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I have been an accountant for many years, but I am being laid off next month. Iâ€™ve made good money in a comfortable environment, but Iâ€™ve hated my job for years. Iâ€™d really like to change careers, but I have a family to support. My spouse is afraid of what will happen if I follow my heart; Iâ€™m concerned about what will happen if I donâ€™t. What should I do?
If only there were an easy answer to this one.
No doubt your spouse has good reasons to fear what will happen if you change fields. You might need training, during which you may not be earning any money. Or you might take a part-time job during training, and not only earn less, but have less time at homeÂ as well. Will you be able to get a job in your new field once the training is completed? Might you go through all this and still go back to accounting if you canâ€™t find a job in the new field? Itâ€™s a tough economy; will you be able to keep your house and standard of living?
On the other hand, you have plenty of things to fear if you continue in accounting. Having the wrong job is sometimes a version of hell on earth. Being trapped in the wrong job, as you may well become, is worse. You may tend not to give it your best effort, so the likelihood of being promoted is reduced, and the likelihood of losing even this job is increased. How do you deal with stress? Is there any inclination to becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs? Depression is a real possibility too. You may come to resent your spouse for pressuring you (or at least encouraging you) to stay in a field you hate.
To add to your misery, you may have to abandon your dreams (possibly another version of hell.) You may always wonder if you could have made it as a (fill in the blank.) How will you deal with that?
Is there a way to have the best of both worlds? Can you do your dream job as a volunteer? Can you take your dream job, but perhaps get a temp job accounting during tax season if money is short? There are many possibilities.
Talk with your Career Specialist and do your research. Activate your network (the people you know.) Find out what the possibilities and realities are in your new field. Talk with your spouse; assess both your respective tolerances for risk and needs for safety. Lay all your cards on the table, and encourage your spouse to do likewise. Then make the best decision you can with the available information, and donâ€™t look back.