Many people find themselves in the unfortunate situation where they hate their job and changing to a new career seems to be the best choice. As they say, however, the grass always appears greener but is it always true? You might struggle in this regard and if you make a choice that is not right for you, where will you be in 1 year? 10 years? When you ask yourself these 10 questions and answer them honestly it will help you to make a better decision.
1. Why is change desired?
Don’t simply jump at the first sign that you want to make a change. You might just be sorry that you did. As a life and career coach, I have noticed for following reasons why people want to make a change:
- You are bored and feel trapped because you have been there too long.
- You have a lack of interest in what you are doing.
- You feel that nobody values what you are doing
- You find yourself in a new role because of restructuring.
- You feel as if you are going nowhere.
- You are not close enough to retirement to sit things out.
- You have conflicts with those who work with you.
- You need the stimulus that a change would provide.
- Do you really want this change?
Take some time to contemplate if you truly want to switch careers. Be specific when it comes to evaluating your current position, regardless of if it is the environment, your boss or your position. What is it that would make you enjoy life to the full? Don’t be too quick to jump at the first opportunity. You might find that making a subtle change could help. Consider the following options:
- Finding a new job without switching careers.
- Switching to a new sector within the same industry.
- Modifying the job you already have.
- Moving sideways within the same company.
3. What do you truly want to do?
You might have an idea of what you want to get out of your new career. When you answer the first 2 of these questions, you might have more clarity. It’s time now to take the next step, including what your new career might entail.
- Less busy work and paperwork.
- Working with new and interesting people.
- No more micro-management of your projects.
- The ability to get out of the office.
- Work from home
- Flexible work hours.
It may be possible to make these changes without switching careers. The best thing you can do is to approach your manager with a clear goal in mind. Keep things realistic and be practical with your ideas. If you aren’t really clear on what you want, write it down first. Don’t forget to mention how the change will benefit the company.
- What skills and capabilities do you possess?
Give some thought to what skills you bring to the table. All of us have skills that we could use to our own advantage in our career. These could include the following that may not be position specific.
- The ability to organize
- Are you able to teach?
- Are you detail oriented?
- Can you organize fundraisers?
- Do you have people skills?
- Can you get projects organized and started?
If you have the skills a career in clinical research could be a good career – this post from ICON explores it as an option.
- Do you want to continue to use your existing job skills?
For some people, a complete change is desirable but it is also important to think things through. There may be other jobs where you could use your existing knowledge or skills that you have already acquired. Discuss opportunities with other people at your current job, including project managers, suppliers or members of a job-related organization. Many people find that moving sideways is the best choice. There are often opportunities available to do so if you really look for them. The key is to know what you want and to be persistent.
- Where are your interests?
Don’t jump into a new career until you know it would hold your interest. Keep in mind that a bigger salary might hold some short-term benefits but it isn’t always enough to keep you motivated. You are going to be stuck in that position on a daily basis. Is the financial benefit enough? Many people struggle to put these things together and to truly be happy in life. It is worth considering.
- What are your work values?
Many people are surprised at their values when they stop to contemplate them. They often disconnect their beliefs and what they do on a day to day basis. Bringing your beliefs into such an environment can be an eye-opener. As an example, someone who has an academic background might find that a career that is motivated by profit is not an easy pill to swallow. The opposite is also true. If someone is coming from the commercial sector and entering the academic sector they might struggle to stay motivated. It is important to know your values, which might include the following:
- Doing good for others.
- Making a difference in the lives of others.
- Being recognized for your hard work and skills.
- You place an importance on status (it matters to most people. Give it some serious thought).
- Not being tied to the commercial world for work.