Should I Change Jobs or Careers? Here’s How to Decide

So, you're not happy with your job. Maybe the pay is lousy, the hours are long, or you don't like the people you work with. Or, perhaps you've worked in the same career field for years, and it's just not what you thought it would be. You may wonder if you should change jobs or change careers.

Key Takeaways

So, you're not happy with your job. Maybe the pay is lousy, the hours are long, or you don't like the people you work with. Or, perhaps you've worked in the same career field for years, and it's just not what you thought it would be. You may wonder if you should change jobs or change careers.

Job Change?

Sometimes, it's apparent that it's time for a job change. You enjoy what you do but feel stuck in a workplace with an overbearing boss, or you don't see any prospects for advancement in your current job.

And you're not the only one - a full 40 percent of recently 2022 surveyed workers are thinking about leaving their positions in the next three to six months! (1)

But will they change their job or change their career? Changing a job means doing similar tasks to what you do now and is not quite as challenging as changing careers.

But sometimes a job change is not enough to find job satisfaction.

Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course
Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course

Career Change?

Sometimes, you need a full career change to find the path for you! 

A career change means going in a new direction or field. Making a career change may sound daunting, but it can be an exciting way to follow your passions, even if you've been in your current field for years!

The answer to whether you need to change jobs or career paths depends on various factors. 

So, ask yourself these seven simple questions below for a thorough self-assessment, and move forward with your professional goals!

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

What About My Current Job is Unappealing?

A fulfilling career is something we all deserve to find! And it makes sense to look at what you don't like about your job before making a change.

So make a list of the things that bother you about your current job. Once you have that list, consider whether those problems can be solved by simply changing jobs.

For example, if you don't work well with your co-workers or boss, talk to your human resources department about whether there's a way to transfer to another team or location.

Or if you're unhappy with your current salary, research other companies in your area to see if they offer better compensation for the same job functions.

Or look at positions slightly above yours and level up your compensation and benefits package! Your boss now may not see your worth, but a new boss might see your best qualities!

Glassdoor is a great resource to find reviews about other companies and learn about salaries and benefits where you live (and around the country!) While you're there, give reviews about your current position to help others in their journeys!

No need to stay stuck and feel unhappy, focusing on what you dislike. Instead, consider whether now is the time to look for a new job in the same field.

Can Switching Jobs in the Same Field Really Help?

Sometimes changing jobs can help you find more fulfillment in the same type of work. If you're feeling unhappy or unchallenged in your current job, it might be time to start exploring your options.

You might feel happier doing the same job role with a new employer at a different job site if one of these situations apply to you:

  • Work/ Life Balance: Everyone needs time for their personal life! Your job dissatisfaction may be due to long work hours and lack of time for yourself and your family! Another employer may offer work-from-home or flex hours for your current role!
  • Company Culture: If your current employer or work culture hurts your emotional well-being with systemic put-downs about your beliefs or thoughts, either subtly or overtly, consider a lateral change. Move into a different work environment instead of a whole new career path. If you find your self-esteem in the toilet daily, it's time to find a new right direction for yourself!
  • Career Trajectory: If your current employer has no room for your career growth and you feel stuck in the same old job duties with no challenges, consider looking for a new position one step above where you are now.
  • Compensation: If the place you work now can't afford to pay you fair compensation or give you the benefits you deserve, find an employer who can! You can always do some interviews and put out some feelers without quitting your day job. Or do some research about salaries in your area of expertise.
  • Benefits: Let's say you're most concerned that your place of business does not offer retirement benefits or health insurance. Do some research and find out which companies in the same industry offer health insurance, retirement benefits, higher compensation, or shorter working hours with more flexibility. Doing research can help you feel incentivized to reach for a better circumstance!
A Woman Writing on a Notebook
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Do I See Myself in This Career Field Long-Term?

