The beginning of a new year is the time when many people set out to make major life changes, like getting fit or becoming more financially savvy. But if you always fail to keep your resolutions, clearly something is wrong. What if the change you really need can’t be found in a savings account or at the gym? What if the thing keeping you from a truly fulfilling life is your career?
With the shaky start of the financial markets in 2016, it might seem that now isn’t the best time to switch careers. However, there really isn’t a wrong time to seek out new opportunities in the job market. In fact, nearly 72 percent of employed adults said they remain aware of jobs in the marketplace regardless of whether they’re employed or not, a 2015 Indeed study found.
So perhaps the question is not if 2016 is the year to change careers — but when. Keep these three tips in mind as you prepare to change careers this year.
FIGURE OUT THE SOURCE OF YOUR UNHAPPINESS
If you’re unhappy with your job, it’s important that you determine the underlying reason why.
Pamela Horack, a certified financial planner with Pathfinder Planning LLC, suggested asking yourself questions like, “Do I like the work, but have a bad boss? Do I hate the work, but have a fabulous boss? What do I really want to do?”
Examine the answers to these questions so you can figure out where the real issue lies. “Maybe you find that you don’t need to change companies, but take on a new role,” said Horack. “And if the money and benefits are right, making a job shift might be the right call.”
DISCOVER YOUR PASSION
Most people entertain the idea of earning an income from something that they’re passionate about, but few take the steps to determine if it’s a viable career choice.
Horack said this might stand in the way of many employees who are unhappy in their current situations. “If you are unhappy because you are not following your passion, you will need direction and support,” she said. “Talk to others who have made the same leap of faith, and gather as much information as you can.”
You might have to have start some tough conversations with your family to garner support for striking out on your own, taking on a service calling or moving far away. “Be sure you know what you are getting into, and be smart about any big change,” added Horack.
FIND VALUE IN EVERY EXPERIENCE
Many people decide to change careers because a particular job or industry no longer presents a challenge. But there’s no such thing as a useless experience. Every job has value — you just have to find it.
According to Horack, starter jobs like being a cashier or waiter teach you how to manage money and provide quality service. Data entry roles teach the importance of attention to detail. And working on logistics focuses on the value of teamwork and last-minute problem solving. All of these skills can help you find and secure the career you’re ultimately seeking.