Why now is the perfect time to re-think your career
Plus 3 tools to help you make career change happen
It might not seem obvious after the past year or so of living through a pandemic, but now really is the best time to re-evaluate your career and find a job that you love. Here’s why:
Studies have shown that some of the strongest predictors of poor mental and physical health, plus an overall lower sense of well-being, can be attributed to poor job satisfaction and lacking a sense of contribution in life. The average worker in the UK will spend around 85,000 hours at work in their lifetime, so it not only makes good sense, but it’s critically important, that you’re finding fulfilment at work, as well as earning an income.
The average worker in the UK will spend around 85,000 hours at work in their lifetime, so it not only makes good sense, but it’s critically important, that you’re finding fulfilment at work, as well as earning an income.
So, if you’re one of the many people out there who are yearning for change, perhaps the question to ask yourself isn’t, “is now the right time?”, but, “what am I waiting for?”
Typically, loss of or reduced earnings and the self-imposed fears that we create over time, are what hinder most people from making change. And when we do finally decide to move on to pastures new, we find ourselves - more often than not – back in yet another role that doesn’t really fulfil us. So what’s going on?
One key factor is that it’s much easier to see ourselves working in similar roles where we more obviously tick the right boxes – and this is true for employers too. Even when we want a completely new challenge, finding a role which we’re more familiar with gives us more confidence and plays into the hands of our self-limiting beliefs and unhelpful fears. Similarly, those who we often turn to for support when we seek career change, such as recruiters, managers, colleagues, mentors, and even friends and family, tend to think of us only in the context of our current role, what we’ve already achieved or the industry we’ve already worked in. So everything is telling us to go with what we know and in doing so, reinforces our self-limiting beliefs and fears.
Re-evaluating your career and making positive, long-lasting change therefore requires a change of approach. One of the easiest ways to do this is to start taking a series of really simple steps. The key to it all is taking daily action. Daily actions will not only help you take control of your life, but will have a far longer-lasting and positive impact. So, if you’re desperate for change, follow these three simple steps to start making change:
#1: Re-evaluate You
The further along the road of our careers we travel, we often tend to forget what we used to love, the hobbies we used to have or the skills we once had. We often dismiss some of our childhood and early adult accomplishments, but quite often they play a huge part in unpicking what truly motivates us and can shine a light on what really brings us alive when money is taken out of the equation. Even more overlooked can sometimes be the things we already enjoy outside of work, but again we do not even begin to consider how that could unlock a potentially brilliant career opportunity.
So, how to discover what’s important to you and what motivates you? I’d suggest starting by asking yourself some really powerful questions to re-discover what lies at the heart of you. Here are some to get you started:
What subjects did I enjoy as a child?
What long-term projects or ideas won’t leave me alone?
If I had a few minutes to buy books or magazine before a long-haul flight, what titles would I buy or be drawn to?
What subjects do I love to talk to people about? When do I just have to jump into someone else’s conversation?
If money wasn’t a factor, how would I spend my time?
#2: Start Small
As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and similarly there are no quick fixes to overnight career change (indeed not any that are likely to be both positive and long-lasting.) However, committing to small, achievable, daily actions is a much more realistic approach to enabling change and growth in your life. Starting a small-scale project, volunteering, taking an online course or workshop, shadowing, or conducting an ‘informational interview’ (where you interview someone whose job you like the sound of to find out what it’s really like), are all great examples of small, but meaningful steps forward.
No one has ever found their true calling or passion in life simply by thinking. It is through the action we take where we learn, grow and make change. As children we learn through doing and mistakes are an integral part of that process. As adults we tend to fear failure and place expectations that are unfairly high on ourselves when we’re starting out at something. Giving yourself that space and time to learn is key and actually more likely to result in success. You will also find that trying things out in a small but consistent way will help you manage any fear of failure.
It is through the action we take where we learn, grow and make change.
#3: Add Value
Whatever action it is that you decide to start taking, it always helps if it’s adding value both to you and also to others. Whether it’s getting going on that small-scale project to prove that it’s financially feasible or undertaking an ‘informational interview’, if it’s adding value then it will be a worthwhile endeavour - even if it doesn’t ultimately hold the answer in itself.
Take a small-scale passion project for example: before you get going, think about how it will help others as well as focusing on your other objectives. If you decide that an ‘informational interview’ route is a good place to start, think about ways you can return favours to the people who’ve given you their time.
If you can see the value you’re adding to others in the actions you’ve taken, it’ll be hard to see anything you do as pure failure, even if it doesn’t turn out the way you would have have liked. It’s a great mindset to adopt as you try to make change and will provide you with a solid foundation for personal growth.
And finally, as you start on these three steps, be sure to check in with yourself at least once per month to measure your progress. Once you can acknowledge the learning you have gained and the value you have contributed through the small daily actions you have taken, you will gain momentum. These small steps will ultimately lead to greater, ongoing change that is likely to positively impact your career for the long-term.
If you're interested in learning more about how to make career change, please get in touch with me directly by scheduling a free consultation.