Approximately one-third of our adult lives are spent at work. Think about that for a moment. We spend more time working than any other activity, second only to sleeping. In fact, work time is estimated at about 90,000 hours over a lifetime. That's a huge slice of life... so do love your job!?
How happy we are in our career determines, to a large extent, the quality of our life. Our professional lives can be fulfilling and positive, enriching the rest of our life—or not. We can love what we do in our work and have both a supportive, nurturing home and work environment—or not!
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Job Hunting? Asking: "Should I Make a Career Change?" "Should I Change Jobs?"
Wanting something different for your career life, such as an increased salary, more recognition, or better work-life balance? These may be signs that you have outgrown your existing situation. Or maybe you’re just ready for a change. Choosing to make a change when nothing is pressuring you other than your own desire for more meaningful work can be a tough move to make.
Regardless of the reason, thinking about changing careers or leaving a job can feel intimidating and overwhelming. No matter how good the reason, change isn't always easy.
Steps to Gain Clarity When Making a Big Change
The idea of making a change to your career and looking for a new job raises a lot of questions. Should I change jobs? Will I regret it? Is the change worth the upheaval in my life? How do I start a new career? Where do I begin?
The following steps will give you a starting place and help you sort through the many questions, concerns, and inner conflicts.
STEP 1: Get clear on what you want.
There’s a saying, “The clearer the vision, the stronger the compass.” Getting clear is the first step to any desired change, and this clarity may take time and patience with yourself.
If all you know is that your work is unsatisfying and you are unhappy, take ample time to observe your feelings. Heighten your awareness and notice specifically the people and circumstances whenever you are unhappy. And additional time is often needed if you wish to change career fields altogether so that you can factor in a possible relocation, significant salary change, or how the career change affects your family.
Self-awareness is an essential component of emotional intelligence; it’s also crucial for discerning the direction that is best for you. Your desire IS the needle of your compass pointing to your True North, so listen carefully to your inner murmurings.
Related reading: "How to Make a Change Successfully Using the Eight Keys"
Some things to think about:
- Have you experienced any change or loss personally or professionally that may be affecting your job satisfaction? If so, possibly wait until you rebound before making a job change.
- How does your current work affect your personal relationships and home life?
- What do you enjoy or dislike about your work?
- What interests you and bores you?
- What dreams do you have for your life and career?
- What are the best skills that you also enjoy?
- What does your ideal workday look like?
- What are your values and priorities? What’s needed to live them more fully?
- What are your goals personally and professionally?
- Do you have a supportive network of professional resources, friends, and family if you were to make a change? If not, how can you begin to cultivate one?
Having solid answers to the above questions will help you gain perspective. The clarity you acquire will guide you in developing a concrete plan.
Related Reading: "Are You Sabotaging Your Success? Well, Maybe Not..."
STEP 2: Design a plan to support yourself.
Once you are clear on what you want, you can begin to craft a plan. Planning is key, especially to feel confident in making a change. Maybe you need to gain some new skills before you leave your job. Perhaps you are considering changing fields and need to obtain an additional degree or supplementary training. You might uncover a dream of starting your own business, which could require writing a business plan. Or perhaps you are taking a massive pay cut to pursue a dream and need to save and budget.
Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to a career change. A well-developed and strategically executed plan can help ease the anxiety that will naturally arise. The better the plan, the safer and more confident you’ll feel in any change that you decide to make. A plan gives you solid ground and helps you act while ensuring a successful transition to the right destination.
Step 3: Expect, accept, and embrace the emotions you will feel.
Even the best decisions made for all the right reasons invoke a lot of emotions. Maybe you met your best friend at work, and you’re concerned about how changing jobs will affect your relationship when you don’t see each other every day. Or you have some great benefits at your current employment that are unavailable at your new company, which might create some uneasiness. Some loss goes hand-in-hand with change.
A common and troublesome assumption is thinking that just because you feel some tough emotions that it means you are making a mistake. Not so. As mentioned before, even the best of choices will disrupt your norm. If uncomfortable feelings surface, the planning process will help sort these feelings. And even if you’ve thought through everything and have done all your homework, there still might be a few bumps that you couldn’t have anticipated. The more thoroughly you process feelings as they arise, the more prepared you’ll be for any change you choose.
Related reading: 6 Emotions You’ll Experience During a Job Change
Making big moves in your life takes a lot of courage. Not everyone is willing to put in the effort required to voluntarily change jobs despite being unhappy in their present jobs.
Since our work is such a significant part of our lives and livelihoods, these moves should not be taken lightly. Stay encouraged: It IS possible to craft all areas of your life, including your job, in fulfilling ways.
Taking time to get clear, devise a well-thought-out plan, and prepare for the emotions you will face help. Doing the groundwork will ensure that you feel more confident in your choice to take a leap and be glad that you did.
Be confident in the steps you have made and act when it is right for you.
If you are considering a career or job change and need support in gaining clarity or in the planning process, Heartmanity can help! Reach out at email@example.com or check out Heartmanity for Business for more information