Each January we all make resolutions on ways we can be our best selves in the new year. For those of us who are starting to feel like our jobs are getting a little stale and are considering looking for a new one, here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding if a career change is right for you:
We’ve all been there. Not every day at work can be a great day, and every job has natural peaks and valleys. However, when deciding to leave a company, it is important not to conflate a bad day with long-term trends.
Reflect on what is spurring on the desire to seek out new opportunities.
What is the driving force that is making you consider looking for a new job?
Is a seasonal increase in workload or conflict with a colleague prompting the desire to move, or did something larger and more permanent happen like a department restructure that limits your opportunity for workplace advancement?
The next step in your career should move you in a positive direction toward your career goals.
What is Motivating Your Decision?
Emotions –especially negative ones –can often skew our perception of a situation and can impede our decision-making abilities.
Consider how long you have been considering a change in careers?
If it seems like you are seeking a new job to get away from something negative as opposed to moving towards something positive, you may want to take a step back until cooler heads can prevail.
What Is the Impact of Changing Jobs, Both Short and Long-Term?
When you are considering leaving a job, it is also important to think about what the next step of your career will be.
What does your next position look like and what will the financial, physical, emotional and time-related impacts be on your life?
Consider what may change in your life once you start a new job, and ask yourself if that is something you want, or perhaps need.
Do You Know What Kind of Role Would Be the Best Fit for You?
Ultimately, the next step in your career should move you in a positive direction toward your career goals. If you don’t have a clear idea of what that step looks like and/or if the next step won’t enhance your life for the better, this may be a sign that you are looking to change careers for the wrong reasons.
What Is Important to You?
Moving into a new position or career requires reflecting on yourself personally as much as it does your current professional situation. In order to ensure you do not move from one unhappy situation to another, reflection on your professional needs is important.
Examine your past experiences, and try to identify what kinds of responsibilities you want in your next job and what culture(s) and team dynamics you thrive in. This information will give you a good starting point for the types of positions to investigate and the types of companies you seek out.
Do your research about companies that align with what you’re looking for in your next position. It doesn’t hurt to ask questions and research a company/position to determine if your expectations match the reality of working in this position/company on a day-to-day basis.
When You Think It’s Time for a Change
If, after thorough consideration, you have determined it is time for a job and/or career change, be sure you can confidently answer the following:
- Why are you looking to change roles/industries?
- Is your desire to advance yourself professionally or remove yourself from an unhappy job and/or workplace?
- What are you looking for in your next role?
- What values are important to you?
- Have you done your research on various roles that align with these values?
- Make a shortlist of “ideal” companies and research what their culture is like
- Network and connect with professionals who have been in these roles
- Do your expectations of a new job align with the reality of the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
The decision to change careers can get very intimidating very fast. If you are ready to dive into the job pool, take it one step at a time, and don’t rush your decision. Be sure you are, at every step of the way, making a decision that is best for you and your professional needs and don’t let things like anxiety or negative emotions from current workplace conflicts compromise these needs.
Your professional career impacts your life in more ways than you may realize, so taking the time to ask yourself questions about what is best for you personally and professionally is vital in order to make the best decision for you.