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What to Do When You find Yourself at The Career Crossroads

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Author: Catherine Trebble

Unlike a fork in the road, where there are only two paths to choose from, when you come to a crossroads in your career, you have three choices-left, right, or straight ahead. If you are unsure of which direction you should go, knowing more about your choices can be of great help.

Turning Right-New Job, Same Career

You may very well find that you are quite happy with your career but for whatever reason, need a new job. There are various reasons for needing to change jobs. Typical examples are having a boss that is very difficult to work for, you've lost your job due to downsizing, the commute to your job is taking its toll on you, the pay is too low, there is not much room for advancement within the company, you don't feel stretched or you have new family priorities and need to cut back your hours.

Whatever the reason, if you decide you need to find a new job within your current career, preparing yourself ahead of time and knowing how to go about the process will increase your chances of finding a new job that's right for you.

Turning Left-Starting Your Own Business

As someone who spent only a few years of my adult life working for other people, most of my life I've been self employed. I can tell you that at this stage I cannot even imagine being anything but working for myself. Not only am I my own boss and get to set my own hours, being self employed has afforded me the opportunity to always be here for my children-my number one priority in life.

With that said, I can tell you firsthand that starting your own business and being self employed can be very hard work-especially when first starting out. You need to get your head around the fact that there will be many lessons to be learned and many adjustments that one has to make along the way-both to your business and yourself.

You will also need to learn how to handle the various aspects of running a business, like finances and marketing. Mostly you'll find yourself learning these things along the way. For example, if you are somewhat on the shy side, it may very well be self employment that brings you out of your shell, mainly because you will learn that in order to achieve your dream of running a successful business of your own, you have to be assertive and put yourself out there. If you don't consider yourself a numbers person, taking the time to learn how to account for your income and expenses will help you to grow in that area.

The upside to being self employed can be brilliant, but be honest with yourself and research this topic thoroughly before you embark on this career choice.

Straight Ahead-Staying Where You Are

It could very well be that after assessing your situation further, you may find that you don't want to change careers or jobs-you want to stay right where you are and keep on trucking down the same path you have been on.

There is nothing wrong with staying where you are, as there are many reasons that a job or career change might not be right for you, at least not right now.

There are many outside factors that can cause you to have to stay where you are right now, even if you are unhappy. One reason could be the timing. It could be that you need to get your finances in order first, you need the medical benefits your current job provides and you can't afford to risk losing those benefits for whatever reason, or perhaps you just need more time to get other aspects of your life in order before you think about making a change.

It could also be that you've worked out that the unhappiness you thought was being caused by your job is actually related to something in your personal life. Perhaps you know now that if you resolve the real issues, the unhappiness it is causing you to feel will no longer roll over into your job and your life will be better all around.

Learning more about what makes you happy, how you feel about your current job, and taking stock of your life will help you connect the dots and create a clearer picture of the direction you need to take. This will help you determine if changing careers is what you need to do at this point in your life or not.

About the author: Copyright (c) 2010 Catherine Trebble. All Rights Reserved.

Changing careers can be just the boost you're looking for. It can also be a scary proposition, especially when you are a woman. The pressures and obligations we are under can make this a difficult challenge. Don't let these obstacles stop you from finding the job you love. Discover everything you need to know about changing careers at

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