Nov 10, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Welcome to the new normal.

It’s no secret that millennials are job hoppers. Over 42 percent of millennials change jobs every one- to three-years.

What does this mean? Employee retention challenges employers in ways they’ve never had to anticipate before.

While the single career path isn’t dead, it’s more likely that people will change jobs at least once.

Let’s take a closer look at why so many people are changing jobs, and how you should prepare yourself to switch careers at least once in your lifetime.

Why are there so many career changes?

1. It’s part of the economic model   

Your economic longevity no longer requires that you work at the same place for the duration of your career.

The era of pensions has ended, unless your employer is a government agency or traditional establishment. Your retirement will hinge on a 401() or a 403(b), which you can rollover to new accounts wherever you work.

2. Learning in one career leads to discovering other careers

Your current career will give you perspective on another. Working for a marketing company? The skills you develop there can translate in innumerable ways from writing and editing to art curation, human resources, and other branches of management. There’s no reason you can’t explore other options once you start in one place.

It happens all the time—and employers have come to expect it.

3. People see the benefits of a career change

Curiosity about the world is a good thing. The job market is constantly changing, and the world with it. Knowing about different options, being curious about how you approach your job, and recognizing that the landscape of work is constantly evolving put you in a position for success—one that can be adaptable to change.

By seeing the benefits of being open-minded about your career, you can pursue diverse interests, work globally, and cobble together a career path that suits you and your goals.

How should you prepare yourself?

1. Make sure you want it

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to switch careers.

Here’s why you should want a career change: there’s no more opportunity for you—or no more opportunity that you want—to learn and grow in your current position; the positives, like salary, no longer compensate for the negatives, like long working hours; or everything is “fine.”

If you feel like you want a change, make sure it’s something you truly want and you’re not just momentarily bored.

2. Think about what you want from a new job

Ask yourself a few questions:

·         Do you feel like you need a challenge? More motivation?

·         Do you want a big change in a new field, or a small change in your current field? Does this change require that you switch companies or organizations?

·         Do you want more responsibility?

·         Do you need more qualifications to get what you want?

·         How will this change affect your financial situation? Your lifestyle?

By being honest with yourself, you’ll make the best decision that suits you. The beauty of decisions? You can always change your mind. Be thoughtful.

3. Get new qualifications

If you’re going for a significant career change that requires some new skills, start with an online course. Why? Online learning offers you flexibility and the chance for you to dip your toe in to see if you like this new field without sacrificing your current job.

Another way to get new qualifications? If you do a little digging, you can attend workshops and lectures, or potentially meet with someone currently in your desired field.

Your takeaway? The work world is always changing—and you need to be ready to change with it. Make thoughtful decisions and do your best.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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