5 Factors To Consider When Changing Careers While You’re Still In Your 20s

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On the surface, changing jobs and switching careers can appear to be synonymous.

However, it’s only once you’ve committed and changed fields that the heaviness of that experience begins to sink in.

It’s unlike any reality you’ve become familiar with over the first 23 or 24 — or 27 or 28 — years of your life. And worse, the realization that you’re not prepared for any of it makes you think it’s a colossal mistake.

Next up is regret, followed soon by reconciliation. And by soon, I mean it could come in six months, a year or five — or it may never come at all.

That’s the difference: when you change a job (say, go from sales to operations), there’s a comfort level built in. You’re staying in the same company, you see the same people everyday in the same office, and your reputation remains “Craig, the three-year staffer,” and not, “Craig that new guy who used to do event planning and graphic design on the side and now decided the corporate world is for him.”

When making the decision to leap into a new industry — one that has nothing to do with your college major or anything you’ve been doing so far since graduation, it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons.

But let’s not short change this thing here: it’s a decision you’re only going to be making once or twice — at worst, three times — in the next decade. You need to get it right.

That’s why you need to consider these five factors when making a career switch in your 20s:

1. Gut

Going off impulse isn’t always the best way to make a crucial life decision but your gut is inexplicably tethered to your brain, which controls personal happiness so you have to listen to it.

I don’t know if that made any sense so I’ll simplify it: your first, gut reaction is usually the right one. Of course, it’s good to talk it out and evaluate your options but you can’t ignore what you felt before the verbalization started.

2. Cabinet

What you think the president is the only one who utilizes a group of advisors to assist him in carrying out difficult decisions and duties? Hell no.

We lean on others in these times of need because that’s what relationships are for — both personal and in business. Sure, there’s a fine line between the two but that doesn’t mean you can’t pose the same career dilemma to your high school trench buddy and your industry mentor.

They play a similar role, like how the Security of Defense and the Security of Homeland Security do for the president — just with different titles.

money flying out of wallet


3. Money

If you’re not considering it at least — the bonuses, the health care packages, the salary increases, the performance reviews, then you’re not doing your homework and you really are out of your element, Donnie.

The package, or the offer, is part of the decision. Don’t tell yourself otherwise.

4. Motivation

You’re going to have even less of this 10 years from now so this could be your time to make a move or you’re going to be 35 wondering how you’re still fiddling with mid-level accounts and you haven’t made a name for yourself.

It’s OK, buddy, none of us have yet.

5. Ego (also known as Pride)

The ego is a massive factor to consider when making a career shift — not just jumping from one comfortable job to another.

Why? Because its what’s been holding you in place — keeping you going on this mundane trek towards nothingness with the hopes that one day it’ll all be for something; that this whole process will be worth it, someday.

But self image is a tricky, complicated motherfucker. Because as the ego tells you’re significant and that you’re entitled to things like promotions or raises, it simultaneously, and relentlessly, beats you with the smug gratification that you can do better for yourself; that this job is not enough.

And that bros is why you’re considering a career change in the first place: your stupid fucking ego. Thank it, wipe your ass with it — I don’t care, just make sure you know its pressure will always be there. Even when you’re 50.