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Career Change Time? How to Choose to Stay or Go

There comes a point in most people’s working lives where they’re tempted to make a big change. Maybe a side gig has become particularly profitable, or you are considering more education. Maybe an unexpected opportunity came up, or you simply can’t take your job anymore. Regardless of the catalyst, sometimes you have to decide whether to take a leap or wait. And that isn’t easy.

Rarely is spontaneously quitting a good idea if you don’t have a plan. And, even if you do have a plan, that doesn’t mean it is risk-free. So, before you make a call, consider these points.

Are You In Danger?

The one reason for quitting spontaneously is when you are in danger. Abusive work environments or those participating in questionable activity often justify simply walking away. However, do so carefully. If illegal activity is involved or you are concerned about physical repercussions, you might want to call the appropriate authorities before making your exit.

What About Your Finances?

If you have significant savings or are walking straight into new earnings, then your finances may withstand the shift. However, if you have no savings and aren’t immediately starting a new (paying) opportunity, you are taking a serious gamble.

Ideally, you should have savings to help float you through the period of uncertainty. The problem is it’s hard to know how long that will last. If you intend to find a new employer, then your opportunities depend on your current field of work and demand in your region. If your hope is to strike out on your own, then you’d be wise to gather some savings before taking the leap.

Do You Have Support During Your Career Change?

Financial is the only kind of support you may need. Often, a career change is stressful. That means you want to have some friends and family supporting you during the transition. Even when everything is well planned, it can be an anxiety-inducing change. You want to have people available who can offer you the mental and emotional support you may need along the way.

Normally, that simply means not quitting spontaneously (unless you are in danger). However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait long. Discuss your thoughts with those closest to you, especially if you are members of the same household. Additionally, if the change risks the financial security of more than just you, then it is better to have the conversation beforehand.

Can You Make a Choice and Keep Moving?

Whether you choose to stay or go, you need to feel confident enough in your choice that you won’t immediately regret it. That’s why thinking through the decision is critical. Snap judgments are often emotional, and your rational mind may disagree later. And, once a decision is made, there might not be any (immediate) going back.

Often, this means making the choice that allows you to keep moving forward instead of looking back. Yes, there is risk. Yes, it might not work out. But if you can’t imagine not trying, then that is an important consideration too. Just prepare the best you can, and make the career change with confidence. Who knows, it might be the best decision you ever made. But you won’t know until you make it.

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