What You Should Know Before Making a Career Change
I was an educator for over a decade. Many a time I have sat in my home, looking over my mortgage and other bills, dreaming about another life. I actually thought about joining a fishing vessel for the adventure, teaching ESL in underdeveloped countries around the world, or becoming a truck driver before robots make such professions obsolete.
However, my good sense overtakes me. I for one enjoy my work, and it allows me to travel. Still, I have so many financial responsibilities. Changing jobs, disrupting my income flow, and starting all over in a new vocation is just too dramatic a lifestyle change to consider. After all, there is the mortgage, my family, and all my other bills to consider.
Who doesn’t dream of changing their job? Too many people are just not fortunate enough to make such considerations. The average mortgage payment is about $1,000 to $1,500 a month. That does not take into account other bills like food, electricity, insurance payments, and so on. Some people end up paying double or triple the equivalent of their mortgage payment when other bills are factored in.
It’s also very difficult for people with established social and professional lives to just change jobs for its own sake. The average American makes about $44,500 a year if they are lucky. Anyone making more money than that is taking a risk by changing jobs. Like taking for granted the new job will last long, pay as much or more, or will provide a better work environment than the last one.
It’s one thing to be young and exploring your options. When you have a family, financial responsibilities, and a 30-year mortgage, is it wise to change up jobs just because you can?
The average American changes jobs about 12 times throughout their lifetimes. Usually from the age of 18 until age 50. They hold a job for an average of about half a decade before taking on a new job. Such estimates are not fully representative of all Americans, however. Some people hold onto a job for a lifetime. Or, change careers less than a dozen times within a lifetime.
This isn’t an indictment on people who want to change jobs or try out new careers. If you sense an opportunity for advancement or you are expecting a raise, you should go for it. Got the connects to land a better job? Go for it. There is nothing wrong with professional advancement. If you are stuck in a rut or want a change of pace, then you should consider the consequences first.
Change Jobs The Right Way
Let’s say you have committed to changing your job. How will it affect your finances? Are you changing to a new job with a similar salary or an entry level $20K-a-year salary? Have you double-checked any vacation, sick days, or back pay that your employer owes you? Don’t make a spectacle and tell your boss off. We only regret the bridges we burn when we realize we need to cross them again.
Maintain contacts that you have with colleagues. You never know what may happen when you leave the familiarity of drudgery for adventure. It is not my intent to tell you how to live your life. If you hear the call of a new life beckoning you, I just advise that you answer it wisely. Many people want to quit their jobs and do something different. The realities of life, family, and financial responsibilities just don’t make such wishes viable anytime soon.
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