Imagine: You're working as a data analyst at one of the Fortune 100 companies in the world. You don't love your job, but you don't dislike it either. Your supervisor is kind and your colleagues are full of energy and positivity. You are being paid extremely well, and you enjoy many perks including flexible work hours, a company-only gym, and a personal office space! To top things off, you are on track to be promoted next month and your salary will rise significantly. What a life!
One day, you bump into an old colleague of yours in a coffee shop. For the past 10 years, he's been working as a data analyst just like you. However, he’s taken on a new sales job recently and according to him, “it's the best decision I've ever made!” After hearing his story, you suddenly realize that a career in sales is what you're really passionate about! Going into your promotion next month, and your 5th year as a data analyst, what do you do? If you do decide to pursue a career in sales, your salary and benefits may not be guaranteed. You could fail miserably. Should you throw away your stable income and chase a brand-new career in a territory that you’ve never set foot on before?
It’s a tough decision. Considering the number of things you will lose out on if you make the switch, most people would probably stay and get promoted. After all, you risk going into another industry or role and ending up with a lower salary that you are making now. You don’t even dislike your data analyst job, so why switch? While it is true that what happens after you make the switch is unpredictable and risky, it’s also worth weighing how passionate you are about the proposed career change. There’s no right or wrong decision.
Here’s what I suggest. Instead of thinking about whether to make the switch or not, think about your life in the longer term. When you are 65 years old and approaching retirement. Looking back on your career, what do you see, feel, think, and remember? Ultimately, you want to feel as little regret as possible. The last thing you want to do is look back and say to yourself, “Man, I wish I would've done that!” Life is a journey, and you only get to do it once. When you make a decision, think about the big picture. Short term gains are exactly that; they fulfill you in the short term. Choosing what really matters to you has long term benefits that you don't even realize yet.