Overcoming the Four Major Barriers to Career Change


Changing careers is not a simple task to accomplish. For many professionals, it means giving up premium salaries, job perks, benefits, and even colleagues. However, all of those things are details, nothing more. If you are truly good at what you do, you will be just as good (if not better) at a career that you truly enjoy.

Overcoming the obstacles to career change is a daunting task, and many people who would love to switch professions don’t simply because they’re afraid at failing in the process. In reality, there are four major barriers to overcome, and each can be handled with the right amount of planning and diligence.

  1. Loss of income. When you switch careers you can expect to lose your income for a short period while you are transitioning from one job to the next. This may be a complete loss of income or a transition to a significantly lower paying job.In either situation, the only way to be able to handle this effectively is to ensure that you have at least four months worth of living expenses saved that you can draw upon during the process. You should also try and pay off as much as your debt as possible before you make the change so that you have less obligations during your transitional period.
  2. Loss of authority. Many professionals have spent years moving up the ladder to positions that have prestige or authority, such as management positions. When you change careers you may not change to a position that is of equal significance in your new career.This is to be expected, after all, as you have not put in the legwork for that particular career path. The only way to handle this is to accept what you cannot change and embrace what you can- like anything, you will move up over time.
  3. Loss of respect among peers. If you choose to leave your marketing position to become social worker you can expect some level of resentment among your current peers. Ignore their comments- you’re making the change for yourself, not for them.
  4. Lack of understanding by friends or family. At the end of the day, it is your support system that is going to make a huge difference in whether or not you succeed at your endeavors. They don’t need to understand you or your reasons for making the change, only that you are doing it.Don’t sweat the small stuff. Unless your wife or husband is threatening to leave you because of your career change you have no reason to stress; you’re changing careers because you want to, and no one else needs to understand that but you.

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6 thoughts on “Overcoming the Four Major Barriers to Career Change

  1. Ha I’ve been self-employed, and I work for large companies on contract basis now.. the stability or the high wages may not be there but the freedom is there.
    I’ve done design, project marketing, mailout campaigns, currently working as Director of Marketing for 1 company, and soon to transition to director of operations for another for a few more months.. and on top of that I still own my design & marketing company which does the smaller contracts here and there.
    for me transition is a given and that’s what I love about it. I guess the transition is hard when you’re employed and have obligations to meet for family, wife, kids, etc.

  2. I would imagine these things would take affect. Especially loss of authority. It would suck getting very great authority after working years at a buisness and then one day you lose it all.

  3. Currenlty, i have less income and i work as freelance, but i believe one day people look forward to work with me. I try to improve my skills on Troubleshooting issues. Good communication with client comes first for new targets. Before climbing ladder everyone starts at A and tries to reach Z.

  4. What really matters is that you are happy with your career. You are the one who has to do your job every day. If you would be happier in a different career field, go for it!
    If your friends, your family, your peers, etc. want to crticize your decision … that is their problem, not yours!
    The worst thing you can do for yourself is stay in a job that isn’t right for you just to make other people happy.
    If everyone else in your life thinks your job is so great, maybe one of them will take the job after you leave!

  5. These barriers that you have identified have different weight depending on one’s station.
    i.e., a married person with children may be influenced much more by the loss of income than the loss respect among their peers or loss of authority. This person’s “identity” is more apt to be derived by their family relationships than their employment.
    On the other hand, a single person may be able to deal with the financial impact but would find the loss of authority or respect of peers.

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