Changing careers is not something you can do on a whim. If you make a bad decision, you could end up spending time and money on an education you'll never put into practice. This is why you’ll need to do some extensive soul-searching before you choose your new path. If you're currently unhappy with your job, there's nothing that guarantees that you’ll be happy with your new one. You may end up not getting paid as much as you expected or simply not enjoying your new field. You might also regret leaving behind the years of seniority you’ve accumulated. Let’s take a look at a few questions that should be answered before changing career paths.

Is My Current Job Really That Bad?

The first thing you have to look at is what exactly is making you unhappy with your current job. You need to be very specific here. Once you've written down your reasons, see if you can identify patterns. You may assume that your field is the problem when it could be your workplace. Don't write off an entire field because you're unhappy with your job. There's always a chance that you get a position you'll be happier with elsewhere.

If You Could Change One Thing About Your Current Job, What Would it Be?

This is another question that will allow you to figure out whether your current career is the problem or the place where you're working. Some people would love to have possibilities for learning and development or have more important roles. Or maybe you don't like your current schedule or working arrangements. There could be a company out there that can accommodate your needs and it would be wiser to try working somewhere else first to see how it feels before you change fields completely. You could even see if you can work as a volunteer for a few days and see how you like the experience.

How Will I Get My New Credentials?

If you need additional credentials for your new career, you will need to assess how you're going to get there. You might think that you have the mental strength needed to go to school and work full-time, but things might get different once you start. This is why we would suggest that you start looking at online classes right now.

Online classes are a great option for working professionals. You could take them part-time and keep your full-time job, or vice versa. Some classes allow you to watch lectures on your own time, which makes them a great option for those with irregular schedules. They're also much easier to manage if you decide to work and study full-time.

What’s the Outlook for My Desired Job?

You also have to take the time to look at the prospects for the position you are thinking of before you start. You have to look at things like the median salary, future openings, and unemployment numbers. Another thing you have to do is check the salary in different states as national figures can be misleading. This is especially true if you want to move into a field like family nursing, for instance. 

If you want to learn more about the nurse practitioner job outlook, you should check out Marymount University’s website. They not only look at the nurse practitioner job outlook and salary, but also what type of work FNPs do, which states award them full-practice authority, and some of the benefits of the job. You'll also get to see satisfaction rates among graduates and the differences between FNPs and RNs.

How Would I Feel if I Could Never Work in that Field Again?

People often forget why they got into a field in the first place. You should take some time and imagine what life would be like if you couldn’t work in that field ever again. This will allow you to tell if you still have some attachment to it, and possibly reevaluate your situation.

Am I Thinking Long-Term?

People tend to be nearsighted when they're dissatisfied with their job and make decisions they regret later. One of the main reasons why they end up regretting their choice is because they failed to look at the long-term consequences of their actions. In some cases, your new job may require you to relocate. Are you ready to uproot your family and move somewhere they might not be too crazy about? You don't want to tear your family apart for a career decision and end up being more miserable than you were before. So, make sure that you run any ideas by them first and see how they react.

What’s the Job Really Like?

You also need to get as many first-hand accounts from people working in the field you are thinking of before making the jump. You need to ask them what they like and don't like about the job. You should also ask them if there were things that surprised them about the job when they started. This could allow you to spot potential issues with the job that you haven't yet thought about.

Am I Ready to Start from the Bottom?

You have to take yourself back to when you first started at your current job and how much work you had to do to get where you are today. Starting at the bottom of the ladder is not easy, and people often forget how difficult it can be to have to perform grunt work or have no say over decisions. Also know that you won't be able to get the years and the benefits that come with it back if you decide to change your mind later, so move carefully. 

These are all questions that will need to be answered before you decide to embark on a new career path. This is a very important decision that could affect your life on so many levels, so take the time to study your desired career in detail and only leave your current one if you’re 100% that you can’t handle it anymore.

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