March 24, 2011 | | Leave a comment Change is usually a good thing. But impulsive change, without a plan, can lead to devastating consequences – especially if it involves your career. Because of the sluggish economy many people (me included) have talked about this being a good time to assess your career, and if ever there was a time to make changes this is it (especially, if you were laid off and you’ve had trouble finding a new job in the same field). Voluntarily changing careers, however, is one the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s kind of like divorcing your spouse of 20 years just because you think you could have more fun with a younger, cuter version. But when you get right down to it, is it really your career that’s the problem, or just some aspect of your career that can easily be fixed? To find out you’d have to ask yourself why you want to switch careers. Are you bored? Unfulfilled? Or are your reasons more visceral than that. If so, then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Here are five good reasons NOT to dump a perfectly good career in favor a newer, “more attractive” one. 1) You Hate Your Job Don’t confuse hating your job with hating your career. For example, if you’re a teacher and the administration at your school is making life miserable, that doesn’t mean the entire education industry sucks. Maybe it just means you need to find a job at another school. Before you dump your entire career, make sure it’s not just this one job you need to get rid of. 2) You Want More Money Who doesn’t? But switching careers isn’t necessarily going to bring you more cash. Remember if you change careers you’ll be starting at the bottom of the food chain, competing for jobs and salaries with people who have more experience and possibly more education in your new field than you do. Before you move on to a new career, figure out why you’re not making enough money and see if you can change that. For example, ask for a raise or a promotion. Move to a more lucrative department (like sales) or even to a bigger, more profitable company. Start your own business. Granted you’ll be making VERY LITTLE in the beginning, but your potential for financial growth is huge. 3) Because Everybody Says So Just because your parents, friends, spouse, or significant other says you should be doing something else, doesn’t mean they know what the heck they’re talking about. I’m sure your mother always wanted you to be a doctor or a lawyer, but if working as a bank teller pays your bills and makes you happy, then that’s all that matters. NEVER switch careers to please someone else. 4) Your Rich Neighbor Drives You Nuts We’ve all known that braggart bozo who somehow bumbled his way into a ridiculously high-paying career that he’s too stupid to deserve. Yes, you’re right, it’s not fair. But switching careers to the one your rich, lame-o neighbor has, just because you know you could do it better, and because you deserve financial success more than he does, it not a good reason to jump ship. Be happy with what you have and convince yourself that kharma will someday kick in. 5) You Think You Should Follow the Pack If you’re content where you are, but all your co-workers have moved on to new careers and you wonder if you should be doing the same, STOP right now and step away from the resume. Just like in high school, trying to be someone you’re not just to get tight with the “in” crowd seldom ends well. Don’t be afraid to admit you like what you do, especially if your career is in a secure field and you have no worries of an impending lay-off. Happiness beats status any day. Switching careers for negative reasons hardly ever works out to your advantage, but switching careers to satisfy your creativity or newfound knowledge (because, for example, you just completed a college degree) can only lead to good things. Before you throw in the towel on a perfectly good career, make sure you’re not doing it for all the wrong reasons.