When It’s Time to Make a Career Change

Over the last two weeks on the podcast, we focused a lot on making changes in your career. Change can be scary but it is the only way we evolve and find happiness during our lives.  You have to be open to self-reflection to see if you need a change to get unstuck or maybe it will actually help you recognize that you are in a good place in your career and maybe just having a bad day.  Or maybe you think it’s your career and it’s not, it’s something else in your life.  This is where the wheel of life comes in to help identify why you are feeling stuck if it’s not your career – check out my social media sites as I just posted the wheel of life again recently.  So here are this week’s challenges and let’s see if it’s time to change (queue the “Brady Bunch” song!).

Challenge #1 – is it a bad day or the wrong fit?   Track your feelings and reactions at work over two weeks.  You can do this through journaling or plotting it out on a rating scale each day. Are you unhappy or frustrated more than 50% of the time?  Do you see a theme in the moments you were struggling?  Are they during interactions with your manager?  A specific responsibility of your role that drags you down?  The way your company or team handled something?  A lack of interest in a project you are working on?  It could be a bunch of different things, but does anything specific stand out several times? What would have made the bad times better? These questions will help you understand if it’s a bad few days or if maybe it’s not the right fit for you anymore overall.

Challenge #2 – the role versus the company. Even after I made the change to HR, I held different roles and at different kinds of companies.  When I realized I was in a role that wasn’t right for me, it wasn’t about the broader HR industry but a specific on my current situation.  For example, I did not like working in compensation.  But I loved training (so not surprising I’m focused on coaching now).  I did not like a large company, a more formal environment or an industry that wasn’t growing and evolving.  I found I love the energy of start ups and the cultures that tech companies tend to build.  So going back to the first challenge, what were your themes leading to your frustration?  Which, if any, of the themes tie to your current role or to your current company? Would these challenges be at any company where you were a product manager, an accountant, etc? Or would these challenges not exist if you worked for an established bank, a new tech company, or outside of your current industry? Taking a step back to consider role versus company will help you determine if changing companies, for example, will help you get into a better situation, or if it’s part of the architecture of the role, it may be the case anywhere.

Challenge #3 –  need versus want. While normally this exercise is used when people are actively searching for a new job and making sure opportunities check all the key boxes, it can also be used to to evaluate your current situation.  Think about some basics like work environment, commute (or future commute), salary, benefits hours.  Think about the team environment that is best for you and the characteristics of the best manager you have had.  Do you want a team that is collaborative and supportive or do you prefer to work more independently?  Do you want to be at a place where you know everyone (and now the “Cheers” theme is in your head, your welcome)?  Finally think about the broader industry. What does making an impact with your work mean to you?  Does it matter what your company “makes”? I have a whole worksheet just on needs and wants and other considerations when thinking about a career change, but the point is, boil it down to basics…what do you need and what to do you want?  And more specifically, how does that compare to what you have today?  Which leads to the same questions as above, what would it take, what needs to change, to find what you need and want if you aren’t getting it today?

What did those challenges tell you?  Did it help?  Are you more confused ?  That’s actually ok.  It’s a journey to do self reflection, find career clarity and work on getting unstuck in your career…or other areas of your life.  The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.  I offer 1:1 coaching, free workshops (next one is in late March) and this spring I’m launching a group program to help!  So let’s connect and maybe I can help.  But if it’s not me, find a partner that can help, you don’t have to navigate change on your own!