Leave 19-Year Job to Pursue Paralegal Career?

paralegalSharron writes:
My question is would it be a mistake to leave a job that I have had for going on 19 years to pursue a career as a paralegal?

I am four years shy of retirement. I have tried to get promoted within the company but I have been overlooked continuously. I would like to get a better job.

The Career Doctor responds:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Paralegals is expected to rank among the 20 fastest growing occupations in the economy as employers recognize that paralegals perform many legal tasks for lower salaries than lawyers.”

But while the outlook appears bright the bigger question for you is what is your real motivation for switching careers so late in your professional life. If you become a paralegal do you have plans to push your retirement back? Will leaving the company you are currently with now rather than four years from now adversely affect your pension? How much more education do you need before you can become a paralegal – and how will that time affect your decision? Finally if you have been working for this company for 19 years but have been overlooked for promotions is it more your frustrations than reason pushing you toward becoming a paralegal?

I think honestly answering the questions in the previous paragraph will give you the direction you need to take you through the next four years and beyond. Good luck.

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