Should I stay or should I go? At some stage, every employee will be faced with that question.
The first option offers safety and familiarity. On the other hand, exploring a new career can let you achieve your professional dreams and goals, harness your natural talents or be a means of enjoying more flexible working conditions. It can even be the start of something new and exciting as to what the future may bring. Whatever the case, while it may seem like a daunting prospect, switching career paths can reap meaningful rewards.
So, What Now?
Start making a plan to find a job that embraces your passions, because happiness is a key component of job performance and career advancement. Follow these steps to make the change.
Step 1: Get specific about what’s not working.
First, take time to understand what exactly is causing you so much distress in your job. Does your dissatisfaction stem from external factors, such as your co-workers, boss, organisational culture, or even the commute? If so, would switching teams or leaving the company remedy your unhappiness, or do you still have that same sense of dread thinking about the work you’ll be doing, regardless of a change in scenery? If your discontent is related to the functional responsibilities inherent to the job itself, a more drastic change may be in order.
Step 2: Identify what you like about your current role.
Think back to when you first started in your current role. What were your motivations? Was it the day-to-day responsibilities? The promise of career growth? Then, examine the parts of your job you still find enjoyable and seek to understand why they interest you. Is it the creativity your role involves? The strategic thinking? Do you love the constant change…or maybe you crave stability? Keep these themes in mind when looking toward your next role. By assessing your current likes and dislikes, you’ll have a better grasp on areas to seek out or avoid in your next career move.
Step 3: Consider your core values.
In any job, it’s important to find a good cultural fit. Examine your values and understand what type of company culture will complement your personality. Do you value autonomy, community, innovation? Would you be uncomfortable working somewhere where maintaining the status quo is encouraged? Or maybe it’s important to you that you’re working toward a benevolent cause.
Whatever your values, when taking this type of self-inventory, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Think about those friends’ jobs you covet. Are you actually interested in their role, or is it really the freedom and empowering culture you crave? Find out what makes you feel alive, even if it’s not what you (or others) think you “should” be doing. It may be that your values have changed since you first started working—and that’s ok. Just be clear on your priorities today.
Step 4: Assess your strengths and skill gaps.
If it were not for money, time, location, or whatever other reason, what would you be doing? Now is the time to figure out how to do just that. While a complete one-eighty isn’t feasible overnight, examine how your current role and your ideal role overlap. Think about your transferable skills, related experience, and network connections that can help you make the most credible transition, particularly if your current and dream jobs are worlds apart.
It’s also wise to chart out the gaps in your skills and experience that may get in the way. You may need to get creative: start a side gig, engage in part-time employment or even return to study. Carving out a career that’s rewarding and pays the bills can take time, so be patient, and develop your plan.
Step 5: Develop and execute your plan.
After a thorough self-assessment, map out your goals, identifying short-term milestones along the way, and give yourself reasonable timelines. Perfect and polish your personal brand to boost your career search. And along the way, focus on expanding your network and reaching out to old contacts, and continually developing your skills.
Most of all don’t be scared or disheartened by the search for your new career. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to make sure that your current role is aligned with your long-term goals. Know when to walk away, and when to move on. It’s never too late to start again in order to do what you love, every day.
A career change will involve risks. Having experienced the emotional ups and downs of navigating career changes myself during my professional life, I now understanding what it takes to successfully reinvent one’s self. Let me help you to make that change.
One Republic’s Counting Stars
What some people may think is the right thing may be the wrong thing for another person. It’s a matter of perception. Sometimes letting go and trying something new, different and unaccepted by the majority or the mainstream is the key to happiness in life.
One can only dream!