Dear Matt: I have 20+ years in the workforce and currently am an IT systems administrator. I would like a different career so I can be home with my children more. I'm looking at an overnight job because that would work best for our family. Do you have any suggestions where I can start?
Matt: This seems like a drastic change, and should be carefully planned out before you make a decision. I think there are some other options to consider because not only will you be changing careers, but your lifestyle will change dramatically by working overnights.
You should seriously consider a number of other options first, such as:
Looking for a position in a larger company that has more systems administrators where on-call or long hours are rotated between a team, not just a few people, says Kristen Friendshuh, a senior technical recruiter for New Town Solutions, Inc., a company that places engineering and IT professionals in the Twin Cities area.
Taking a different position within your company. What about a training role? Or, could you work as a systems analyst instead of administrator? Taking a position with less responsibility would likely mean a cut in pay, but could provide a more stable schedule. When your at-home life changes (kids are out of the house) you can get back into the administrator role.
Getting an understanding and feeling of what it would mean to work nights - both from those in your industry and out of your industry. It could be beneficial to talk with members of an IT-related networking group to discuss the positives and negatives of working overnight, especially if you've never done it before.
If you make a career change and start working a different shift you may be home more, but will you be happy with the new career or company, and will you be able to handle the physical and mental changes that come along with working overnight?
"Working nights is hard on most people, so do some research on what the physical effects can be," says Kathie Kosharek, an employment counselor with the Minnesota WorkForce Center in Minneapolis. "Some peopleare less affected by this schedule than others, but you could be trading the benefit of more time with your family and instead feel tired or physically less optimal all the time."