Gone are the days when most people would stay working with the same company long term. People are now changing jobs more than ever. In addition to just shifts to different employers, people are also entirely switching careers more than in the past.
So how does a person decide to switch careers? Such a major life changing decision isn’t just made on the spur of the moment. It is one of those decisions that you really need to weigh the pros and cons. Even then you may be unsure of your decision.
Those who are conflicted by the desire to switch careers and the potentially uncertain job security that this change may bring should look into taking online classes. Online schools offer degrees of all kinds, meaning that you could start studying for a degree in IT or something completely different such as Security Analysis and Portfolio Management. Not only will this put you on the right track for procuring a better career, but the online format makes it easy to juggle your current job along with the classes. Thus, the switch doesn’t have to be sudden, drastic, and full of uncertainty. You can take classes at your own pace and work toward a degree. Upon completing a degree program, you can dedicate the time that was once spent taking classes to search for a relevant career. Online schools have made it so you can hypothetically switch careers with little to no issues. As long as you are sure about your new career path and you stay optimistic, you should face very few risks. The only problem you face is getting past the seemingly intimidating feat of simultaneously juggling school and work.
I am currently facing this situation with my own career. While I really feel that a career switch is in my best interests, it is still intimidating to put into motion. So to help with my own decision and hopefully help others, I will discuss what is going into this choice.
What Is Wrong With My Current Career Path?
Originally I started out in the IT industry as a web programmer. It was fairly enjoyable work, but job prospects were extremely limited. To qualify for most jobs you need an extremely diversified skill set that forces you to learn new technologies continuously. Stop learning and you quickly become obsolete.
So when I started developing website marketing skills and experience at one of my programming jobs, it seemed so much more promising. Here was a role that virtually every commercial website would require and wasn’t dependent on knowing a specific programming language. Still many employers thought it was a skill that a web designer or programmer could bring to the table as a secondary talent.
I did seem to have problems finding a good job where I wanted to stick around long term. Compounding the problem was the expectation that traffic and sales should constantly be improved while you are fighting an uphill battle against competitors. So unless you’re lucky enough to be marketing a website with some kind of competitive edge, it is a role that isn’t very appreciated. Too many bosses just don’t understand the nature of website marketing.
The lack of job stability wasn’t only within each workplace either. The industry in general keeps changing so rapidly that it just seems a matter of time until SEO pros simply aren’t necessary. Or things will shift to focus on something that might not be one of my strengths.
Then over the years competition in this industry really picked up. More marketing firms were snatching up jobs turning it into an employer’s marketplace. With technology booms in other countries, it has become a very crowded job market.
So how do I plan for the future with these kinds of circumstances? It seems that the only way I’d survive long term is if my own side business builds up enough and I manage to successfully navigate all obstacles. In the end I’d still be in a situation where next month’s income is never truly secure.
What I Hope A Career Change Would Accomplish
There are a variety of advantages I could see from switching careers…
- Stability – Obviously the main thing I’m after is job stability. I want to be able to buy a home and be very confident that I’ll always be able to cover the mortgage payments. Even the psychological benefits of job stability would be huge.
- Long Term Potential – It would also be nice to have the potential to move up in a company if I do my job well. With that kind of incentive I know I can go above and beyond. In another field I think I could get more recognition for my efforts and not be the scapegoat.
- Bigger Challenge – Plus I’d hope for a more challenging job that isn’t all about staring at a computer screen all day. I’ve realized that just sitting down all day isn’t very good for my health. Too many SEO tasks just make me feel like a robot.
- Retirement Benefits – As I get older the potential for a pension or retirement savings matching becomes a bigger priority too. Getting benefits like that would be awesome, but is pretty rare in the SEO industry.
So What’s Holding Me Back From Switching Careers?
I think I’ve progressed to the point of knowing it’s a matter of when not if. At my age though I don’t want to take on a bunch of student loan debt. I’m not willing to take 2 steps back to take 1 step forward.
So ideally I could build up my online business enough to cover most expenses. It would also need to build to a more self sustainable level where I could concentrate more on school.
Of course I would need to decide on my ideal career too. I could see myself getting into some kind of engineering or another science focused career. This time around I’d want to really look into job prospects and long term potential.
The other minor factor is actually my love life. I am considering the kind of career where I could move to a small, industry focused town. To make that move it sure would be nice to find a woman who would be willing to move too.
So do you think I am going about this career switch right? Or should I just go with my heart and assume things will work out? Have any of you undergone a major career change like this?