By: Joanna Boydak
Are you ready for a new Career? If so, you're not alone. According to a recent survey by The Conference Board, only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their Jobs. And even if you're not exactly dissatisfied with your current Career, a new Career or new direction might make you happier, wealthier, or more satisfied.
Here are four major signs that you're ready for a change--along with tips for taking your first steps toward a new Career:
1. You're not earning as much as you'd like.
When work isn't providing enough financial return on your time and effort investment, you might be strongly motivated to shift Career course.
Before making decisions based on pay, research salaries for in-demand Careers. This can give you some direction in selecting a new, more profitable Career field. Use salary information to pinpoint the right Career for you and to identify your real market value.
However, be wary of changing careers solely to earn a higher paycheck. For most people, money alone won't bring on-the-job happiness. According to a 2009 job-satisfaction survey done by the Society for Human Resource Management, employees identified job security as the most important contributor to Job satisfaction. Benefits came in second; salary, third. And many other factors contribute to your overall Job satisfaction,including your opportunities for advancement, your coworker relationships, and even your commute.
2. You can't find a Job or you feel stagnant in your current Job.
In a world driven by rapid technological and structural change, it's a constant challenge to keep your skills up-to-date and to keep yourself a viable candidate in this competitive job market.
Going back to school can be the perfect stepping stone to a new Career. If your skills are outdated, earning a degree or a certificate, or even just taking a few classes to acquire new skills, can get you back in the game. If you're a college graduate, make your alma mater work for you: contact the career center to get information about opportunities to develop your skills. Not a college grad? Use a free college and university search to sort through thousands of online educational opportunities and find the best program to help you transition into a new Career.
(If you have the right skills but still can't find a Job, your resume may not be working for you. Use a resume builder for help creating an effective resume.)
3. You're experiencing a life shift.
When circumstances change--a divorce, a spouse's promotion to a new location, a need to care for a child or an aging parent--many people need to pursue a new Career that better fits their new situation.
While a life change might seem like a good reason for a career change, be careful not to take on too much at once. Career coaches advise their clients to take it slow, and to expect a career change to take two to six years to implement. This time frame includes research into a new Career, a Job search, interviewing, training, and then settling into a new career.
Rather than leaping into something altogether new, lateral moves are a good way to try something new without making too many changes all at once. For example, a hospital nurse could transition into a position as an elementary school nurse for a less hectic schedule.
4. Your work doesn't interest you.
According to a recent study by The Gallup Organization, only 29 percent of the U.S. working population is engaged at work, meaning that these workers feel passionate about what they do. Sadly, 16 percent are actively disengaged while 55 percent are just not engaged.
If you spend your days counting down the minutes until you can run out the door, it may be time for you to consider a new career. It is possible to have a Job that truly interests you--a free career test can help you identify the most satisfying careers for you, based on your interests and values.