Recently, I made some major career changes. I quit my job with a major non-profit, which was a decision a long-time overdue. While I didn’t necessarily enjoy leaving my job and everything that came with it, it was something that had to happen sooner or later. I was suffocated by an overbearing boss, my professional skills were atrophying and there was no recourse within my organization. So I left.
After a lot of deep thought, I decided to return to school to earn a Master’s of Business Administration. Both of these decisions did not come without much deliberation, both with myself and with those closest to me.
Below are some examples of those conversations. I write them out so that you can be confident about moving from one field to another if you need to.
- You’re worried that people will think of you differently. In several different groups of friends, I was the guy who knew all there was to know about politics and government. People would get into an argument about Obamacare or whatever else, and eventually the room would get quiet, and the conversation would turn to me to settle the matter, as if I were a judge. With this change in careers, I worried that the way people thought of me would change. I worried a lot about finding a new “place” amongst friends. At the end of the day, your friends are your friends for a reason and they don’t care what you do professional, as long as you don’t change as a person.
- The cost of XXX is so high! In America, the bottom line is all that matters. Quitting my job and giving up my salary was very difficult, yes. Returning to school will pile on student loans to that cost analysis. However, I’ve read places that quitting your job early on will lead to much more productivity during your prime years of productivity. You’ll make up the salary you lost, the loans you are piling on, because you’ll actually be able to dedicate yourself to your new career path.
- Happiness has no cost. One phrase that kept coming up during my decision-making process were “intrinsic” versus “Extrinsic” rewards.” Extrinsic rewards are the things mention above—adulation of your peers, money, social standing—that come from elsewhere. Intrinsic rewards are the ones that come from inside—happiness, fulfillment, and so forth. For me, changing careers and going back to school makes me the adult professional that I envision—it’s the last step in me becoming the person I envision. My choice boiled down to that, so it wasn’t much of a choice at all.
If you are thinking about a career change, consider the cost and your potential job market, for sure. But, ask yourself the question, “Is this essential for me and my growth as a person and a professional?” If yes, you already have your answer.