Don’t pack up your desk without asking yourself a few tough questions.

When you’re dissatisfied with your professional life, a wholesale career change can seem alluring. In one swift move, you can transform not just what you do but also where, with whom, how and even why you do it.

Of course, making the leap also carries some major risks. Getting started in a new field often means taking a cut not just in pay but also in security and prestige — at least for a while. Moves of this type also often require additional training or education.

Here are five questions to help you determine whether a career change is right for you.

1. What do you dislike about your current work?
If you can’t quite put your finger on what’s troubling you, you may soon find yourself in the same situation after you’ve made your move and the new-career smell has worn off.

When you imagine a career change, is the most attractive part the idea of escaping from your current manager, co-workers or projects? Many problems that seem intrinsic to the kind of work you do are actually rooted in the particulars of your current position or employer. Those elements are much easier to change than your overall career direction.

2. What are the best parts of your current position?
It’s easy to let your dissatisfaction with some parts of your professional life obscure its pluses. Take a moment to consider the greenest patches of grass on your side of the fence. That could include generous compensation, meaningful work or the admiration of your colleagues. Think about which of these factors you might lose in the leap to a new career and how much you might miss them.

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