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When to Pivot Your Career (And How to Pull it Off Financially!)

July 20, 2020

As human beings, we are hard-wired to be reluctant to change. We prefer the familiar, the predictable, the strategy that gives us the long view. Sometimes, though, we begin to feel the overwhelming urge to make a career change. Many people ignore the nagging feeling because it’s easier to maintain the status quo than embark on a transition that may be overwhelming or stressful. For those who choose to pursue a career pivot bravely, there can be opportunity and fulfillment waiting on the other side.

If you find yourself seriously considering a career change, you’ll need to determine the Why, What, and How. Let’s dig in.

The Why

Everyone – business owners and career professionals alike – have moments when they question their career paths. It may be that you’re going through a tough season at work where you feel less than inspired, or it may be that you are genuinely ready for a change. Before making any big moves, it’s crucial to evaluate exactly why you desire a change. Usually, your situation will fall into one of three categories:

  1. You’re feeling unfulfilled at work.
  2. You’re feeling unfulfilled in your personal life.
  3. You’ve reached a growth ceiling in your current position.

If you fall into the first category, dig in a little deeper and ask yourself a few questions. How long have you been feeling unfulfilled? Can you put your finger on what it is about your current role that isn’t meeting your needs? Are you merely lacking a challenge, or is the work/industry not working for you anymore? As you answer these questions for yourself, be realistic about whether a career pivot is what you need, and listen to your intuition.

If it’s an unfulfilling personal life that has you feeling uninspired in general, it’s easy to mistake it for a problem with work/life balance, or even a cash flow issue. Sometimes, you can correct these things within the confines of your existing job through conversations with your boss about your time commitments or a well-deserved pay increase. Think about whether your issue can be fixed without a career pivot before you undertake a significant change.

If you’ve reached a growth ceiling, financial, or otherwise, a pivot away from your current job or industry can seem quite appealing. However, consider whether something like consulting or freelancing within your current sector could meet your needs before you pivot away from your many years of experience.

Understanding the “why” behind your desire for change is an excellent indicator of your next best move. Make sure you spend some time identifying what it is before you determine your path forward.