It takes courage to do something you love, but it is also brave to walk away from things or choose to explore more. Talk about a career change, and you will find people demotivating you about how unsettling it is.

Agreed, it is a huge step, and there are a lot of pros and cons to consider. We thought it’s best to hear from people who have taken this step before. Redditors have shared their career change stories and brought forth to us what it’s actually like.

1. “I’ve made two big career changes and both were very worth it. The first was a change in companies and industries, but the same type of work. I was leaving an extremely toxic culture but it was the only thing I knew, so it was scary to make the jump. I was only at the second job for a year before an opportunity dropped into my lap that was too good to pass up. It was a complete change in careers and talked about scary things! I still feel a lot of imposter syndrome around it but I’m so glad I made the change. What these experiences have taught me is not to be afraid of change, and it doesn’t need to be forever!”


2. “I’ve changed careers several times – usually there was a natural drift (taking on responsibilities or getting involved in aspects that aren’t central to your current role), then you self-study to learn more, talk to expert colleagues, or just volunteer. Then when you’re ready, slide fully into a new role (at your current place or interview for somewhere new) with this “experience” of it already under your belt.”


3. “It’s very difficult. I’m still in the process of getting things changed going back to college and changing careers but it’s totally worth it. You can never get out of a rut or a dead-end job without change and sacrifice.”


4. “At 34 I went back to grad school and changed my career. I am so glad that I did because now I am doing something that I really enjoy. If it is important to you, go for it. Life is too short to be in a job/career/industry that you don’t like.”


5. “I went from political advertising and social media to university marketing. The first 6 months were a challenge, but it wasn’t bad. There’s no reason you can’t change careers. Of course, mine wasn’t that big of a change. I started doing print marketing, which I had never done before.”


6. “Kinda did. If you are smart and can use some of the skills accumulated in your first career it’s not that hard. Highly recommend it as it keeps things interesting.”


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7. “My former boss went from teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, to IT in academia, and then to landscape design for cemeteries, and designing wicker coffins. She’s someone with many interests and skills and I don’t think she feels that her career has to be defined by just one of those skills. Her last move went very well and the last time I saw her, she was very happy with it.”


8. “When I was a traditional college student I got a degree in music education. I spent my 20s working as a freelance musician and composer. By my early 30, I realized that I would never really make a decent living and decided to go back to school to get a second degree in IT. I’m 35 now and have a very nice career with great benefits and will be making 6 figures in the next 10-15 years. I’m very happy with my decision, although I miss how much free time I had when I was a musician. It’s a trade-off.”


9. “I was a store manager designated for a certain despised video game retailer. I woke up one day when my store manager asked me “Is this what you want to do?” my immediate answer was “no”. I moved back to my home state, got my bachelor’s in Politics, Economics, and Law, and now can’t find a job in my field that doesn’t require a master’s. So I’m starting that in January. Overall, I’m happy I made the jump. But man it sucks trying to pay the bills right now.” 


10. “I was working as an admin and it was miserable. Then they started a round of redundancies, starting with voluntary redundancy. I thought about it for a couple of days then took the offer. A week later I had a new job lined up in a school that would also offer me a teacher training course. Nine years later I’m much happier in my job – it’s very hard work but it’s varied and interesting. It’s never boring working with teenagers.”


11. “Marketing to Investment Banking. If you’re thinking about a career change, go to school if you can. Your professors and your classmates will have the network to land you somewhere great. It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s where your network can open a door.”


12. “Understand it’s going to be hard and sacrifices will probably need to be made. I had to work full-time while attending school full-time, and my personal time went out the window for MANY years. Be prepared for the journey. Soul search and find that inner strength to pull you through it.”


13. “Job shadow and request to speak with people in your desired career. People love talking about themselves. I was able to get so much great information about different careers just by asking people on social media or networking sites like LinkedIn. Something as simple as “Hi, I am trying to become an accountant and saw you’re a senior accountant. I would love to talk with you a bit to learn more about this career and your experiences in it!” It worked like a charm.”


14. “Human resources to massage therapy. If you feel you need it and have the means (financial, emotional, mental) to do it, then do it. The worst thing you’ll end up with is a varied skill set.”


15. “If you are planning a career change I’d recommend not fully divorcing yourself from your old path, as I did. Keep your skills up to date and stay in touch with your contacts, in case you have to switch back at some point.”


Read more: 12 People Who Have Taken A ‘Work Break’ Share How It Worked For Them.