How do you know when it’s time to change careers?

Chances are, you were directly impacted in your work due to COVID-19. You may have been an essential worker, laid off, or forced to work remotely. You were juggling childcare, work stress, and worry of the unknown. Perhaps it was a time of renewal as you enjoyed being at home more. Whatever the impact, it will bring a lot of us to a decision point as things reopen and reengage.  

Did you know according to the Labor Department, nearly four million Americans quit their jobs in April 2021? This is a 20-year record. Some people have coined this as the “Great Resignation.” I am watching this with interest as a career coach who is there for others when they make these kinds of transitions. In fact, recently I asked the following poll to my LinkedIn network about what matters most.

No alt text provided for this image

The clear “winner” in the poll was the quality of job prospects. I think this reflects the trend toward job seekers being intentional and selective when it comes to a career decision. Job seekers in 2021 are considering the company culture, benefits, flexibility, and shared values perhaps more than in the past. This is by no means a scientific poll and the audience was simply who saw the post, so I want to bring it home even further:

how do YOU know when it’s time to move on? At what point do you start looking at other options? 

For my clients, it’s about 2 things. 

  1. Prioritizing what’s important to them 
  2. Knowing how they make decisions

Prioritizing what’s most important

You must assess what’s working and not about your new normal situation. Everyone has their own set of priorities and examining those to further rank them will help you to evaluate your options. I’m a firm believer that you are the driver of your career. 

What does that mean? Think about the car buying process. You decide the make, model and features of your next car purchase. You decide the dealership you want to work with. You know your budget and your must haves. You decide the time (or you get in a wreck and that’s decided already). 

This works when you consider your career. As the purchaser of a new car – you are always free to consider other opportunities that may work better for you. As a car owner – you know what kind of car makes sense for what’s going on in life. You might want the sports car or it might be better to have the minivan. The same is true for your career. You might want to work early in the day and be done by 2pm so you can pick up your kids at the bus stop. You might need to have a flexible schedule so you can care for your aging parents. Whatever the circumstances, you are still the driver. 

No alt text provided for this image

 As the driver, what are the most important aspects of your career? What did you learn from previous jobs – both good and bad – that you want to bring forward into another opportunity? What does your life demand of you now with regard to work? 

We are creating career paths that look less like ladders and more like jungle gyms

No alt text provided for this image

Your life changes with moves, marriages, parenthood, family obligations, and interests. Your career can reflect that as well. People are taking jobs that are lateral moves or industry changes more now than ever. The hierarchy in companies is also changing. While it used to be that you worked hard, got the promotion and sought toward more leadership in a company – now people move around companies and take on projects or positions that are reflective of values beyond prestige or status. People want meaningful work and what makes it meaningful is individual.

Determine what’s meaningful work for you

To determine your own meaningful work, you have to take stock of what you know about yourself and the work you like to do. It takes some looking back and introspection to make a leap forward. I created a downloadable worksheet to help you define your own meaningful work and it’s FREE for you here.

No alt text provided for this image

Know how you make decisions

Once you know your priorities, it’s also important to know your decision making style. Do you make pros/cons lists like I do? If so, you create them and then make them equal and feel like you’re still going to go with your gut so they don’t work. 🙂 

No alt text provided for this image

 Have you ever thought about how you make decisions? Most of us don’t. We simply keep going. How do you make simple decisions in your day? This can hint toward how you would make bigger decisions. How do you know you are making the best choice for yourself? Some people need to pray or consult certain people who help them decide. Do you do a lot of research or make quick decisions? All this can influence the way you will consider a job change. It also will influence the amount of anxiety you’ll feel about this too. 

 If you’re like many people who want to reduce risk in decision making, it can increase our anxieties and we may need some help to move through. I have just a couple tips I plan to share in the next week around this topic but for now, I would encourage you to consider your decision making style. You can learn more about that here: 4 Types of Decision Making Styles .

If you’re considering a job change and want to move from indecision to action, you’re invited to Is it Time to Move On? A Workshop Course on September 23 where I walk you through getting clear on your definition of meaningful work, determining which factors are most important to you in a job change, steps to take before you resign and building your confidence in applying and interviewing for jobs. I can’t wait to share more with you there.

This was first posted on LinkedIn on 8/27/21

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: