Resource Centre Job Search Advice Changing Careers? Here is All You Need To Know

Changing Careers? Here is All You Need To Know

Changing careers after building an identity in an industry can be a difficult task. People choose to change careers for many reasons and at different points…

All About Taking The Next Step

Changing careers after building an identity in an industry can be a difficult task. People choose to change careers for many reasons and at different points in their lives. It can be a fulfilling journey, especially if you make the change to get into a sector that you are passionate about.

Why Should You Change Your Career?

Career Burnout

Career burnout

Imagine waking up every day and literally dragging yourself to work, then spending the whole day watching the clock because you can’t wait to leave. The worst part is that you hate Mondays and you always look forward to the weekend. Basically, your job is like a prison and you need to have a change in your life.

The problem is not even your boss, the work or the environment. You simply just need something different to do. This is a prime reason to change your job because it can result in mental and physical strain and your salary may not be enough to compensate for the strain you put on yourself.

Change Of Heart

Career and passion

So you went to school and studied a particular course because it sounded appealing to you at that time; or based on your grades, you were advised to pursue that course. However, when you get into the job market, you realise that you have no passion for that career and it does not excite you at all.

This is why you easily find people who have, for example, studied finance but they end up in sales. In such a case, you can choose to change careers because the one you studied for is just not fulfilling even if it pays the bills. For example, Magunga, a popular blogger studied law. He, however, had a change of heart and is now one of the most popular bloggers in Kenya.

New Interests

Career change

You might like your current job and you probably studied a course related to it. You do not mind growing in that field and you have heavily invested in that path. However, along the way, you discover a talent or a passion in a different field and give it a try.

It is possible to develop new interests in the course of your career and take them up as side-hustles or full-time careers. This isn’t necessarily triggered by boredom in your current career or a change of heart. It is simply as a result of new experiences.

Technology has also changed how we work and has emerged as an evolving field. For example, 10 years ago, social media was simply for fun and interaction. However, it has become a core marketing tool and it keeps evolving each day. As such, you may develop an interest in such a field and decide to change careers to pursue this field and grow with it.

Mismatch With Your Values

Personal values

We all have a set of principles that guide us. These act as our moral and life compasses and they determine what we can or cannot do. In most cases, a perfect match between your personal values and those of the company you work for can lead to great satisfaction and prosperity in your career.

However, day-to-day activities in your job can result in a clash between your personal values and what it takes to get the job done. For example, if you are not comfortable with telling lies but your job requires you to sugar-coat issues so as to gain clients, you might find yourself in a permanent moral conflict, which can cause stress and even poor performance.

In such a case, you can change careers so as to align your personal values to your career.

Lack of Growth Opportunities

Career growth

Sometimes, you get to a point where you feel like you have achieved all that there is to achieve in your career or you simply feel like the growth in your career is too slow. You feel no challenge and you simply have nothing else to look forward to. Your job becomes mechanical and you cannot find any joy in doing it.

If you are looking to grow and you see no opportunities in your current career, you might consider a career change, and get into a path that has more opportunities. This way, you get to be challenged afresh and work your way up.

A Decline In Your Current Industry

Career decline

As technology takes root in our daily lives, certain industries have experienced a sharp decline, which comes with a reduction in available opportunities or a complete redundancy of certain jobs.

For example, hard copy mail is increasingly being replaced by email. As such, jobs in the postal services are declining very fast and this means that jobs in that sector are almost being eliminated. Therefore, people is such a field may find it necessary to change careers since there are no more opportunities.



This is a common issue in some fields where people get in with high hopes and a drive to make a change, only to find that the field is completely different. This can cause you to lose direction and be demotivated, which can result in stress or poor performance.

For example, you studied law because you wanted to change lives by offering sound legal advice and services. However, when you start practising, you realise that most of the work involves writing briefs as opposed to actually going to court and getting cases to be resolved.

In such a case, you can become disillusioned and it is best to change careers and practice something more fulfilling.

If any of the reasons given above ring true with you, you better take the opportunity now.

What You Need To Consider Before Changing Careers

Whatever the reason you’re changing careers, it is imperative to consider these key things to guarantee a successful transition;

Life Impact

Life impact

In learning a new role, the evaluation of the new skills required and the investment in time to acquire the skills would take a huge chunk of your time. This may have an impact on how much attention you are able to give to your social circles and family responsibilities. Similarly, economically, you may not earn as much as you earned where you were considered a professional; you now are now considered an amateur. Is this a tradeoff you are willing to make?

Required Skills and Attributes

A change in career doesn’t necessarily mean change in skills and competencies per se, it could mean just wearing a different hat but working with the same skills. It may, however, require learning something totally new in order to position yourself for the new demands of the market in the role you want.

Therefore, it’s important to identify and develop the key skills for success in your new career. The difference between success and failure in the new career is determined by how much capacity you will have, in relation to what is needed in the role. Can you identify and rate your prowess in the skills needed in your new career? Are you convinced that you have what the market needs?

Runway Duration

Opportunity cost

Effective career change demands that you get guidance and support to learn the ropes, either through coaching and mentorship, going back to school or shadowing someone in the role.

Like a plane, any new career does take time on the runway before ‘taking off’. With this in mind, it would also be important to put your expectations in check. You cannot expect to hit the ground and acquire the recognition that you had in your previous career.

It takes time to prove your worth and earn a reputation and then the shillings can increase in value vis-à-vis your work. Are you ready for the wait, or will your patience run out midway?  

Secondly, once you are in a new field, you will need to build a whole new network of professionals with whom you can share experiences. It takes time to work your way into a network, this will be essential for knowledge sharing.  

Lastly, you must be adaptable to the rigours of the industry, the expectations of your would-be colleagues as well as to the new demands placed upon you.
Industry Research

Industry research

Are you looking for a career change due to the stagnation in the industry you are in? Then you need to understand the dynamics of the industry you are looking to move into before making the change.

A key consideration would be, whether there is growth prospect in that industry. The need to carry out thorough research on the sustainability and relevance of the industry’s long-term performance would be essential before making that move. There is no greater career tragedy than getting into an industry whose future is bleak.

Work Environment

Work environment

The psychological contract that you have with your workplace influences your commitment to your job. If you work in a place where you feel valued, where you have an impact on business performance, where you have good relations with your colleagues, where makes you come alive, then you would not want to change your career.

The policies that are implemented in your work environment, the people that you work with, the systems that enable you to perform as well as the workplace layout, have a huge impact on your job satisfaction. The work culture of the business is influenced by all those factors.

Career and Personal Benefits

Job benefits

Every job comes with its fair share of responsibilities and benefits, some unbelievably good while others not too good. While some jobs may not come with good packages, the empowerment they give you may be all that you need and enjoy. The chance to influence others through leadership and also through different resources can act as great personal benefits.  

Whatever your current career benefits are, they have a direct impact on your satisfaction in that career. Whilst changing careers, consider the things that you may have to forgo in the new career, and whether that trade-off would be worthwhile to you.

When the trade-off between what you were used to and what you are getting in the new career isn’t commensurate, there are high chances of disgruntlement. This slows down your uptake of the new role and puts you in a situation that would make you enjoy the change less.

In conclusion, changing careers can be risky. However, with proper consideration of life impact, having the required skills, the willingness to take care of the runaway duration, carrying out thorough industry research, considering work environment and career and personal benefits, you are well on your way to making the change rewarding.

Nicholas Odhiambo
Notification Bell