When is it time to make a career change?
If you’re thinking your current career or job is no longer the right fit, you’re not alone. The average adult changes jobs more several times in their life. And frequently it’s a change in career, not just a change of jobs within the same industry. There are many reasons people may decide to change careers or are forced into a career transition. Some examples are:
- Economic demand for current job is dwindling
- Lay-off or loss of job
- Loss of interest in current job setting
- Disagreeable boss or coworkers
- Generally unfulfilling
- You’re stressed out, and it’s affecting your health!
- It’s too difficult to maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal/family life
- Your job no longer challenges you
- You have a new passion you’d like to pursue
No matter the reason, the following links address several topics related to career transitions that may be helpful for you.
- Older Workers Embrace Career Changes - article from the San Francisco Chronicle, May 10, 2009.
- Quintessential Careers (Job & Career Resources for Career Changers) - numerous resources for the career shift.
- Vocation Vacations - opportunities to explore a career change.
- What Should I Do With My Life? - NPR radio story about the quest to answer the "ultimate" question.
- Oprah Interview with Po Bronson - the person who wrote a book to answer the question of what to do with my life.
- Adults Back-to-College - resource to get you started on going back to college.
Managing Stress during a Career Transition
There’s no two ways about it. No matter what the reason for the change, the career transition process can be stressful. But you can handle it! The reason for your career change will affect the transition process for you: is it expected or unexpected? Is it your choice, or forced upon you? Regardless of your situation, there are several coping strategies that may be helpful in the midst of your stress and potential job-search anxiety.
- Be proactive. (See our “Job Searching Tips” for alumni). There’s always ambiguity with a job search, but taking action will help you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat, which can help keep you motivated.
- Set small, reachable goals. This will build your confidence and keep your job-search momentum going. Setting too large a goal too quickly will only set you up for defeat. So instead of writing “find a job!” on your to-do list, create a goal like “get in touch with three networking contacts today” or “draft cover letter”.
- Use your social support networks. You need support! This is a stressful process. Lean on the friends and family members you can count on for some encouraging words and a listening ear.
- Maintain balance in your life. Scheduling time for career research or job-searching is important. But don’t forget to schedule time for the things that bring you joy as well. Activities like eating dinner with your partner or walking the dog don’t take too much time, and will refresh you so you’re ready to go when you have to sit down and dig back into the task at hand.
- See a counselor or life coach if you need additional, professional help. Sometimes making a career transition can be overwhelming, and you
- Quintessential Careers: Job-Hunting in a Weak Job Market: 5 Strategies for Staying Upbeat (and Improving Your Chances of Success)
NOTE:The Career Services website contains links to websites not under the control of Oregon State University Career Services and we are not responsible for their contents. We'd like to hear your comments about these sites; feel free to contact us.
On the recommendation of our counseling staff, Career Services lists job and career information sites that generally meet the following criteria: are of interest to OSU students, easily navigated, and require no fee or registration prior to viewing. New sites may be submitted for consideration and are typically reviewed on an annual basis. Please indicate the page on our site where you think your link would be appropriate.