Saturday, January 20, 2018

Questions to ask yourself before deciding on a career change

When a new year dawns, most of us think of making changes. One of those changes probably involve a career shift. I know this because I've been seeing resolutions on my Facebook friends' updates and many of them talk about starting a business or hoping to work abroad or even to work from home.

This is understandable. I think that when faced daily with the terrible Manila traffic, the worsening political climate, and the changes caused by technology, people are wondering, "What's my next move?" To me especially and to people like me who are from media (print and online), we're always dreading if this is the year we go hungry. 

"I have an idea. Meetings are useless and a waste of time. How about we all go home?"

If you are not getting enough job satisfaction or recognition, or you are worried that your company or entire industry is going to disappear in a few years’ time, you might want to change before it is too late. That's what I did years ago when magazines started dying off—I focused more on my blog even before my own title was killed. That way, when the magazine shuttered, I had actually already started another career online and so I wasn't so annihilated. 

No matter if you want to start a new career, or a business, it is important that you complete a reality check, and you are aware of the risks and challenges ahead. Find out more about what you should be asking yourself before making a final decision.

1. Are you ready to learn?
To enter a new work environment coming from a different industry, you are likely to have to complete some kind of training. No matter if your new job doesn’t require a degree, you will still need to learn. For me back in 2010, when I decided to focus on blogging, I did a ton of research on how other successful bloggers were doing it. I read up on all the blogging tips I could find. I asked established bloggers for their secrets—not all were helpful haha that's why I promised myself I'll always give blogging tips and do blogging workshops!

Now, if you're looking for another career that's not blogging, that's okay. Maybe you can ask your company if they offer on-the-job training and say you're expanding your skills set. You can also check out if your company (or another company!) will pay for your education in case you want to get extra training or a master's degree. Some people who want to go abroad train for an entirely new career altogether. I know nurses are paid well in the US, for example. Getting a family nurse practitioner degree can take a few years, but will pay off long term. You will, however, need to be committed to studying new subjects you are not familiar with. 

Maybe I should learn how to code. It's so... colorful!

2. Can you afford a new career? 
If you need a degree or accredited qualification to do a new job, you need to find out two important things: how much it will cost, and if you can fit in learning in your current schedule. To be honest, I had thought of taking classes in marketing and public relations in the digital age. I looked at Coursera and there were lots of free classes offered. Why did I think this? Well, around two years ago, I was told that advertisers now prefer Instagram and vlogs. I'm a words person, not a visual or video person so I knew I couldn't compete. I don't want a massive following from pictures or videos. I want people to follow me because of what I write. So I thought maybe it's time to shift to a career in digital marketing. 

Here was my problem: With babies and a blogging business, I just couldn't find the time to study again. Thankfully, I was able to find my job as beauty editor at L'Oréal. I don't know if this job will be mine 20 years from now or even next year, however, so maybe I should start learning something new! 

So there: Think of the money involved in taking up a new career. If it's the same industry but in another part of the city, think of the transport costs. If you aim for a more prestigious position, will the extra hours spent in the office be worth it? Mothers find it hard to balance family and work life, so if you have small children, you might not have enough time to study, for example, not to mention the financial side of education, travel, and taking time off. If that's the case, maybe you should stay put first in your job and wait it out. 

3. What are your career chances?
Before you decide on changing your career, maybe you should read industry growth predictions, to make sure that you will have a job 10 years from now. If you're dreaming of becoming a magazine editor, I hate to break it to you but it's not going to happen anymore. A moment of silence please for magazines. 

It's not just print media that's in trouble. Some jobs are likely to disappear, due to the development of information technology and artificial intelligence. For example, the accounting of my business is currently handled by both Pinnacle Sources and Taxumo. Pinnacle does my business permit renewal and other things that involve talking to the government; Taxumo does the automatic payment of my taxes. Thing is Taxumo is adding more to their menu of services, and that means I'll let go of Pinnacle Sources in two years, maybe as early as this year. 

Some processes in different industries are going to be completed by robots, and you don’t want to end up being redundant after a few years, due to industry and technology changes. Build transferable skills, such as management, communication, languages, and so on, so you can change your career path when needed. 

So before taking a leap into another company, check the jobs currently advertised, the benefits, salaries, and career progression opportunities. You might want to have a chat with some of your friends who work in the sector and ask them about their experiences, so you don’t end up disappointed. 


4. Will you enjoy your work?
Chances are you would like to change your career because your job satisfaction level is low. You absolutely must make sure that you will enjoy your new vocation, and you will find continuous challenge and learning opportunities, as well as recognition.

