A career does not have to be an ending if you so choose. Whether you’re looking for a new position in the same field or a complete professional shake-up, asking yourself these two important questions (and figuring out the answers) will help with your decision.
What’s the buy-in?
The buy-in is what you put out on the front end, whether the resources are tangible, like money and time, or have more to do with the actual decision-making. If the buy-in is a few applications, a couple of interviews, and a job acceptance, you have a lot less to think about than if your next career move includes further formal training, a reduction in salary, or a halt on following your passion. If you are looking for a career upgrade in the same field, the buy-in might be a lot less than if you are looking to take an entirely new direction professionally.
Be sure to refrain from burning bridges with current superiors and colleagues. However, the possibility of upsetting others or ‘leaving them hanging’ shouldn’t keep you from taking the plunge and working toward your next career move — that’s part of the buy-in, after all. Devise a list of pros and cons for each major decision you’re trying to make or each position you are considering.
What’s the payoff?
Most often, if you’re looking to make a career move, it means you are seeking more compensation, new challenges, a different work environment, or a desire to be passionate about your work. We all want to feel like we’re good at what we do and that we’re making a difference with our career. If you feel like your current job won’t allow for advancement or isn’t what you’re meant to be doing, making a change could have major personal and professional benefits.
If you feel like you’re going to work and it’s ‘just a job’ versus being a step toward your eventual career goals, it might be time to seek the latter. Passion, balance, adequate compensation, and the possibility of advancement are all reasonable desires when considering your next career move. Make sure you aren’t making a move just to escape your current situation, because job hopping without a plan or goals can be tricky for your career and emotionally and financially draining for you. Again, looking at the pros and cons of any move will help you decide if the payoff is right.
Making a career move can be an intimidating proposition, especially if you feel relative comfort in your current position. It is up to you to decide if the buy-in is worth the payoff, but if you’re serious about making the move, it probably is. Always remember to make decisions based on your own personal and professional goals, and with hard work, guidance from people you respect, and a healthy dose of reality, you’ll be making the right move.