As the end of the tax year approaches and you have to think about doing your job appraisal, it might make sense to give your whole career direction a thorough once-over. Are you on the right path? Do you need a change of career? Here’s how to look before you make your leap.
January is the most popular month in which to make a job application, and, according to recruiters, about four million people across the UK are kicking off their job search around about now. According to recent research, more than half of UK workers have more than just a change of office scenery in mind, and would like to completely change career.
This can feel like a huge gamble. Taking a new direction will involve convincing a lot of people — employers, investors, potential colleagues, your friends and family employer that you can do the work. So the first step is to be sure that you are in the wrong job.
Here are the five key questions to ask yourself before you make the leap”
Are you still learning?
When you are learning new things in your work, your cv is growing and developing. The moment you stop learning is when your job can turn into a dead-end and you need to think about escape routes.
Do you like the people you work with?
Thirty per cent, or about a third of your life, is spent at work so if you do not feel aligned to your colleagues then that is a large chunk of time to be with people you don’t feel you can be yourself with.
Do you respect your manager and the organisation you are in?
If the aims and goals of your bosses are not ones that you would espouse yourself then it makes more sense easier to leave and find a working environment you can believe in rather than change your ethics and values
Are your ideas welcome and appreciated?
If you are not able to contribute to the team and your initiatives and thoughts are always rebuffed, your cv and your opportunities become static.
Are Sunday nights painful?
If you don’t feel you can be you when you return to work on Monday and you dread the start of the working week every single Sunday a change might be in order.
Having examined the idea of changing career and decided to go for it you need to decide what your new work direction will be. Most people, when they think about their dream job, imagine they will declare what they want to do and someone will offer them a job in that field, but that’s not how it works. The vast majority of people who describe themselves as having the dream job, designed the role themselves. You have to decide what constitutes your dream job and then go after the components systematically.
If you seek advice, people will mostly tell you to ‘follow your passion’ or ‘do what you love,’ but that is not always helpful. Not everybody feels love for passion for their work, they must just like or merely tolerate the experiences they’ve had so far.
We all want to choose a career that will make us happy, but how can we know what that is? Psychological research suggests that humans are quite bad at predicting how they will feel when doing something in the future. It’s not hard to find someone who started out thinking that they would love their chosen profession, only to wind up hating it. In fairness, how are you supposed to know if you will be happy as an investment banker, or an engineer, or a chef, or a teacher, if you haven’t actually experienced it yet?
So instead of using ‘passion’ or imagined future happiness as your guides choose a career based on your skills and values. Hopefully you will have already built some sense of what those are so this is a much better starting place.
Next think about your motivation: do you have a promotion focus? Or are your prevention-focused?
Promotion focus is when your goals are all about money, achievement, rewards, promotion and what we will gain if we pick a certain path.
Prevention focus is if you are moved by the ideas of stability, security, maintaining status, avoiding risk and hanging on to what you have been working so hard for.
Everyone has a little of both promotion and prevention motivation, but you will have one dominant motivational focus when it comes to your work life. It is important to understand which you are and work with the specific strengths and weaknesses this gives you.
And remember not every career path is a straight line. In fact fewer and fewer career paths are straight lines these days but if you set your mind to it you will get there!
If you would like to effect a change in your life and need to discuss the next step or work on your motivations with a trained counsellor or psychotherapist, call 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected] for a confidential appointment.