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Dear Julia,

Should I switch my career in the middle of a pandemic?



Hi J!

That’s a great question. It’s always tricky when looking at career switches and the pandemic doesn’t make that decision any easier. However, that is not to say that it isn’t doable and even necessary for your health and wellbeing.

There are a lot of factors to think about in terms of career switches. I, myself, have actually gone through a career switch and it was one of the most grueling, challenging yet incredibly satisfying and positive choices I have made. Now I didn’t do it in a pandemic, but I did learn a few things:

  • Get Clear on What You Want – This seems obvious, but it truly is not. Often when we’re thinking about career switches it’s because we’re in a situation that isn’t making us happy and can even be stressing us out to the point where our health is on the line. This type of stress throws us into survival mode and we start looking at random opportunities that get us out of the space that we’re in. Take time for yourself to think about what makes you happy in life. Not just work but overall. What are the common themes that seem to come back to you time and time again? Follow your intuition and patterns.
  • Take Time and Space Away – Speaking of survival mode, you may also be feeling overwhelmed with emotion because maybe what was once a dream career is fizzling or you’re having work drama with other employees or your supervisor. Though we’re all stuck at home in the middle of a pandemic, use your paid time off and spend that time to figure out what is the root of your unhappiness in that space. Is it the actual work you’re doing or just the environment?
    • If it’s the environment but the work is still interesting, maybe it’s not a whole career switch but looking at other companies that have a different culture.
    • If it’s the work, well, that paints a different path. If you like the environment you’re in but not the role, look at the roles that you are interested in doing and start seeing how you can incorporate that type of work into what you’re already doing. This can help set you up for a successful transition either within the company or allow you to add those skills to your resume to make your switch elsewhere.
  • Okay so you did the first two and you realized that you definitely need to change your career path. Congratulations! I have good news for you – companies are STILL hiring! Yes, hiring has slowed a bit but hope is not lost. This is also a great time to look at companies that are “pandemic proof” – meaning, companies that are necessary even during times like the ones we are currently living in. Also, PLR put together a couple of resources for job seeking during a pandemic so be sure to check those out.

All to say, I don’t think you should let the pandemic get in the way of your career switch. While it is a tough job market right now and maybe you can’t just up and quit your job, you can set the foundation to start looking for the next opportunity in a different sector or industry. You may need a bit more ramp up time than typically allotted for career switches but you should definitely pursue it if you’re finding yourself unhappy with where your career is going. Life is too short to waste on a job that is holding you back from achieving your maximum potential. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not going to be easy but your happiness is worth it and you deserve this.