Changing career is a big deal. It’s likely to be something you’ve thought about when lying awake at night. It’s also likely to be something you’ve fantasised about when dealing with your overzealous boss or a difficult customer.

But, as I’m sure you know, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Yes, taking a gamble often pays off, but what you don’t hear about – because such stories are uninspiring – are all the times somebody has switched jobs then regretted it. These stories are less common, but not everyone who jumps ship loves every second of their new working life.

There’s no way to look into the future to see what awaits. It’s pretty obvious therefore that nobody can say with certainty that a career change is a good idea. Still, you can put the odds of making the right decision in your favour by considering five things. What five things, you ask? These five things:

The Economic Environment

Bill Clinton famously said the economy was the most important thing for a person to consider (“its the economy, stupid”).

If you weren’t old enough to remember the 1992 presidential elections, or if you don’t much care for US politics, you may not have heard Bill’s famous slogan. Nonetheless, it still applies, even today, and even to you.

The strength of the economy will make changing careers easier or harder for you. During favourable economic conditions, you’re likely to be able to find a new job and even a new job after that if the first one doesn’t work out. During unfavourable economic conditions, you may find yourself walking into a mini nightmare if you decide to switch your job. Job losses, pay cuts, and even reduced hours are all a possibility when working in a recession-hit industry.

If you want to change company or industry, know the health of both before jumping ship.

Your Expectations

Your reasons for changing job will go a long way to deciding whether or not such a move is a success or not. For example, if your current pay isn’t enough, if you’re treated poorly in the office, and if workforce morale is low, deciding to change jobs and go somewhere else is probably a good idea, as all of those things aren’t considered ideal for a person’s wellbeing.

If, however, you envision lots of money for little work in your new job, you may find that reality doesn’t quite live up to that expectation. Make sure you know the facts about what a move would involve. Don’t rely on expectation alone.

Suitability

Depending on the type of change you want to make, a simple switch might not be on the cards. If you want to go from working in admin to counselling young children in schools, you’re going to have to go

through several years of training to reach that point.

Ok, so the above example is a little drastic, but I’m sure you get the picture. Career changes often involve re-training, and maybe even re-education. Are you suitable for your desired role, or do you need to train? How difficult will that be? How long will it take? Are you prepared to make the sacrifice?

Finances

If you’re an older worker and have been in employment for a number of decades, you can probably remember when there were an abundant amount of jobs, just waiting to be snatched up. How different life looks in the 21st century.

Nowadays, getting a new job can be a long and arduous process. Even if you’re fully qualified and have experience, you may still have to wait a while to be offered a position, and may still be asked to do month-long trials, or even offered a permanent role on a temp-to-perm basis. Ask yourself: Can my finances handle this time out of work? If they can’t, you may have to put your plans on ice, or make your transition into a new field a little slower and more organic.

And Finally, Consider Yourself!

As a London career coach, I meet countless people, yet they all have one thing in common: They all want to be happy with their job.

Sometimes, these people are highly successful executives feeling weary whilst others are in dead-end situations. They’re on zero hour contracts, they’ve experienced pay freezes, they’re undervalued, they’re uninspired. These people would do well to work on changing careers. Some people, however, blame their job for other shortcomings.

If you’re not earning as much as you’d like to be, and if you’re not appreciated in the way you’d like to be, is the problem your job, or is it something else? Knowing the answer to this question will help you plan your next move with a whole lot more certainty.

Our 1 day career change retreats in London may be of interest: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/career-design-coaching-7676680219