For most people, there comes a time where their current career isn't cutting it and a career change is in order. But should that career change be joining a new organization or making a total career shift?
The events of 2020 — from COVID placing our occupations in perspective to the current economy shutting down many of our workplaces — may have sparked this process in many of our minds. So, what are the surefire signs you should make a career pivot, even in this economy? Here's what experts say:
1. You're looking at an industry that's expanding in 2020.
If you're looking to make a career change right into an industry that's currently expanding, you may be making a good move, according to Nicholas Wyman, CEO of IWSI America or the Institute for Workplace Skills & Innovation. Making investments in a career change, like receiving higher education, should be carefully considered for their ROI. And in the 2020 economy, certain fields are much safer bets than others.
"Be aware of markets or fields expanding due to COVID-19," he said. "Public health, human/social services, technology and data-driven services."
The argument for a change into a growing field is especially strengthened if you're leaving a struggling one, such as travel or hospitality.
2. You can't imagine going back to your career after COVID-19.
However, complete pragmatism doesn't have to be the only reason for a career shift. One of the biggest signs you should make a change? Time away from the workplace has shown you that you can't go back.
"One of the biggest indicators that it's time for a switch is that you can't imagine going back to the way things were," Michele Mavi, Career Strategist and Founder of MonumentalMe.com, said. "[People] are finding incredible comfort in the escape provided by this new normal and are dreading the idea of having to go back to the work. It's normal for anyone to find it hard to be as motivated under these circumstances, but not caring about the quality of your work and having more anxiety at the thought of going back to work... is a clear indication that a change is in order."
If you've been dreading the work day since COVID-19 began — and if that feeling existed under the skin before all of this went down or continues once this is over – it may be time for a change.
3. There's nowhere to grow.
If you fail to get excited about your next career move or if you have no idea what that next move would be, it may be time to change professions. After all, making a career shift isn't a failure to achieve that next step — it's just a recognition that another path may be better. This is especially true for professionals grappling with the devastation of their organization or field.
Your next career path may be something you haven't considered yet, according to Sean Nguyen, a Director at Internet Advisor.
"If you can’t imagine where you’ll be in 5 years within that career path, then it’s time to move on," he said. "Your time is best spent thinking about what makes you happy, what makes you feel fulfilled, what your goals are and what your strengths are. Somewhere, these aspects all meet in the middle, but you have to think outside the box. What are your skills? Where else can they be applied? What industries have you never considered before?"
4. You've done the groundwork and you still want to change.
If you've felt the itch to change like the ones described above and if you're making a change to an industry that makes sense to you, there's one more step you need to take to know a career shift is right for you, according to Jennifer Spoelma, a professional career coach.
"Too often, when people seek a career change, they do so with a 'grass is greener' mindset, meaning their primary motivator to make a change is based on trying to get rid of something negative they're experiencing in their current job," she said. "When changing something negative is your main motivator, you tend to have the perspective that anything will be better than your current situation. Or, that the grass will definitely be greener everywhere else. This thinking blinds you from critically assessing other opportunities to see if they really will be a good fit for you or lead to some of the same feelings you have in your current position."
"Doing the groundwork means taking time to really evaluate the elements you both enjoy and dislike about your current situation. Then, developing a strong visualization and understanding of what you're actually looking for in your next job. This will help you compare companies and job postings to your ideal position to help you decide if applying, or accepting an offer will actually be worth it."
If you've done the groundwork and still want to change, then you know your desire is for real. Now, it's time to get started! Here's our best advice for people career changing right now.