7 Questions to Ask When You’re Thinking About a Career Change

Making a career change as an adult can be extremely tricky. Not only do you likely have a lot more financial responsibility than you had when you were younger, you also have inertia working against you. It can be tough to jump all-in to a new career when you already have your entire life built around your old one. But when deep career dissatisfaction happens (and it’s not just that you need a vacation), remaining in place isn’t a good option either.

If you’re considering a career change, grab a journal or notebook and answer these 10 questions to help you decide your next move. Give yourself plenty of time to find the answers… This isn’t a one-night decision!

1. What is dissatisfying about my current career?

First, think about what you don’t want. If you’re thinking of making a career change, there’s probably a good reason. Write down exactly what is leaving you dissatisfied, and make sure to make the distinction between being dissatisfied with your JOB and being dissatisfied with your CAREER. There’s a huge difference.

2. What are my passions, and what is my purpose?

Many people confuse personal passions with purpose. Your purpose in life is usually a broad theme, such as teaching others, organizing plans and programs, or creating art. Passions are very different. Just because you love watching documentaries about health doesn’t mean you should become a doctor. Distinguish between your real purpose in life and your personal passions, and allow your passions to remain hobbies rather than career paths.

3. What careers allow me to live my purpose?

Now, make a list of career that enable you to live purposefully. For example, if you feel like your purpose is to lead people, list out careers such as business professional, entrepreneur, store manager and nonprofit organizer.

4. Pick the top three most attractive careers. How much will it cost to make the switch?

Now, it’s time to start thinking about specifics. Pick your top three favorite careers, based on your life purpose. List out the amount of education and training it will take, and factor in how long you will be experiencing a paycheck gap.

5. How will I pay my daily expenses?

Now, brainstorm ways that you can pursue your new career while still making your financial commitments. Some options include student loans, downsizing to a cheaper home, working a part-time job, or only attending school part-time. Be realistic about what you’re willing to take on.

By now, a clear winner may have emerged from your list of potential careers. Move forward with the top candidate for the next few questions.

6. What is my back-up plan?

Sometimes, even the best laid plans fall through. Make a list of what you will do if the career doesn’t turn out to be what you’d thought, or you’re unable to find a job in your new field. Perhaps the new degree or certification you’re obtaining can serve you in other lines of work.

7. What are my next steps?

By now, you have all the information you need to make your decision. Now’s the important part: List out the steps you need to take, including the most mundane ones (such as creating a resume, having lunch with a career counselor or obtaining letters of recommendation). List out all of the steps you need to take and attach “due dates” to each activity. Now all that’s left to do is accomplish your dreams!

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Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Ida J
Ida J10 months ago

Thank you

David C
David C10 months ago

thanks.....what does my partner think? can I still take care of my responsibilities? will this satisfy my issues/angst/struggles?

Emma Z
Past Member 10 months ago

thanks for sharing

Carole R
Carole R10 months ago


JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris10 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

Ruth S
Ruth S10 months ago


Jan S
Past Member 10 months ago

Thanks for this

Chrissie R
Chrissie R10 months ago

Thank you for posting, though I would never dream of changing my career.

Danuta W
Danuta W10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.