Are you considering the jump to a new career? It’s not uncommon to make several career changes in a lifetime. With each move you’ll be one step closer to finding that perfect job.

With this decision comes a modicum of risk however that shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes a simple lapse in common sense can have disastrous repercussions. To help you avoid making simple errors, here are 5 common mistakes often made during stressful career changes that you should avoid:

Mistake 1: confusing a job change with a career change

Before you make the leap to an entirely new career path you must ask yourself if it’s your career path you’re unhappy with, or just your current job.

It’s not uncommon after a little reflection to realize that you don’t dislike your career, you might just not like your current role or employer. Maybe you don’t like the work environment (some prefer large organizations, while some prefer working in small close-knit teams), current employer (different employers use different leadership strategies that may or may not conflict with the way you work) or small details of your current role (you may be required to undertake duties not directly related to your role that you find frustrating).

So, if you’re unhappy, consider first taking your expertise to another business in the industry. Ask yourself what it is that makes you unhappy. It might be that all you need is a new job.

Mistake 2: Idealizing your new career

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a new career will solve all your problems. This is more difficult than it seems, especially when your current role has you at your wit’s end.

You might just find that your chosen career just isn’t quite as good as you imagined it to be.

Be realistic and understand that it’s still work. Very few people in the world are fortunate enough to have a job that doesn’t feel like working. Talk to people in your chosen industry to get a good idea of what day-to-day life will be.

Mistake 3: Not planning finically

Realistically, making a career change usually means accepting a cut in pay. You likely won’t have the experience and skills to command a high salary and you’ll have to take several years to work your way back to an equivalent role.

This means that you’ll have to plan ahead. Find a way to reduce overheads, save some money in anticipation of the move or consider taking up a part-time on the side.

Pre-planning will make the whole ordeal much less stressful.

Mistake 4: Not understanding the change process

The process of finding a job in your new career will probably be long and challenging. You might think you’ll find a new job in a month or two, but in current economic conditions, finding a job that you’re satisfied with may take years.

When you do find a new job, you must accept the fact that you’ll probably be answering to someone higher up than you. They may even be several years younger than you, so you’ll need to swallow your pride and accept the fact that you’re not the expert anymore.

Mistake 5: Taking your friend’s advice 

Making a career change must be your decision. If you’re unhappy in your current role and are looking for something new, do something that speaks to you. Never make a change because someone else thinks you should.  Your friends may love working in finance/healthcare/legal etc. But if that’s not something that ever appealed to you, don’t make a change based on their say-so.  

Do something that suits your personality, your hobbies and your interests. Not anyone else’s.