Should I Change My Career? Three Questions to Help You Decide

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

“Should I change my career ?” This is a question I often hear – and I’m glad I do.

There is nothing worse –well almost nothing – than having the wrong career. Let’s face it, by the time you finish going to and coming home from work, working, planning on what to wear at work and thinking about work, how much more time do you really have? Maybe an hour to watch Law and Order.

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so make sure you enjoy as much of your day as possible. That’s why you have no excuse. Either find a career you love or change your career. So how do you know which job is right for you?

Simple. Ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Do you absolutely love what you do – or can you find something about what you do that you do love?

I don’t believe anyone is destined to do one thing. I believe we are all multi-talented. I also believe nothing is perfect. No job is perfect. But that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. If you don’t love what you do, is there something about what you do that you do enjoy? I know you want to make more money, but I also know it’s just not enough.

Let’s say you are a dental assistant. You might not like sticking your hands inside a saliva-leaking mouth. You might not like being cursed by the patients while they’re waiting to have their gum jackhammered or their pearly whites ripped out. But do you enjoy knowing you are helping people stay healthy? If that overall feeling doesn’t compensate and make you feel absolutely wonderful about getting up every day, you know it’s time to get out.

2. Do you love working with your clients/customers?

Anytime you work with people, it can be challenging. Sure there is always the P.I.A (pain in the arse) factor, but hopefully the people who make your job difficult are a minority.

Do you cross the street when you see clients or customers after work or do you give them your cell number and invite them over for Sunday tea? Do you look forward to seeing your clients on Monday morning? Do you run to answer their calls and consider voicemail a gift from heaven? If you don’t love your clients, get out.

3. Do you thrive in the structure?

You might love your work and clients but dislike the structure. For example, you might not dig the corporate scene. Or you might not like flying solo. Do you enjoy the way work flows, or does it drive you nuts? If you find the structure of your job torture, get out. Maybe it’s time to become an independent contractor.

Do you see what just happened? You have to love the work, the clients and the structure in order to be successful…and more important…to be happy.

If you’re not happy, you can’t be successful. That goes for employees and people who want to have their own successful business.

Certainly, there may be some things you can change. But there are core realities when it comes to work. Things that can’t be changed. For example, you might love your clients and the structure of working as a dental assistant, but if you can’t stand the sight of bleeding gums, you’ll be miserable if you continue.

This is a pretty simple analysis, but I stand by it. If you answer “no” to any of the questions above, you should investigate a new career.

Are there other considerations? Do you think this is a fair analysis? What have I missed?



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