You wake up in the morning and just don’t want to do what you have been doing for the past few years. You ask, “Is it time for a change?”
Changing careers, moving from the safety of your current job and moving into the unknown, is daunting and scary. According to Forbes, the pandemic changed professional expectations for the foreseeable future. A Workmonitor Survey showed that workers feel more empowered to reassess their careers and the role that work plays in their lives. Of those surveyed, 81 percent reported that they have more clarity around both personal and professional goals. Work/life balance has taken a greater role in the decisions surrounding careers. When you look at it like any other problem-solving challenge, it becomes manageable.
Do a self-assessment. What are your skills and interests? What do you want to do and what don’t you want or like to do? What do you enjoy about your current job and what are you looking for in a new position in a new organization? What are your needs relative to the work environment? Do you like to work solo or in teams? What does the “buzz” or energy level of the workplace need to be to make you more than satisfied to “go to work”? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning with the feeling that today is going to be “the best day of my life”? These questions will help drive your decision.
Are you looking to completely change your path or are you looking for a new company that has exciting opportunities? Do you like the environment in which you are working or are you really seeking something very different? What skills can you take with you to a new role, in a new industry segment? What skills are transferable to a new industry, new role or new function?
Do your research. Your next role, position and/or career change is a big deal, so do your research. Look at all the potential employers that offer the roles you might seek in your next position. What are the values that drive the organization? What defines their culture? What is their reputation in the community? How stable is the company you are investigating? What does their future look like? What about the industry in which they function? Do the potential employer’s values and beliefs match with your values and beliefs?
Job responsibilities and growth opportunities. Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the positions that are available. Do they provide growth opportunities and is that why you are seeking a new role?
Work/life balance. What are you seeking? This depends on where you are in your own life. If you are under 40, you might have different expectations. If you are single or have a family, there are other expectations for how you balance your career vs. time for your family. Work hours and responsibilities are a core part of the decision process in looking at a change.
The package. Part of any consideration for change is an evaluation of the compensation package and benefits offered. What perks are you seeking that you don’t have right now? Many times, changing jobs means starting over on vacation time allowed. What do you want and need to “re-create” and ask for, if it’s not offered? When negotiating your new package, be confident in your value and be compensated for your work. It’s best to ask rather than assume it was never on the table.
Leverage your network. If you are not sure what you want to do and where you want to go next, use your network to research what is available and where the demand is that can use your skills and interests. Your network can be your next lead into landing your next job or changing careers. Attend networking events in your local community or branch out to a nearby city.
Reality check. We have all heard the phrase, “The grass is always greener…” Do a check of the real situation. Make sure that what is offered is, in realty, what is there in the organization and the position. Be courageous in your endeavors while seeking a new passion; however, use caution if it seems too good to be true. Before signing on, make sure to ask to have what you expect written down in your package.
Brainstorm career opportunities. While you are discovering more about yourself and what fulfills you in your career, define in what ways you want your career to change. If you are “stuck” behind a desk and want more hands-on work, then look to careers that allow you to be an individual contributor. If you are a sales rep, but don’t like the environment you are currently in, look to other organizations in your industry segment or look at how you can use your sales skills in donor development for a nonprofit. Look at what industry segments are “booming.” Data, cloud, and site-reliability engineering in the IT world are leading the pack today. Mental health nurses and therapists in healthcare, and solar consultant and field construction supervision are other burgeoning career choices.
At the end of the day, when your head hits the pillow, you have the final choice on your career, job, and passion. It takes a lot of courage and strength to join the workforce, take on a new job, new career, new position, or start your own business. When looking at your choices, take pride in your accomplishments, work and take ownership for your success.
Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor, SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, and Brian Brian Prehna, “What’s Next,” Brian.Prehna@gmail.com. More information at 716-560-2137, www.score.org/capecod, firstname.lastname@example.org