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Sometimes you realize early on that the job, or even the career, that you've chosen just isn't for you. In other instances, the urge to move on hits you a little later, in your late 30s, 40s or even beyond.

In either case, there's no shame in switching things up. These days, it's certainly not uncommon. In fact, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), the average job tenure is only about five years.

Career experts say that, if the time is right, jumping ship is a good thing. "It's kind of like rebalancing your stock portfolio," says Cynthia Shapiro, author of Career Confidential. "Look at the situation every three years and ask yourself if it is getting you where you need to go."

When you find that you're ready to try something new, follow these steps to make the transition as seamless as possible:

1. Take small steps.

If you're thinking about making a huge change, especially one that's particularly risky like going back to school or opening your own business, you may want to start out slowly. Sure, signing up for a few college courses might not seem too hazardous, but if you consider the toll it takes on your wallet, it's definitely not a decision you want to take lightly. Bottom line: You need to make sure the change you're making fits into your life, so talk it out with family members, work out the financials, if necessary, and start small. Take one course, for instance, to see how you like it, or start your business on the side while keeping your day job for the time being.