How to know if you need a career change
We spend a large proportion of our lives at work. On average, more than ninety thousand hours over the course of our life. So it makes sense to consider – is my work fulfilling? Does it serve a purpose? Is it important to me that I enjoy my work?
The world of work is constantly changing, yet it’s all too easy to end up in a career rut. Often we end up in roles simply because they are convenient, stable, or we “fell into them” and don’t know what else to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Unless, of course, you’re ready for something different. In that case, it might be time to consider a career change.
Here are 10 clear signs that you are ready to move on.
- If you’re ready for a career change, it’s highly likely that some – or possibly many – of the following apply to you.
- You’ve lost interest in your work, and no longer strive to meet and exceed expectations
- You listen eagerly to others talk about their jobs, but feel flat and disinterested when discussing yours
- You’ve recently gone through a major career transition or redundancy
- You are considering a return to work after a career break, and your previous role doesn’t fit your new priorities
- The organisation you work for has restructured, and the scope of your role has changed
- You’ve regularly been overlooked for a promotion or career progression opportunity, and feel undervalued
- You’re interested in attempting an executive transition, moving into a senior role or joining a board
- You’ve undertaken – or want to enrol in – further study to follow your interests or improve your abilities
- The skills you offer are easily replaced by an offshore team, automated service or new technology
- You are a mature job seeker ready to take a step back or a step up and turn your expertise into a consulting career
I’ve decided that I want (or need) a change. What are my options?
Once you’ve made a decision, you may be tempted to either quit your current job and jump headfirst into a new role, or feel overwhelmed by the work ahead of you and have no idea where to start. Relax, this is completely normal. We’d all like a roadmap to help navigate our lives and work out where we should go next. We’d like our managers to provide objective career advice. But we don’t get given a map when we start work, and while a good manager will support and advise you, they generally have other priorities.
That’s where a mentor, trusted advisor or career coach can help. They can act as an objective sounding board, and provide advice based on their personal and professional experience. A career coach has the expertise to support you in identifying your career goals, then developing a strategy to ensure you achieve them – whatever those goals may be. A good career coach will help evaluate your career to date, undertake a skills analysis, determine where you want to go next, assess your expertise, and identify barriers and opportunities.
It’s important to remember that a career change doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. A career change could be: a similar role with a different employer; a new role within your current organisation; a move to a different industry or sector; or an entirely different discipline and pathway. Starting your own business, turning your experience into a consulting offering, freelancing, and taking up contract work to develop a “portfolio career” are also career changes.