We all know that a career change can seem very daunting. I’ve worked with many clients who talk about wanting to leave their current job due to unacceptable stress levels, insufficient family time or a lack of fulfilment. Some clients find that they are spending most of their lives sitting on freeways as they move from one business obligation to another; others are taking their laptops to bed to catch up, and working parents talk about being too exhausted to enjoy a bedtime story with their children. So, what can help?
- You can start by thinking about your choices: stay in your current job and look to improve things, or go somewhere else.
- Think about your current job and the things that are driving you crazy. Make a list. Now, look through the list and think about the things that are within your influence to change yourself, or with the help of someone else (e.g. your boss). For example, if you are taking your laptop to bed in order to keep on top of things, you may be able to change this yourself by using your time more wisely during the day—that is, utilizing time-management techniques. If you are an exhausted working parent, perhaps there are options for enlisting some help or even scheduling some “me” time to relax and regroup. There may also be options to ask your company for reduced hours or opportunities to work from home.
- Now look at the list again, this time at the things that drive you crazy but where you have no influence. For example, you may feel totally at odds with the way your company treats people; perhaps you find it hard to respect the leaders of the organization. There are two options here: if you absolutely can’t change these things, either accept them or take a positive step to move elsewhere. Being miserable about the things you cannot change just drags you down (as well as your colleagues, family and friends).
- Think about moving on. One of things that stop us from leaving a job is that we are afraid of losing what we have.
- Make another list. This time, write down everything that you like about your current job. This may include your location (e.g. close to home), your colleagues, your salary and benefits, the type of work you do—maybe even the building or the staff restaurant.
- Now look through this list and prioritize the items on it. When you look at your salary, what range are you looking for? Thinking about location, how far would you be willing to travel? It’s like creating a list for buying a house. If you are considering moving from a company to self-employment, think about how you could get the things you like in your current job another way. For example, if you like the community activity of the office environment, think about networking groups that you could join.
You might research the market, attend interviews and still choose to stay in your current job. Looking at what else is out there will help you decide whether it is worth taking a chance and moving on, or staying put.