The next step is to look at the bigger picture. Consider whether you see yourself in your current career field long-term. If you're not sure, ask yourself:

  • What are my long-term career goals for the next five or ten years? Consider where you want to be in the future. If you're aiming for your own office, you may only need a promotion to another workplace.
  • Do I feel passionate about anything I do at work? If so, write these items down to start brainstorming what's next!
  • What kind of work-life balance do I need? Perhaps you're looking for a flex-time or a work-from-home job to allow for more time with your family? Is a more laid-back environment something you crave? Take your expertise in customer service and work from home in your jammies! Or go from working as an attorney to writing legal white papers!

If you don't see yourself still working in your field that far down the road, consider a total trajectory change! 

If you're just not passionate about the work you're doing or you're ready for a new challenge in another field, go for a total career makeover!

On the other hand, if you can see yourself still doing the same work five or ten years down the road, then a job change may be all you need.

Two inspired men sitting in a cafe working
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Should I Change Jobs or Change Careers?

There are many great resources to help you find a job that's a better fit for you, including job boards, career counseling, career coaching, and networking groups.

However, if you are still stuck wondering if job satisfaction is possible in your same field, consider these thoughts:

  • Disliking the Core of What You Do: Let's say you work as an insurance adjuster in a cubicle five days a week. You're exhausted from the daily negotiations with unhappy people. They want more money for their car collision repairs. Your job is to argue with clients or body shops all day, but you prefer a low-conflict environment! In this case, you dislike the core of what your job entails.
  • Disliking the Environment of Your Field: Let's say, as an insurance adjuster, you work all day in a cubicle in the middle of a room. People all around you are talking, chewing gum, and gossiping. Phones ring, and co-workers come by and interrupt you for small talk every few minutes! You feel it's impossible to relax but struggle to find a similar job in a different environment.
  • Your Field Requires Long Hours: Let's say you work as a sales manager but feel exhausted daily! With a median salary of more than $132,000, sales managers have good pay but often must work additional hours on evenings and weekends.” (2) If you can't find a sales management job at a slower pace, you may desire to change careers.

A career change may be the next step in the above cases. 

However, don't worry if you need to change career fields- you may be surprised at how many abilities you've learned on the job that you can bring with you into a new position!

Often, you can even change fields within your own employer's organization!

Suggested reading: the ultimate (step by step) guide to a career change

What Type of Career Change?

Before changing careers, consider how. There are three ways to transition into a completely new career!

1- Transition Into a New Path Within the Same Place of Business

Often, human resources or others at your company may see that you are good at certain aspects of your job that could quickly transfer into a different job altogether. If you work at a large company, your next steps may involve talking to human resources about a change and a new job.

For example, perhaps you're the insurance adjuster stuck in a cubicle who dreams about rewriting the company's manuals for each job training. Or maybe you've discovered a talent and love for graphic design and would like to take on some marketing duties at the same company.

Human resources can give you a chance to move into a successful career change while staying within the safety net of the same company and benefits.

To successfully transfer within the company, keep working while learning whatever new skills you need to transition. And know that many companies prefer to hire from within. Human resource departments often help in your process of switching careers.

2- Transition Away and Into a Similar Career (in the same industry)

If your long-term goals involve changing careers, but the new position you want is similar (perhaps in the same industry), look for additional training to put yourself in a great position for moving up and on.

Once you've got the certificate or continuing education credits you need, start putting out your feelers for that dream job at a new workplace! Check all the career sites and get that resume out!

3- Changing Fields Altogether

Changing into an entirely new career can be more difficult, but you'd be surprised at the soft skills you've learned at your job!

Soft skills can help you transition into a different career path, but you may also need additional training to move into an entirely new field.

What Are Soft Skills?

If you've worked in your career for a few years, you've probably learned some soft skills that will help you transition into a new career.

Consider these in-demand soft skills that you may possess:

  • Empathy
  • Organizational
  • Time management
  • Social senses
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Leadership
  • Communication

Next, let's look at how you can start getting ready for a significant career change!

How Do I Train for a New Career Field?

