One of the subjects that people who have been in a career for any length of time fear to discuss is whether they should change jobs. It is easy for someone right out of college to decide what they want to do and tackle it. It is still relatively easy for someone who has been in the workforce for less than five years to do the same. But, for a professional who has been in a career for more than five years and especially one who has been in a career for more than ten years, the question of changing careers, jobs or industries is a much more serious consideration.
This mantra of the career world has one limitation, you are now unemployed. When a person finds themselves out of work, they need to consider everything that is on the table. If they have wanted to, but been afraid to change jobs or careers, this may be the time. When you are making a specific income in your job because of your experience it is hard to consider taking a pay reduction and to start a new career or job title.
The one time that this can happen with less pain however is when you are unemployed. When you first find yourself out of work you need to sit down and evaluate your life and decide on a job search strategy. When you do so, you need to seriously answer the question of: “Do I want to continue doing what I do or would I rather be doing something else?” If the answer is continuing to do what you have been doing, then you are done and you only need to work on a job strategy that focuses on that job.
On the other hand, if you considered answering, “do something else”, then you need to see where your interests lie. Once you have decided what else is appealing to you, then you can take a legitimate look at that industry, that job title, and the companies that hire these positions and decide if there is a reasonable chance you could get a job doing just what you want to be doing.
Be realistic though. If you are a computer programmer and have been so for 15 years, you are most likely not going to get a marketing job unless you have connections and someone is willing to take a chance on you. If however you want to use this time of unemployment to start at the beginning again or to take a class or two that might make it easier to transition, then do it.
You only have a chance like this once. We are in a down market and economy right now, so this may be your one chance to change careers if that is what you are considering.