8 Steps For A Career Change
We spend one-third of our lives working: on average, 40 hours out of 120 hours in a work week and 25 to 30 years working. Given this fact, why wouldn't we want to spend that time doing something that brings us happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment and joy?
Statistics from early 2020, pre-COVID show:
20% of Americans felt enthusiastic about their jobs
55% were satisfied with what they were doing
33% felt their careers were a dead-end
21% were open to change careers
These stats were PRE-COVID and this global pandemic has changed the way we work, the way we live and has had a devastating effect on many corporations and their employees.
If you have found yourself in a dire situation, or are feeling stuck and are contemplating a change, or simply want to propel your career into something bigger, better and more challenging, here are some steps that will help you find a job you'll love.
Act. Make The Decision. Commit.
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity."
- Amelia Earhart
Many people are stuck in their current jobs but are resistant to change. We all get stuck in our comfort zone and go through each day without much thought. It is only later in life, perhaps, where we "wish" we had done something different. How many times have we heard, "if I could do it all over again, I would..."?
Others have fallen victim to corporate downsizing.
A big part of taking that first step is believing in yourself and changing your mindset to rid yourself of the mental obstacles. Instead of telling yourself why you "can't" do something, tell yourself all the reasons why you CAN and what your life will be like WHEN you successfully make the change. (Keyword: "WHEN")
Stop resisting. Stop giving in to those little voices. Believe in the possibilities. Believe in YOUR possibility.
2. Know Your Values
What if you could work for a company, or hold a position, where what you do perfectly aligns to who you are, where every day you are making a difference in the way you want to?
How would you feel at the end of the day if what you do at work provides you with a true sense of purpose?
Who are you at your core?
What is important to you?
What fulfills you and why?
Is your current job aligned to your core values?
Write down your values and take note of how you feel when you are creating your list. If they don't bring a smile to your face or give you the warm fuzzies, it's possible that those values are simply what you feel they should be, or what you want others to associate you with. Focus on the values that really resonate with you.
3. Acknowledge Your VALUE
Knowing your value and knowing your values are quite different. Your values are what you believe in, that which is important to you (see #2 above).
What you bring to the table, what sets you apart from the rest, what skills you have define your value.
Knowing your VALUE is something I find the most important in discovering and getting your dream job. It is so easy for most of us to rattle off the qualities and characteristics of others we see as successful, yet we rarely take stock of our own.
Once you really take a look at your past achievements - both personal and professional - you will be able to see the inherent skills you have that give you the unfair advantage. Your confidence will skyrocket as well!
4. Perform An Assessment Of Your Career
What do you love about your current job? What do you appreciate about it?
How does going to work make you feel?
What would you change about it, and why?
If you could have any job you want, what would it be and why? What is important to you?
What do you want to do?
Regardless of your current employment situation, think of the best job you ever had. Why was it the best? How did it make you feel? What about it made you feel good? Why?
If you could replicate those same feelings, would you?
If you answered in the affirmative, congrats. You have just defined the type of job you want.
You can get to the same conclusion by thinking of the worst job you have ever had to determine what you don't want. It is just important to understand what you will not tolerate in a place where you spend a third of your life.
If you have come this far and have not yet had a positive work experience, think about your passions, or the skills (hard skills and inherent skills) you have.
5. Recognize and Overcome Obstacles
There are two types of obstacles:
Real: Actual things getting in your way of achieving your goals in this very instant. Such real obstacles may include money, skillset, physical ability, etc. Sometimes these can be overcome in time and this should be explored.
Perceived: Obstacles that are not fact-based. FEAR. Assumptions. Limiting beliefs. Those little voices in our heads protecting us from failure, protecting us from success, verbalizing assumptions that others have of our decisions or planting doubts about our capabilities.
Fear, uncertainty and doubt (aka: FUD Factor) is probably the largest barrier to accomplishing step #1, the act of making a decision and putting things into motion.
One thing is for certain: You will absolutely fail if you don't try.
Identifying and working through them is a great challenge, but once conquered, you will have the courage and confidence to make that change!
6. Leverage Your Contacts
In today’s world of social media we tend to believe that we have 1000 “friends” or contacts. Networking isn’t necessarily about how many people we know, but how many mutually beneficial relationships we have that can help us grow and succeed.
Consider how well-connected you are to your professional contacts. Take the time to go through each of them and determine your relationship with them - regardless how much time has passed since your last communication. Take Into account you rapport with one another and the quality of your personal and/or professional. The stronger the bond and the greater the mutual respect, the more valuable that connection may be, and the greater likelihood they will be willing to help you in your search for that perfect job. Believe it or not, people want to help; people want to be a part of your success.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, tell people what you are looking to do and ask for help.
7. Be Deliberate
Be deliberate in your decision and do your research. The reason to make a change may simply be to find something more challenging, or to follow your passion. You may also be in a position where this change was involuntary. If you feel pressured to find a job, bear in mind the importance of truly reflecting on what it is you want, what it is that will provide fulfillment and that this may be an opportunity for you to create your own path in order to reach your professional and/or financial goals.
Do your research. This may include researching companies, roles and the responsibilities that come with those roles, company culture, management practices and career paths. It should also include self-reflection of your values and your unfair advantage (“value”). Don’t settle.
Take your time. Think about what you want. Research. Revisit. Repeat. Talk it over with your trusted advisors.
Research is important to understand the pros and cons of a job change. Your research may include:
Discussion with your contacts who are in a role or company in which you have interest.
Informational interviews. Understand what this new job will entail and what is required to get it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have ALL the “required” skillsets. Hard skills can be learned. Ask questions about the company to ensure that it meets all YOUR requirements. Don’t forget: Employment is a two-way street.
Volunteer/Intern. There is no better way to learn than to have hands-on experience. If at all possible, volunteer your time to work on a project in a field that interests you. Adult internships, or "returnships" are becoming more common for those who have been out of work for a while and want to "test the waters" before jumping in head-first. To read more about adult internships, click here.
Google it. There are many sites that can give you insight to career changes, corporate culture, average salaries, location, etc. Quora, GlassDoor, Salary.com, etc.
8. Be Practical
In addition to identifying what it is that you really want, it’s important to be practical. Practicality includes acknowledging what you are able to sacrifice in order to make a change. Things to consider:
Finances – Be realistic with your financial responsibilities in the present as well as in your future. Talk it over with those who may be affected by this change, especially if there will be a decrease in pay over the long term. Discuss any apprehension that may arise. Are those fears real or perceived? It’s a good idea to talk it over with your financial advisor as well.
Lifestyle – If you make a career change, understand how it may affect your lifestyle and acknowledge what that really means for you and those who will be influenced by this change.
Location – Relocation could be an exciting opportunity for some, but it may not be practical for others. Family obligations may make relocation an impossibility for others.
Motivation – Understand the motivation behind the change. Make sure it is something you want, and not to please someone else or feed the expectations of others. If you aren’t excited about this new opportunity, be honest with yourself.
If you need help with any of these steps, schedule time with me here to discuss what it is you want to achieve. Through the coaching process, we will work together to help you with the following:
Define your vision and direction
Review and reconstruct your plan
Evaluate your environments to ensure success
Assess your skillsets, and
Master that mindset
Dare to DREAM and let me help you make those dreams come true! Without question,
The greatest opportunities ARE on the other side of change.
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