Really evaluate your current job
Many people end up in a certain job through a sequence of chance occurrences. A job happened to be available, and another one happened to look interesting, and now you might be in a job that you don´t enjoy, or with people you dislike, or even in a field that no longer interests you. Everybody changes, and perhaps you are now not suited for the profession you´ve been stuck with.
Sit down, think about this, and seriously evaluate your options. Switching gears sometimes means moving back temporarily on the pay scale, but this is not necessarily true. You can find a "middle job" to transition you into where you want to be. If for example you´re a programmer but always wanted to learn more about scientific work, get a programming job in a biotech industry. You can be a scientific programmer, and probably even take courses in scientific work to enhance your work.
If you do have to slide back in pay to make the move, do not automatically discount this. Many friends of mine have taken lower pay for better jobs, and the trade-off in their happiness and the happiness of their entire family has been immense. Your time with your family, and your health and well being, should count for quite a bit against a small pay decrease.
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