Career Change

If you are thinking of changing your career, this may not be the first time. Most people change their careers several times in their lifespan, and the frequency of this happening is increasing. Many are forced to change. For example, their industry has moved to other countries, like textiles and manufacturing have recently; their jobs and careers have gone with them. Others choose to change. Some are looking for more meaningful work, or a brighter future. Many are dissatisfied with their job and want to find a more satisfying career.

Regardless of your reasons, you want to take the time and make the effort needed to ensure that you don't make a decision you will regret. You also want to anticipate and plan on how to handle problems you will face along the way.

And, you will likely want to consider self-employment.

As you work on this, keep an electronic or paper "Career Change" folder. In it you will keep the ideas you jot down, items you clip or print out, and anything else relevant. Be sure to write your ideas down. It is important and helpful. Review your folder from time to time, and reflect on its contents. When you are finished, keep your folder for the next time around.

You will make your best decision if you follow these three principles:

  1. Know Yourself
    You want to clearly understand why you want to change. By understanding the reasons, you can make a more rational choice. More...

    You want to understand your personality, values, skills, and abilities so you can find the careers that fit you best. More...

  2. Know Your Options
    Think of as many alternatives as you can. And, then learn about each one. More...

  3. Make a Good Decision
    Follow a simple, scientific method of decision making. Consider getting professional help. More . . .

Parts of this article are adapted from an earlier article by Dr. Loretta J. Bradley, with her permission: Bradley, L. J. (1992). Career changes at midlife. In L. K. Jones (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Career Change and Work Issues (pp. 30-32). Phoenix: The Oryx Press. Dr. Bradley is a Paul Whitefield Professor at Texas Tech University and has received numerous prestigious awards for her research, writings, and leadership in the counseling field.