Home Self Goals New Job or New Career: Planning Your Next Move in a Tough...

Today’s post is by Kate Manning.

Growing up, most children imagine themselves in a job they love. Many children dream of becoming a rock star, professional athlete, doctor, or even as a banker and living an exciting and luxurious lifestyle. Unfortunately, reality can sometimes be quite different. Not every adult finds himself or herself in a job they adore. Luckily, if you dread going to work every morning you don’t have to be stuck in a job you hate. There are a number of options that neatly everyone can take advantage of to improve the quality of their career.

If you find that you are dissatisfied with your job, you many wonder whether you should begin the search for a new job or change career paths entirely. However, as most people are aware, the current state of the economy does not make it easy to switch jobs. According to an article in the New York Times, there are simply not enough job openings for workers to be unconcerned about quitting a job they do not enjoy. Clearly the decision to begin looking for another job or to change career fields is not one to be taken lightly.

Therefore, if you start to question whether you should begin exploring a new career or find a different employer, you need to scrutinize your options. Many times professionals need to obtain additional training when deciding to pursue a different career. For example, an insurance agent that decides to pursue a career in nursing will need to go back to school to become certified or licensed as a nurse. This means that the individual will be forced to take out a loan, unless they can afford to pay for their training, as well as find time to go to school. Although it is possible to go back to school while working, it certainly is not always easy.

It is also important to remember that once you complete any required training, you will actually need to find a job. According to Laura Peterson at USA Today, less than 44 percent of employers were planning to hire new graduates to fill positions in their company in 2010. This is much less than the 58 percent of employers the were looking for new graduates in 2008 and the 79 percent considering new grads in 2007.

Considering that there were over 2.4 million graduates, armed with their bachelor’s and associates degrees, hoping to enter the workforce in May, things are not looking good. This is not even taking into account adults that have earned other certifications, which would push the number of graduates even higher. The bottom line is that competition is fierce, especially for those entering the workforce or hoping to enter into a new career field.

However, some adults may not need to obtain additional training to change career paths. Many people have acquired skills at their current job that could be very useful in a new field. As long a position does not absolutely require a specific license, degree or certification, changing career paths may be similar to finding a different job in the same field. This simply depends on the individual, their experience and their goals, as well as their ability to identify and sell these skills to a new employer.

The most important thing that you must understand is that because unemployment is so high (at 9.1 percent as of December 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) employers are able to be much more selective when hiring new applicants. One of the main things that employers want in new employees is experience. If you dislike your job, you may want to consider looking for a new job in your current field, as you don’t have experience on your side. However it is also important to consider that the competition for jobs is only continuing to grow. Therefore, if you have your heart set on a change of career, the time to act may be now.

What do you think? In a tough economy should young professionals take a job or wait for a career?

4 replies to this post
  1. I graduated in December after not working any job, except the occasional freelance gig, for the entirety of my senior year…I was eager to accept the first position that came my way…but, instead, I was patient…I scrapped the Craigslist Gigs section…freelance sites….and waited out the frying pan i was in until I could jump to something worthwhile…I landed something within a month, but it felt like longer.

    Good jobs are out there for those who are dedicated to being excellent, patient and who treat “looking for a job like their full-time job.”

  2. Right after I graduated in December 2008 with an bachelor’s in journalism, I took a job with a nonprofit for which I interned during my last semester. It wasn’t my ideal job; I just hoped to gain some real-world experience — plus a steady paycheck — before moving in a year’s time to find a more “relevant-to-my-degree” job. But you can’t predict the future. A better position in the office opened up five months into my gig as an executive assistant. While I hemmed and hawed the pros and cons of added responsibilities (a.k.a. stress) and more money, I’m so glad I decided to apply. Now I’m using my degree and doing something I love. Plus, I’ve learned some great skills that have led to a new passion (website design) that I’m able to pursue outside the 8-5.

    That being said, I agree with Lizzie. The job I took did involve some tasks related to what I wanted out of a career. I didn’t just take any ol’ job. And I think it really does pay off for those who treat “looking for a job like their full-time job.” One of my co-workers moved to town in December ’09 and spent several months hunting for employment before she landed a job at our office in May ’10, doing something she also loves.

  3. I think that it really comes down to two things for new grads. 1. How long can you afford to wait for a career? 2. How long do you want to live with mom & dad. I am sure the answers to those questions are frustrating for new grads after they just spent a bundle of money on a degree that is of little help, at least in the current job market.
    For some, there is no choice to wait for a career and must find an income where they can. For other’s that decide to wait and keep applying, they could be missing out on valuable work experience, even if it is not directly related to their field of study.

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