Ever thought about taking your career in a new direction? A new survey and blog series can help you determine which steps to make to build your new and improved career.
Have you ever thought about taking your career in a whole new direction?
If you’ve felt paralyzed by uncertainty or didn’t even know where to start your transition, don’t worry — this hesitation is common.
FlexJobs is focusing on career changes this summer, and the findings of their latest survey indicate that career-change issues are worth watching over the next few years.
More than 70 percent of people would change careers if they could get better flexibility, FlexJobs learned from a survey of 1,000 participants. In fact, work-life balance clocked in as a top reason to change careers, at 59 percent. Other big reasons included desire to do meaningful work, escaping the stress of the current career, and money. If you can believe it, fewer than 40 percent of respondents listed money as a motivator — it turns out other perks tend to be more important to us.
Why don’t more people change careers?
So why don’t more people take the leap to a new career? While the lure of a better paycheck isn’t a major factor in choosing a new career, finances play a big part in deciding when and how to take the first step, FlexJobs found. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed cited money as a reason for hesitating, while career training and a general sense of not knowing how to begin followed closely.
The study also notes that changing careers isn’t just a concern for one age group. Twenty-six percent of respondents were in their 30s; 33 percent were in their 40s, and 25 percent were in their 50s. Only six percent of respondents reported working an entry-level position, indicating that our desire for a career change usually takes place after a person has gotten some work experience and grown in their industry. (Click here to tweet this quote.)
And, since FlexJobs focuses on remote, part-time and freelance work opportunities, it should come as no surprise that 46 percent of those surveyed who want to change careers would prefer to telecommute. Twenty percent would be satisfied with a more flexible schedule in general.
The survey results kicked off FlexJob’s 100 Days on Jobs for Career Changers — a blog devoted to the topic. Some of the posts so far include a quiz to determine whether it’s time for a change, and a highlight reel of high-paying, low-stress jobs.
Career changes can be gradual
Career changes have come into focus now especially because we’re living longer lives, and in many cases putting off retirement. don’t end at 55 anymore, and many workers seek a satisfying mid-life change.
But a career change doesn’t have to be a 180-turn from your previous experience. The latest reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show we’re staying in our jobs for about 4.5 years before moving onto a new company. If you work for 50 years and change jobs that often, you could end up with 10 or 11 jobs in your lifetime. And job number nine might look very different from what you were doing in jobs two and three.
Career expert Roman Krznaric recommends a healthy dose of experimentation for those considering a career change. “Branching projects” that differ from your usual work within your field can help you get a taste of what your colleagues are working on, or what a different routine might be like. Alternately, you can take on these branching projects in your personal life, through weekend classes or by building a hobby that’s tied to the work you might like to do in the future.
Have you ever considered a major career change? What held you back or pushed you toward the change?
Lisa Rowan is a writer, shop owner, and podcaster living in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @Lisatella.