The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

What Is a Career?

A career differs from a job, and changing a career is usually a far more significant change than changing a job. A job is typically identified as a vocation that does not require years to build or a great deal of training to manage, while a career is identified as a job that requires significant training and lasts for years to come. A job might include a position as a sales clerk, while a career might be something like a sales manager at a bank. Careers typically involve a great deal of education and training, while jobs are usually identified as any positions that do not require an advanced degree or advanced training.

Pursuing a New Career

Pursuing a new career is a big decision, with implications across an individual’s entire life. A new career usually means additional training, starting at the bottom (or close to it), and possibly taking a pay cut. Pursuing a new career can be an exciting time, but can also be a fought time, filled with anxiety and a sensation of being in limbo, no matter the reason for the change. If you have been considering seeking out a new career, it is essential to review all of the potential pros and cons to making the switch and determine which of those pros and cons apply to you.

The Pros and Cons of a New Career

Changing the direction of your career comes along with some pros and cons. We will go over these in depth to more effectively elucidate the most likely scenarios associated with large professional changes. The pros of changing careers include:
• Escape from boredom. Many people are extremely bored by their work. They may not have a moral opposition to the word that they are doing, or feel particularly passionate about something else, but they go to work every day feeling bored and uninspired. Changing careers can help change this issue.
• Aligning with personal values and goals. Many people seek out a career change to more thoroughly align their values and goals with the work that they do. If you are dissatisfied with the work that you do because the work you do is in some way out of alignment with your values and your goals, changing careers can alleviate these concerns.
• Improved company culture. Many people seek out a career change as a result of dissatisfaction with their current company culture or practices. Changing your career may improve the company culture you can expect to take part in, whether that means having a more involved relationship with your superiors and coworkers, or a more laid-back atmosphere, wherein you leave work at work.
• Greater job satisfaction. Changing careers can mean achieving greater job satisfaction, as most people change careers in order to achieve a greater sense of satisfaction. The work itself may provide more satisfaction or the company’s ethos may provide greater satisfaction.

The cons of switching careers are similarly compelling. They may include some or all of the following:
• Dramatic changes to income. When switching careers, it is common to start at either the bottom of the proverbial ladder, or the middle of the very same ladder. Starting out at the bottom (or the middle) frequently means taking a significant pay cut.
• Change may not bring hoped-for relief. In some cases, career changes can make a significant change in the way you feel, but in others, the issues go deeper than where you work every day and are not mitigated by a career change.
• Reputation changes. If you have an established career, you’ve likely built up a reputation in your field or your company. If you change careers, you will not have the same reputation established at your new company or in your new field, and will have to go through the motions of rebuilding your relationships with coworkers and supervisors.

Should You Pursue a New Career?

Pursing a new career is a big step, and is one that should not be taken lightly. With plenty of responsibilities to consider, including family obligations, housing costs, dietary budgets, discretionary spending, and more, taking a pay cut or starting at the bottom can wreak havoc on an individual’s quality of life and lifestyle habits, but can also offer big substantial rewards. Read more about that process here. Before making such a monumental decision, it is vital to evaluate all angles of the switch and identify the course of action that will best suit you and your needs.

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