If you find yourself fascinated by programmers that work behind what people see in the internet, you can enroll for courses that will enhance your logical and coding skills. This will eventually open opportunities for you as you start to find a software engineering job

This doesn't have to mean bigger pay, funnily enough. A lot of us moms are okay with smaller pay if it means having more time with our kids or not having to go through traffic every day, or if there are other benefits like traveling opportunities with the kids. Sometimes, we'll be happier if we start a business or leave the city and start a farm. Some of us want to do meaningful work—usually with no pay. Or maybe some of us moms will be happier if we decide to NOT work and be a housewife. No shame in that!

Good luck, mamas! Happy new year and may this be the year your career dreams come true!

*Photos courtesy of Unsplash: @rawpixel, @markusspiske, @sazzleb. This post contains affiliate links.

11 comments:

  1. I’ve been considering a career where the job description is quite different from my duties in my past job. I put up this goal where I will go out of my comfort zone and try new challenges in another field. I am all about new challenges!! I don’t see myself doing a work for the rest of my life so I will do the best I can to achieve my goal! <3

    One of my resolutions this year is to find a work I will love. <3 as the saying goes “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work in your life” ahhh! I love this quote!! ♥️

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  2. Finding a job is really a difficult one, but of course you need to stay on the job that you feel comfortable and makes you happy everyday

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  3. Full time mom ako Ms.Frances, thisbyear one of my goals is to find a homebased job para diko na kailangan iwan ang daughter since mag start na din sya mag school this year. I know hindi sya magiging mdala kasi wala akong idea about homebased jobs online but 'm willing to learn 😊

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  4. I'm trying my best right now to find a perfect job for me... Especially that I'm a single Mom... I'm looking for a job that would satisfy me as a person and would satisfy my daughter's needs.

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  5. Last year, i thought of starting a small online business but a lot of what ifs and buts got in the way so i am still a SAHM until now. I do the laundry, prepare food, clean the house and take care of everything and everyone in my family including out pet. I'm still not earning money for what i do but i'm okay. By the way, my daughter and i are preparing for a computer and spelling quiz bee finals (please wish her luck.)
    But i am not giving up on my dream. I am definitely not!
    Thank you for enlightening us and sharing some tips, Ms. Frances!

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  6. I missed working 😢 I'm a full-time mom but I open a mini sari sari store for extra income.

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  7. This post is timely for me. Your words encouraged me to go on and learn new skills that are essential for my job. I worked a home based job since June 2017. I am getting used of what I am doing though I miss having co-workers around.

    Joys Montano

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  8. From being a full time mom and starting to go back to the workforce is nerve wracking. I experienced this two years ago. I was a full time mom for 7 years and when I finally decided to start working again, it felt like I was taking baby steps. All I knew was how to change diapers, breastfeed, take care of my babies...all I ever talked about was my kids. I felt like an alien when I was being interviewed. I didn't know how to describe myself other than I am a mother of 3 kids. You always have to be open to learning new things and I embraced that. I love my job now and I'm with the company for almost 2 years. So aside from being a mother of 3 and a wife, I'm also a happy employee. I would love that planner to make sure I jot down all the things that I need to juggle with all the mommy duties and write snippets of poetry or draw some doodles during my free time. :)

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  9. The past two years, I have noticed the changes happening in the industry where I'm in. I already wanted to shift to digital but at that time, I can't afford to transfer to a new job because of household (ie no yaya) matters. I am trying to learn more as much as I can so when the time comes, hopefully, I'll be ready :)

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  10. The second paragraph is very true to me. Just last January, iasked my husband if I can resign, then just work from home or start a business instead. My reason is my daughter, I felt guilty for not being with her most of the times. I spend almost 12hours in the office and travelling combined. This year, our daughter will be going to school for the first time. My husband understands me, but because of other obligations we have, he advised me not to quit my job yet. Thinking more about our future, I followed him. For 2018,he also suggested to have more 'pasyal' days to spend quality family bonding moments. He, atleast lessen the guilt im feeling and cheered me up. Its hard to be a working mom but mommy bloggers like you really helps. Thank you and keep it up!

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  11. Thank you for this key points in considering a career change. It's not that easy to renew a prc license these days and that needing a system and guidance from a mentor is a necessity as competition is tougher in the online media industry, it's having an entrepreneur mindset if you want to be a fulfilled freelancer/WAHM and you've got to have a ton of high motivation.

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