The playing field is wide open for newcomers in 2022. Employers have lowered the experience requirements for many new positions due to labor shortages! (3)

Job seekers are finding success getting jobs with fewer years of experience, especially if they show a willingness to learn, the ability to work within a team, and the ability to work independently.

So even though you may need training, it's possible to submit your resume as-is and get your foot in the door! Some employers are even offering training in an effort to interview high-functioning employees!

However, depending on the field you're transitioning into, you may need to get additional training on your own before you can move into a new career.

Training can come in different forms, including:

  • Online Courses: You can find online courses for just about anything these days! At Unmudl’s community college network, many online on-demand courses take just weeks to complete! Check out online courses that give you an introduction to the field and help you learn. Community college is often an excellent and affordable way to take the classes you need to transition into a new field.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering helps you gain experience and credibility in a new field. It also allows you to network and make connections with others!
  • Apprenticeships: Apprenticeships are another great way to gain experience. Many times, you can even get paid while you're doing it!

But how does a real life upward move happen in real life?

Inspiring Real-Life Examples

It's hard work to change career fields, but evolving into a completely different career needs preparation. Once you've decided whether to change jobs or careers, it's time to make a plan!

Let's look at real-world examples to gain insight into how your career change plan may work.

Mark's Story

Mark leads a product design team at a small furniture company. He's tired of working so hard for so little and wants to move into a new career using soft skills he already possesses.

Mark has excellent organizational abilities and is good at leading others. He is considering a career in project management but isn't sure what he needs to get there.

During some free time, he reads, "The demand for IT project managers is undeniably on the rise. Lightcast reports that employers posted over 600,000 job openings for project managers and IT project managers in the United States from May 2021 to April 2022. Compare this to the prior 12-month period in which just 399,607 jobs were posted." (4)

While learning about project management, Mark sees a course from Unmudl's community college partner, "Mastering Project Management with PMP Prep." This online and on-demand course could help him prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification exam.

In just 26 weeks, Mark completes the course while staying at his current job. The course brings Mark a detailed exploration of project selection, strategy development, complex schedule modeling, forecasting, risk identification and assessment, statusing, recovery, and more. (5)

With his new project management certification, Mark reworks his resume and reaches out to his network of friends and acquaintances. Soon he finds a lucrative job as a project manager for a support hardware/firmware development project business. He gives his two weeks notice at his current job!

At his new job, the tech giant pays almost twice what Mark was making, and there's an excellent benefits package! And now Mark can combine his knowledge of managing a team with his new training.

He successfully found a way out of a dead-end workplace. He now feels fulfilled in his new career at a Fortune 500 company with more money and benefits.

Instructor helping new employees with corporate software
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

Susan's Story

Susan works as a hairdresser. Her job duties include cutting and styling hair at the same shop for the past 15 years. However, she's tired of standing on her feet all day and has found a new interest in owning her own business.

Susan considers whether she might need to go back to school to make her dreams a reality. Finally, Susan decides on an online and on-demand course, "Applied Business Foundations."

In the class, she learns business operations, marketing, and finance so that she's ready to start and grow her business while using her new knowledge to create the revenue she needs to buy a used shop and renovate.

With her previous people experience and vast networking base, it's easy to find the new business loan she needs! Her immense network also helps her find the hairdressers to work at her new venture as independent stylists. They pay her a weekly commission to participate!

Susan is happier off her feet and learning more about how to expand her business while bringing in the income she needs. Who knows? Maybe next, she will expand with makeup stylists and eyebrow designers!

Widely smiling businesswoman working on laptop sitting in a cafe
Image by lookstudio on Freepik

Asia's Story

Asia works as an executive assistant, but her personal life suffers from long hours. She often finds herself too exhausted to think about anything but her job.

Asia enjoys learning code for fun on the Mimo app. She dreams of working in the tech field someday.

