Are you thinking about heading down a new career path? Career transitions can be scary because there are many unknowns. You may be asking yourself important questions like: “Will I be able to secure a job even though I have limited experience?” “How will this affect my family?” or “Do I have what it takes to succeed on a different career path?”
While it is unlikely to answer all questions or eliminate all risks when facing a career transition, it is possible to be confident and make an informed decision. Follow the four steps below to make the best career decision for you - because after all, YOU are the expert of YOU.
- Write down all your options.
You can keep your job or leave your job for a different career or many things in-between. Have you talked to anyone who is in the career that you are considering? Set up an informational interview to learn more about the position and different paths (aka - options!) that can get you there. Have you considered how your skill set would transfer to a different career? Make a list of career options that match your skill set. Do not waste time thinking about past decisions; rather, focus on the options that lie ahead.
- Consider your opportunity costs.
Whether you stay in your current job or begin a new career path, an opportunity will be lost. If you stay in your current job, you forgo the opportunity to begin a new career. If you begin a new career, you forgo the opportunity to stay in your current job. To help reflect on the opportunity costs, ask yourself two questions. First, what is the cost (or what would I lose) if I stay in my current job? Second, what is the cost if I make a career transition?
- Seek wisdom from an unbiased mentor.
As you work through the first two steps, it can be helpful to seek the wisdom from a mentor who is not personally involved in your decision; not your current boss. Share the questions that you are working though and ask for their perspective.
- Set the pause button.
Now that you have worked through the questions and sought wise advice, take some time to yourself. Press the pause button on your decision to allow for reflection that is unrushed and focused. Go for a walk. Meditate. Give yourself time to arrive at the decision that is best for YOU.