It may seem like a rather big number, but according to recent studies, 53% of workers opted for a career change last year. A survey from Randstad found that feelings of unhappiness in the workplace were the biggest drivers of this decision, with 63% of respondents saying they were considering a change because they were unhappy with their current job. This was closely followed by a lack of career progression (52%) and low pay (46%).

Other studies have shown that the most common reasons for leaving a job are poor management, a lack of training and development opportunities, and a poor work/life balance. So, it’s apparent that people definitely have their reasons, but are there things you should keep in mind before stepping out into what must feel like the Great Unknown?

Let’s take a look at what a diverse collection of business leaders have to say on the topic.

1. Don’t Let a Temporary Situation Influence Your Future

In other words, don't let a bad day at work be the reason you start looking for a new job. We’ve all been there. You’re having a tough day/week/month at work and you start thinking, “I can’t do this anymore. I need to find a new job.” But before you start drafting your resignation letter, ask yourself this question: is it really the job that’s the problem, or is it just a result of something new, or even temporary adjustments?

Victor Mathieux of Miracle Brand adds, “Career changes must be carefully considered and planned out. You should have a good idea of what you want to do, and how that can affect your home/life balance. Build up a network of contacts in your new field, so you have support and advice when making the transition. Additionally, ensure you have the financial security to make a move, whether that means having savings or another income source.”

2. Explore Your Options With HR

If you're not happy with your current job, first talk to your boss or HR department. There may be opportunities for you to advance in your current company.

According to Alice Rowen Hall from Rowen Homes, “All in all, a career change can be a very positive thing, but it’s important to be certain that some of the same possibilities you’re looking for are not available with your current company. Many leaders are coming to understand that it’s crucial to have the right person in the right seat, and since it’s mutually beneficial, they’re typically more than happy to help you explore other opportunities within the company.”

3. Do Your Homework

It may seem simple to say, but you should always research before you make a decision. Make sure you know what the job market looks like for your desired field.

Additionally, be sure to:

  • Check if your skills are current.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate.
  • Be clear about your goals.

Andrej Kuttruf of EVAPO suggests, “Look online for employee reviews, especially those that are current and really go into detail. A company’s site may have mentions from their team, but you’ll find that the most honest statements come from other platforms. Just be mindful that some employees may have left on questionable terms, so don’t let this be the sole reason for deciding whether or not to pursue a new opportunity.”

4. Are You Ready to Start Over?

When you make a move to a new career, you are going to begin at the bottom. No matter how much experience you have in other areas, you will be starting from scratch in this new field. That means you will likely be working with people who may have more experience than you, and who may know their way around the company’s culture.

While this shouldn’t deter you from taking on a new career, it’s definitely a consideration.

Lilian Chen of Bar None Games elaborates, “A new career can definitely feel exciting, but just be sure that you’re ready for the big changes that will follow. Timing is everything when it comes to a major pivot in your life, so it’s crucial to be sure that even your personal life is in the right space for any challenges that may come your way. But ultimately, you can usually follow the signs when it’s time for that next chapter in your life.”

There May Never Be a Perfect Moment

Is there ever an ideal time to change careers?

As with most things in life, you must weigh the pros and the cons, and try to find a balance that you can live with. However, there are a few key factors to keep in mind that may make now a good time for you:

  • You've hit a ceiling in your current position.
  • You're no longer challenged or motivated by your work.
  • You're ready for a new and different challenge.

David Hatfield of Body and Soul Personal Training muses, “Too often, people are so busy waiting for the right moment to make a big change, that the opportunity completely passes them by. The average person experiences 41,000,000 minutes in their lifetime. Don’t waste even one wondering what might have been.”

And finally, don’t forget to follow your heart. If you’re truly unhappy in your current situation, a change may be exactly what you need to find positivity and success.