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Management Masterclass

By Christine Hayhurst, Chartered Management Instituteexternal link

Contact us for advice on your problems at work.

Q: "I'm fed up traveling down my current career path. Should I change direction?"

A: There has been a huge media focus on people giving up successful careers to do something less stressful or more "worthwhile": the PhD graduate who became a plumber and a city high-flyer who became a landscape gardener, to name just two.

Almost everyone feels disillusioned with their job from time to time, yet while changing career may be the best option, it is important to consider all your options and to make sure that you make the change for all the right reasons.

The Institute's own research has shown that going on holiday makes 45% of UK managers question their working lifestyle.

But to really assess your working lifestyle, you need to be clear about the circumstances in which you are considering a new direction. Is it one event which has caused you to question your current job or have you felt disillusioned for a long time? Satisfy yourself that you really do want a career change rather than just another employer.

Its also important to consider the financial implications of choosing a different career. Does the next job or profession offer you more than a reasonable chance of making a living? Can you afford to pay your bills until such time as your income builds back up to the current level?

What about re-training? If you need to attend a course full-time you will have to consider if you can you afford to go without income while you're learning new skills. If this poses a problem, hold-off making an immediate decision while you put some money aside.

Student days

And training doesn't just involve a financial cost. Cast your mind back to your student days and the long nights when studying for exams. Make sure you've considered what effect weekend study will have on your family, and social life.

Depending on the length of time you have spent in your current career, you may have moved up the corporate ladder. If you decide to change careers it is likely you will enter at the bottom of the hierarchy. Ask yourself if are you prepared to start again at the bottom, giving up the power and influence you may currently hold.

Once you've addressed the financial and social costs of changing jobs, the task is to ensure you make the right decision about what to do next. Research every aspect of a new career before you abandon your original choice. Try contacting suitable organizations and volunteer your time in exchange for a chance to really find out what the work involves. Speak to others in that profession to check that you aren't going to encounter the same issues in your new career that caused you to move from your old one.

Changing careers is not a simple decision but if you've made it for the right reasons, are able to afford the financial cots and have taken time to check you are suited to the new role, then you're likely to make the right move.

-- The Chartered Management Instituteexternal link shapes and supports the managers of tomorrow, helping them deliver results in a dynamic world. With 74,000 individual members and 500 corporate members, the Institute helps set and raise standards in management, encouraging development to improve performance.

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