Is it Ever “Too Late” to Switch Careers?

Nothing screams “Monday” quite like a blaring alarm that’s been snoozed a few too many times (ugh!). If your weekly routine kicks off with anxiety-inducing sounds and instant feelings of dread (we’ve all felt that uncomfortable knot deep in the pit of our stomach), maybe it’s time to switch up your routine. Namely, your career. 

The good news is that there’s no “opportune” time to switch up your work life. From freshly graduated to approaching retirement, it’s never too late to change your path. Whether the stress of your day-to-day life has become too much to bear, or you’re looking for a more fulfilling way to spend the majority of your week, a career change could be a good next move. Keep reading as the Guide to Graduate team lays out the best (and not-so-great) times to change careers so you can best determine if or when a move is right for you. 

The Opportune Time to Switch Careers

The simplest answer to the most opportune time to switch careers is, frankly, whenever you want to. 

However, first and foremost, if your job is crushing your self-esteem, causes you severe anxiety, or makes you question your purpose, you may not be in the right career. Do some self-evaluation to learn what you like and don’t like in your role, and then seek out new opportunities to align with your strengths and passions.  

If you’re happy with your career, but generally don’t feel challenged anymore, it could also be a good time to think about switching focus. New opportunities, roles, and industries can bring invigorating ideas and a fresh perspective – two key ingredients for launching your career toward success. 

But regardless of your reasoning for wanting a change, the more difficult question to ask yourself is “when should I stick it out?”

… and When to Stick it Out

If you have a secure role that isn’t draining your mental health or personal time, sometimes sticking it out can help you get ahead. For example, by sticking with your job in a down economy, you’ll avoid the nightmare of trying to secure a job in a competitive, limited market, while also benefiting from a steady paycheck until the market recovers. 

Additionally, if you suddenly have a few bad days at work and begin to search for greener pastures, it may be best to stick it out – sometimes the grass is only greener where you water it. If you’re otherwise happy in your role, aside from a few recent mishaps, working toward a solution with your team or manager before taking to the job boards could be in your best interest. By being open and honest, you may end up opening new doors of opportunity you didn’t even know were there.

Finally, salary is one of the biggest reasons employees start job hunting, but if it’s your only reason for wanting a change, a bit of research could save you months of job applications and interview headaches. Research the average salary of someone with your skills and background, and then set up a time to chat with your employer about raising your pay. Bring your market data and research, along with key data points of how you’ve helped impact the company, and you could leave that conversation happier and wealthier. 

It’s worth mentioning that your mental health and overall quality of life come first. No job should jeopardize that, so if you’re unhappy and seeking a way out, follow your gut and explore new opportunities that align to your ideal work-life balance. You’ve got this!

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