment. Forget what the doubters say and make the change that YOU decided will make YOU happy. You have to be confident in yourself and determine on your own ahead of time that you are making the right decision for you!
No matter where you are in your life, making a pivot in your career is a big decision. There are more factors to consider than the major ones I laid out here, but these are a great starting point. I highly recommend using a recruiter throughout this process. I had one in my corner who I bounced ideas off for months ahead of my career pivot.
In the end, if you see a path to a happier life where you can still financially take care of yourself, take the chance and make the move. Be thorough in your analysis of a change, but, at the end of the day, being in a career you love can make a world of difference in your life!