General Question

mirifique's avatar

Should I leave a secure but possibly unsustainable career for a riskier but potentially rewarding one in a new domain?

Asked by mirifique (1540points) December 9th, 2016

I’m currently making a great salary in an industry and role I’ve had for 10 years. It’s stable, secure, and interesting, but due to its professional service nature is also stressful, reactive, and I don’t have much control over my projects. I’d also have to go back to school for 3 years in order to ensure career longevity. However, I now have an opportunity to work under a former, trusted colleague at a new part of the company, but in an entirely new role and career path. The specific domain is completely new, and the role is too; I’d be losing my old expertise, knowledge and relationships. I’m 35 and about to be married and start a family; it feels risky to make this move, particularly with the political uncertainty, but in the long term, I know I need to make a jump like this. But it is risky and I have a lot to lose; and I’d have to master a new domain quickly. I work for an excellent company but stuff could get restructured. Would prefer to not give more details so as to preserve anonymity. Thanks in advance.

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13 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

I hate to be that guy. But by asking you already know what you want to do and are looking for confirmation.

The best person to ask this question to is your future spouse.

Zaku's avatar

If the new thing fails, could you still fall back to the old one?

imrainmaker's avatar

Like @johnpowell said opinion of your spouse will be critical. Is she supporting this decision or opposing? What if it doesn’t go as planned? Will you be able to sustain using your and her income till it gets back to normal? These are the questions you may have to ask yourself and decide based on the answers.

mirifique's avatar

@johnpowell what makes you think I’m asking what I already know? I don’t, hence the question.
@zaku, potentially. 60% chance. Vacancies for my current role are filled quickly.

Stinley's avatar

Take the chance. You can get back into your old field if it doesn’t work out but you might never get another chance to do the new thing.

janbb's avatar

Is the decision only yours to make? I think talking it through with your prospective spouse makes sense but I imagine you are doing that. I have the sense that you are excited by the new prospect and that it is a good opportunity so you may want to give it a try. In my experience, it’s probably unrealistic to think you can get your old job back again after you’ve left but you may well be able to get a new job in your old field.

Does this tie in to your question about Seattle versus SF? Again, how does this effect your fiancee? I could well imagine the Seattle area being a wonderful place for a family to put down roots.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

”...but in the long term, I know I need to make a jump like this…”

You’re telling us that a career change is a matter of when, not if. At some point, you’ll have to leave your current situation and pursue something different. Why wouldn’t you make the move now, when you can work for a known, respected, and trusted person? Also, you mention that you’re about to get married and start a family; it’s no secret that job changes are much riskier and more difficult when someone’s already responsible for young, fully-dependent children.

Just like @johnpowell, I hate to be the person who says that you already know what to do and are seeking confirmation. So, I’ll skip the “already know” part and go right to the part of reassuring you – good luck with the new situation, and please give us some updates.

mirifique's avatar

@Love_my_doggie well, I’m not saying it truly is “when”. To be honest I was expecting some replies along the lines of “you should appreciate what you have and stay in your current role, particularly during this time of political instability.” If the economy were more stable, I wouldn’t feel so much insecurity, but as it stands, I’m trying to calibrate a bit against where we are now.

johnpowell's avatar

You do realize that you gave me shit for assuming that you wanted confirmation and then five replies down said that that you were actually looking for confirmation.

mirifique's avatar

@johnpowell expecting isn’t the same as seeking.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yeah it is. That said I did this very thing a year and a half ago. I was an expert in an obscure niche in my field but it was stressful, unstable and wearing me down. I moved to a different branch of my field and it ended up being a career change since I’m practically starting from square one. I have learned quite a bit in a year and a half but am no expert in this new area. If I want to go back to what I did before the clock is ticking. Honestly we can’t answer this for you. I will say that if you an learn new things it’s usually better in the long run.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@mirifique “during this time of political instability”

What era has been politically stable? While the Cold War was raging? During Jim Crow and racial uprisings? When JFK had to manage the Bay of Pigs incident? When Richard Nixon resigned and left the country with an unelected president and vice president? As we watched airplanes crash into three iconic U.S. buildings?

Yes, I’m terrified about what lies ahead for the next 4 years. But, I can’t recall any time in my life when I’ve thought – things are fine and stable, and I’m confident they’ll remain so.

You posted a question and asked for thoughts about your situation. People gave you their time, read your words carefully, and offered comments. Now, you’re disappointed that you didn’t get the answers you were “expecting”?!?!

I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your job choice and hope everything will turn out well; I truly do.

mirifique's avatar

There’s much backlash on the word “expecting”. I meant it not as “this is what I wanted” but rather “this is what I think will happen/what I predict”. Two different meanings. I meant what I said: expecting a certain response is not the same as seeking advice. I was simply being transparent about what I predicted but I am asking for advice all the same and effectively polling the community here. You can say I was seeking affirmation of what I wanted, but that becomes moot once “poll results” come in—who cares what I wanted to hear when I see your responses? I’m not arguing against any particular response.

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