Direct Line Group

What to consider when contemplating a career change

Posted by Direct Line Group at 03:30 PM

Career Change Advice

Changing careers is an exciting but often scary time. It’s normal for us to consider career changes when we’re feeling stressed or demotivated – which unfortunately is when making decisions is toughest of all. That’s why the most important career change advice you’ll receive is to find yourself the headspace to think calmly and deeply before running off into the unknown.

That’s not so say of course that a career change isn’t necessarily for you. It’s true that the grass always looks greener, but sometimes it really is greener.

With this in mind, here’s our career change advice.

I want to change my career

At various times in our lives, many of us find ourselves thinking, “I want to change my career.”

For some, the realisation comes suddenly – an unexpected epiphany in the bath, on a hike or while busy at work, for example, after which the desire to call it quits never quite goes away.

For others, it’s something that grows over the years in the form of an uneasy feeling that they’re a square peg in a round hole, or that their skillset equips them better for something else. Perhaps most people fall somewhere between these two poles.

What makes people want to change careers?

There are infinite answers to the question of what makes people want to change careers. Some of the most likely reasons you’re considering it yourself include the following.

  • You feel undervalued, overworked, or both
  • You’ve stagnated – both in career terms and in respect of your motivation
  • You’ve lost interest in your industry
  • Your line of work conflicts with your values
  • Changes at your company (moving offices, changing roles, new management, etc.) have prompted you to re-think your career
  • You don’t get on with your manager or co-workers
  • Your company and/or industry is struggling and you feel you may find better opportunities by changing career.
Some of these reasons for wanting to change careers are really just about changing jobs. It follows that, in some cases, your issues could be solved by something less drastic than a fully-fledged career change.

I definitely need a career change

So let’s say your issues aren’t with your manager, your workplace, your commute, or any other factors that could be solved by either:
  • having a chat with your superiors
  • applying for similar jobs elsewhere
  • making a sideways move, for example into consultancy or training.
If you really need a career change, it’s time to start taking steps to get your career back on the right track.

What to consider before changing your career

When you’re stressed, demotivated or even embittered about your work, it can be very hard to disentangle exactly what has prompted you to want to change your career. Nevertheless, doing so is essential.

Determining what you like and dislike about your current position will help you decide what kind of career might suit you. For example, if you’d like a better work-life balance, you need to avoid diving headfirst into another industry that requires the same 24-7 commitment as your current line of work.

Likewise, if you’re concerned about your industry’s long-term prospects, are you confident that the one you’re considering is in any better shape?

Try to do this when you can be at your most clear-headed – on holiday, for example, or during the weekend. If you need to talk it over with another person, it’s usually best to chat with someone who can help you take a distance from the issue, such as a friend rather than a co-worker.

Pros and cons

It’s up to you decide which pros and cons of making a career change are most important. After all, one big pro can be worth several smaller cons (and vice versa). Still, to help you start thinking about the choice you’re facing, we’ve put together a simple list of the pros and cons of changing careers.
  • + A chance to freshen things up
  • + Opportunities for personal growth, learning and development
  • + A chance to reset your priorities
  • + A way to gain more skills to make you more employable in the long-term
  • + A chance to meet new people, perhaps from different backgrounds
  • + An end to the constant wondering if you’d be happier somewhere else
  • - A likely drop in earnings, at least at first
  • - Limited chances to go back if it doesn’t work out
  • - An effective ‘demotion’ as you’ll probably be starting off lower down the ladder
  • - Stress. Learning new skills can be fun, but it may be accompanied with an unfamiliar feeling of incompetence that will take a while to fade.
Career change ideas

Are career change ideas coming easily to you, or are you struggling for the faintest idea of what to do next? If it’s the latter, it could be that you’re thinking too much about the job title or industry and not enough about what you want from the role.

Start with the skills you want to use (or those you’d like to develop), the kinds of employers that appeal to you, and your own values. Once you understand these, it’s time to start considering job titles more specifically. You might be surprised where the journey takes you!

A career in insurance

If your current career is leaving you unfulfilled in terms of the challenges and opportunities it provides, why not consider moving into one of the UK’s largest and most dynamic industries?

Britain’s insurance and long-term savings industry is the third largest in the world. It employs over 330,000 people in the UK, and UK insurers contribute £29 bn to the country’s economy. As such, it makes an excellent home for ambitious people who are looking for an industry that lets them showcase their talents.

You’ll be surprised by the range of positions you can find within this sector. Find out about insurance careers now.

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