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Choosing Between a Job and Career Change

Many people are on the hunt for a new job in 2024 and for some, the question may be, do I want a different job in the same industry, or a new role entirely? While it’s common to have a career change right after college or early on in your professional career, the thought of switching careers later on in life may feel daunting, yet exhilarating. In his article, “How to Do Great Work” Paul Graham writes, “That’s why it’s essential to work on something you’re deeply interested in. Interest will drive you to work harder than mere diligence ever could. The three most powerful motives are curiosity, delight, and the desire to do something impressive. Sometimes they converge, and that combination is the most powerful of all.” A paycheck is not everything at work. Having a sense of purpose and passion for work is what will keep you happy, engaged, and prevent burnout in the long run. Here are some things to think about on whether you should think about a job or career change.


What to Consider

Some of the questions to ask when thinking of finding a new job are: What do I currently like and dislike about my role? Is the only reason I’m staying in my current role for the salary? Am I feeling burned out and wanting a better work-life balance? Is the reason I want a change because I don’t like my boss or coworkers? All of these are important questions to consider and will help you in deciding what path you should take moving forward. A career change will likely take more time and energy initially but can be more rewarding in the long run if you’re transitioning to a field that you’re excited about. A job change on the other hand, can still be a big shift and drastically alter your day-to-day life in the office, but may be an easier next step in your career. In an article on Forbes, they write, “Have you been dreaming about a new career for years but haven’t done anything about it? Or do you want to be your own boss but don’t know where to start? It’s okay not to see the whole road ahead of you. Sometimes, it’s just enough to take the first step. Transformation is difficult—especially career change. So, instead of expecting to have a long-term plan laid out, start taking action. If you know what you want to do, begin talking to people in that field. Hire a career coach. Shadow someone you admire. When you don’t act, you feel stuck and trapped in analysis paralysis. Moving forward, even slowly, you build confidence and get closer to your dream.”


Making Next Steps

Once you have a better idea of what you want to do, reach out to others. If you want a new career, see if there’s anyone you know in the field you’re interested in working in and talk to them about what it’s like in that environment. Start researching your dream companies and evaluate what would make you excited to work for them. It can also be helpful to speak to a recruiter who knows local companies and can give you a better feel of what’s possible for you and how to go about finding the next job or new career. Having others around you to provide guidance and show you what’s possible will make the next step more attainable and easier to navigate.