How to Know It’s Time for a Career Change

Two years ago I made a big career change: I gave up my full-time job with benefits to become a full-time freelance writer and editor. As I’ve talked with my friends throughout the past couple of years, many of them have wondered, too, if they should continue on their current career path or if it’s time to make a change. They ask me how I knew it was time to make the change in my career. For me, it was simple: I realized I wasn’t becoming the person I wanted to be personally or professionally.

The realization

Once I made this realization, I did some soul searching about what career path would provide the income I needed but also enable me to just be me. I love writing and editing and had always dreamed of being able to make a living as a freelance writer and editor. I talked to some former employers who knew my abilities to see what they thought and get an idea if they had a need for freelancers. I talked with my husband about how it might work.

In the end, I knew deep down that this was the best choice for me at this time in my life and my husband supported me. And two years later, I’m so glad I made the change. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding career change.

The plan for change

If you’re thinking about changing jobs, like some of my friends are, I encourage you not to do it on a whim or because there’s one coworker you can’t stand, but to take a step back to really think it through and do some self-reflection. Trust your gut feeling, and then make a plan of action.

The plan doesn’t have to be super-detailed. If you decide to stay at your current job, identify a few things you can do to improve your current work situation (perhaps talk with your boss about doing an extra assignment in an area in which you want to gain more experience, reach out to other coworkers to expand your professional network or simply turn your phone off when you get home so work doesn’t stress you out during your personal time).

If you decide to change jobs, identify a couple of things you need to do to prepare for your career change (such as save up some money, start making contacts, update your resume or LinkedIn profile, start applying to jobs, etc.).

I know it’s not always as simple as making a decision or making a plan. But it’s a place to start so you can be who you want to be personally and professionally.

Perhaps you, my blog readers, have experience with this. What advice do you give your friends thinking about making a career change?


Dana McCullough is a freelance writer and editor who frequently writes, edits, copy-edits, and proofreads content for magazines, blogs, websites, books, and more. She is the owner of Dana’s Creative Services. Twitter: @DanasCreative

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