THE BLOG
01/04/2016 07:56 pm ET | Updated Jan 04, 2017

Changing Your Job - Is it Worth it?

A few years ago I hit a fork in my career road. Should I continue working in an organization where I felt undervalued and underappreciated - or leave and start over again? It was a gut-wrenching decision. For months, I went into work every day with a knot in my stomach. Most of us have been there at least once in our career. Something in our job is telling us to stay, and something else is pushing us to leave. The mental anguish is exhausting.

On one hand you want a more inspiring job, but on the other hand, you're afraid of decreasing your salary, or worse yet, that something goes dreadfully wrong in your new dream job and you suddenly find yourself unemployed.

Whether you're a marketing guru in the high-tech industry or a program manager in a fast-paced Fortune 100 company, you'll eventually ask yourself, "If I leave my current job will the risk be worth the reward?"

Personally, I've re-branded myself four times and each time with a higher paycheck. What I've experienced is that there are three critical challenges with re-branding and a few lessons learned to help you overcome them.

1. Does re-branding mean a salary decrease?
As a leading career coach, the number one biggest question I get asked is, "how can I re-brand myself without decreasing my salary?"

Each time I re-branded myself, I received a 15-34 percent higher paycheck. A client of mine, Mike, also just reinvented himself from a TV production manager to a high-tech production manager and received a 15 percent pay increase.

So how can you do it? First, choose a higher-paying industry. Some industries pay higher than others. For example, healthcare and high-tech industries typically pay more than the media and construction industries. When I switched from a marketing role in television to a marketing role in the finance industry, I received a 29 percent salary increase.

Next, you'll want to target the higher-paying companies. There are companies within the same industry that pay more than others so do some research and find out which companies have the highest wages. Finally, some job roles pay higher than others. For example, when I re-branded myself from being a marketing project manager to a technical project manager, I received a 34-percent salary increase. Do your homework and research high paying industries, companies and job roles on sites such as GlassDoor.com and Salary.com

2. What if I fail?
I understand fear. Each time I thought about re-branding myself I hibernated under the covers and mowed down pints of Haagen Dazs mocha almond fudge. Fear is very real. Fear of failure. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown.

The secret is giving yourself permission to go explore other career options, and then learning how to set yourself up for success. Use your job interviews as an opportunity to learn about the company's culture, management style, job scope and anything else that's important to you such as telecommuting, professional training or advancement opportunities. By asking the right questions, you'll be able to learn if the new job would offer you the right challenges and the right environment where you could thrive.

Also, just because somebody wants to hire you doesn't mean you should automatically accept the position. Many times, I've taken myself out of the hiring process because either the job or the manager weren't a good fit. You don't have to accept a job offer unless you want it.

3. What if I don't have the right stuff?
Moving into a different career requires that you have different skills and experience. So if you don't have the skills or experience, then you'll need to invest in yourself to get it.

If you're seeing that your dream job requires an advanced degree or certification, then invest in yourself and go get it. If you need some kind of specialized expertise or experience, then get it. A client of mine paid for a certification, and then he got his dream job. I joined a volunteer Board of Directors, and then I got my dream job.

It's your career. Own it. Drive it. Don't let somebody else sit in the driver's seat. And don't wait and think that you'll find a hiring manager to "take a chance" on you. That's a pipe dream. Invest your time, money and energy to get the training, education, and experience you need to re-brand yourself. When you step up and invest in yourself - job offers will follow!

And finally...
There's a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we're capable of doing. When you re-brand yourself into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you'll be successful in the job. When it comes to re-branding yourself, it's not just your skills and experience but your attitude that counts!

Take today's career poll: How often do you think about quitting your job?

Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, "The Bounce Back - personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback" was named "Best Career Book" by the Indie Book Awards. Her first book, "Career Smart - 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand" has been #3 on AMAZON's TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360, Sherri teaches training professionals, managers and executives how to change, reinvent or advance their career. Sign up for her new 3-part free video training series "15 Clever Ways to Get More Job Offers" at CareerCoaching360.com