One day a friend mentions a boot camp that he did to get his foot in the door at a software firm. Asia checks out the course "Oracle SQL + PL/SQL + Python Developer" and decides to enroll. A short six months later, she is putting out a resume for a job as an Oracle or Python software developer.

In less than a year, Asia successfully moves from serving a CEO slavedriver to working as part of a valued software writing team!

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

Jadon's Story

Jadon has been working as a caregiver in his community for the past several years. The pay is low, and he doesn't particularly enjoy caring for others' personal care needs. He thinks about changing careers but wonders if changing his career trajectory is possible.

Jadon has always loved tinkering with mechanical things, and in his spare time, he is a fix-it man for his friends' and neighbors' auto and home issues.

One evening, he comes across a course created by an Unmudl partnership with Amazon and a community college that guarantees an Amazon interview on completion! He may even qualify for reimbursement for the course's cost if he gets the job at Amazon!

So he signs up for the online and on-demand course, "Mechatronics for Equipment Maintenance - Level II" and finishes in just 10 weeks, receiving a certificate! Now that he has built some job-ready skills to work with Amazon, he's ready for an interview!

Next thing he knows, Jadon gets a job offer from Amazon at $50,000 per year starting salary with good benefits!

Six months after joining the Amazon Reliability Maintenance Engineering Team and starting his new job, Amazon reimburses him for the cost of the course!

Consider Community College Resources

Many community colleges can give you the education and training you need to level up. You may want to consider these short courses of study leading into new career fields with employers hiring directly from the classes:

  • Deep Dive Java + Android: Learn the fundamentals of software engineering utilizing Java, the world’s most popular programming language. Find out how to build modern, in-demand software that runs on and integrates multiple platforms. In just 12 weeks or less, be on your way as an IT professional. Deep Dive graduates earn $60k-$80k after just a couple of years with an over 90% graduation rate!
  • EC Council-Certified Network Defender (CND): Despite best efforts to prevent breaches, many organizations struggle with compromised networks. Organizations need trained network engineers focused on protecting, detecting, and responding to the threats on their networks. This self-paced course, offered through EC-Council, is online and on-demand and includes CND eCourseware & ECC Exam Voucher with Remote Proctoring Services and a 6 month iLabs Subscription.
  • Deep Dive UX/UI Design: While this course primarily focuses on UX/UI design in software development, students also learn how to become valuable assets, regardless of industry.

Or find more online and on-demand courses at Unmudl's network of community colleges and businesses! Fifty-six networked companies hire directly from the networked community college courses!

Consider a Career Coach

Deciding to change your work can feel monumentally significant. So it's crucial to ensure you make the right choice. Sometimes seeking professional help can help you cope with all the potential changes in your life.

A career coach can help you through the decision-making process, making sure you focus on what matters to you and helping you figure out what your options are.

Coaches can also provide support and guidance to career changers, making the transition process a little less daunting. If you're considering a change, working with a career coach may be your best decision.

And don't be afraid to reach out to your network of friends and family members for support and possible leads on potential new pathways!

Unmudl Can Help You Move Forward

If you have the sense that you're ready to take on new challenges and a completely new job, consider what you need to get there.

Learn about a different industry's salary and employment outlook to see what's possible. Then, go where the money or your heart leads you.

Start with a course to show your interest in the new industry and then move forward into the career you've wanted all along!

With Unmudl, it's easier than ever to prepare for your next job opportunity!

  • Degree Courses: Take these for credit toward an associate's or bachelor's degree.
  • Certificates: Prepare you for a specific job or skillset
  • Unmudl Skills to Jobs™ Courses: Created as a collaboration between Unmudl and our corporate clients, these courses prepare you for a specific job and often come with an interview with successful completion.
  • Continuing Education Credits: These don't apply towards a degree or diploma, but you can level up your knowledge within your field!

Consider Unmudl's network of community colleges and the businesses that hire from them. With the right courses and eager employers ready to hire, you can be on your way to your dream job in no time!

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Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course
Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course
Last updated on:
March 5, 2024

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