Whether you’ve spent months or years in your current career, at some point you may start thinking about completely changing your line of work.
You may have worked in the corporate world for a long time and then felt it was time to try freelancing. Perhaps you feel that your work has become routine for you, and a change of scenery will help you bring something positive into it. Whatever your particular case, there are a number of questions you might want to ask yourself first.
“We all go through moments in our careers when we don’t feel fulfilled, energized, or powerful,” said Rochelle Davidson, co-author of Work Freely: Love Your Job. Love Your Life.
However, the first thing you need to figure out when you’re considering a career change is why you’re even considering it. Is your current career no longer satisfying, or do you feel a loss of interest due to something that you are unable to change?
“Take a step back and think about what made you want to do this job in the first place,” she said. “Are you trying to avoid something or do you want to move forward but in the other direction? Running away from your current job without knowing exactly what you want can lead to you making less-than-best decisions for yourself.”
We spoke to three career experts to find out what 11 questions you should ask yourself before making a career change.
If your career is going through hard times, you only need to answer honestly five questions. Where you will work in the near future can seriously affect your entire professional trajectory. Travel on the right train! This checklist will help you make the right choice and apply the best vacancy.
You already have a lot of experience, you have the right connections and a resume that reflects all your talents. The new decision that you have to make is different from those that stood before you at the beginning of the journey – because it is it that can radically affect the future.
If you, let’s say, get on the wrong train because you didn’t have the patience, you could lose valuable time or, worse, end up in a place where it would be very difficult to get on the “right road.” And since this is the first time you’ve been in this situation, let your curiosity run wild and ask really helpful questions.
Answer the questions of the “career triad” – what are your hobbies? What skills do you have? What does the world around you need?
A hobby is any hobby of a person that brings him pleasure and satisfaction. Moreover, this occupation has nothing to do with earnings or the acquisition of status. Most experts believe that hobbies that are not related to work are necessary for the harmonious development of a person. In his famous book The Happiness Equation, Professor Manfred Kets de Vries writes that it is hobbies that are not related to professional activities that allow you to use those abilities, those parts of the brain that are not used during work. Hobbies bring elements of the game into our lives, and the game is closely related to creative activity. “It doesn’t matter if your passion is fishing, bird watching, growing roses or risky activities like downhill skiing. Any hobby brings an element of the game into life, enhances creative activity, allows you to adjust your outlook on life and professional approaches,” notes Kets de Vries in his book. A person becomes more innovative and efficient both at work and in personal relationships.
Do I have the prospect of a leadership position in the company and what kind?
The question of where a manager or director sees you in 5 or 10 years should be number 1 on the list of career questions.
Other people often see talents in you that you don’t see in yourself. This is usually associated with the so-called “Imposter Syndrome”. This is a psychological pattern in which one has doubts about one’s accomplishments and has a constant inner fear of being exposed as a “cheater”.
If the form of the question seems harsh to you, replace the phrase with one of the following.
- What do I need to learn to do my job better?
- How can I improve my professionalism?
- What additional responsibilities can I take on to further my career?
- Would you like to sponsor my training program?
- Is there anything you think is holding me back from my work? If yes, what and why?
- Is there anyone you would like me to have better communication with? Could we work on a project together?
Besides your career, what is important to you in your life?
Davidson said that sometimes having so many options can be overwhelming.
“Lock yourself to what you need as a person, not just as an employee,” she said. “If your children or your elderly parents are your priority today, if you need time to prepare for a marathon, consider all these factors.”
“It’s not just about finding a job that will fully satisfy your sense of purpose. Sometimes it’s more important to create a work situation that allows you to do other things that are important to you.”
What are my achievements in the last year?
We all strive for some kind of goal. We like to move forward and cross things off the list. We are pleased to complete another project. Therefore, it is important to track your progress.
Researchers at Harvard University asked 238 participants to record their emotions, motivations, and feelings at work for four months. Then they analyzed this data, and it turned out that during the working day, our motivation and mood improve the most when we move forward in an important business for us.
The more often we experience a sense of progress, the more our productivity and creativity increase. And even small victories help.
However, in order to feel your progress, you need to track it. Most likely, you have small victories every day, but you don’t notice them, because you don’t follow your progress in any way. Over time, it begins to seem to you that you do not have time for anything and do not do anything important at all.
There are several reasons for this:
- We are too attached to useless indicators. Reading new messages, viewing notifications, checking the number of subscribers or views – such things create a sense of false progress. You seem to have done something, but you have not progressed towards the goal.
- We ourselves do not know what is important to us. We often forget about our big goals, we don’t think about what we are striving for. How can you rejoice in your achievements if you do not know what you want to achieve?
- We don’t know how to track our progress. Big victories are rare, and small ones we don’t notice or don’t consider important.
- We do not know how long it will take to achieve the goal. When you try something new, you have a vague idea of how long it will take you to work. And it usually takes much longer than you think.
What is your vision for your life and how does your career support that vision?
Often management begins to understand that employees feel discomfort at work, lose all interest in it. Such people work carelessly, perhaps even directly harm the company or work for a competitor, and also actively seek a job change. How to prevent it?
In order for people to feel comfortable working in a particular company, it is necessary to understand and implement three basic principles:
- a person works in a company while he achieves personal goals in it;
- by achieving personal goals, he allows the company to realize its goals;
- the values of the employee and the company coincide by more than 50%.
The assessment of the coincidence of goals occurs at the stage of strategic – tactical – operational planning, career planning and the introduction of a motivation system.
Values are more difficult. Values are, in fact, the basic principles of behavior and attitude of the company towards third parties, one way or another dependent on the company, or to those on whom the company depends.
Most often, a situation occurs when the owners and management of the company have the same values, the middle management has others, and the employees have thirds.
The main values of the owners and tops and their behavior in the market is active-aggressive, the main message is “piss of the weak, make friends with the strong, use the administrative resource to the maximum”. The behavior of the company in the market is appropriate.
The core values of branch and subdivision managers are passive-aggressive. The basic principle is “by any means to keep my place of work, the management knows everything better, so I just broadcast their decisions.” Their attitude towards management is obsequious, towards employees – harshly aggressive, towards customers – indifferent. Accordingly, customers are dissatisfied, employees are annoyed. Things in the regional divisions are going according to the passive scenario “whoever comes, they are welcome.”
The main values of ordinary employees are passive-protective. The basic principle: “to sit out the crisis, and then find a normal place of work, everyone around is freaks, everyone got it.” Their behavior at work – as little effort as possible, will still not be appreciated. The best day is when there are no clients, because you need to work with them, and they all have their own problems. Therefore, anyone who even came himself must be expelled by any means.
As a result, all the good intentions of top managers and any undertakings are shattered by the indifference of ordinary employees and make them put in a lot of effort and spend a lot of money to make everyone work the way they need to.