How long have you been in your current job? Are you happy there? Have you been discussing career options with people in your organisation or with friends?
Perhaps you’re someone who complains a lot about your current workplace, or maybe you just feel tired and need some novelty and stimulation. Maybe you are upset as you have just been retrenched, or perhaps even more disappointed you didn’t get selected for a retrenchment payout? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Are there other options within your organisation that could stimulate you?
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Frustration is the emotion that usually compels us to seek new career options. That’s a little sad because the ideal position is that you reach a level of fulfilment in a particular role and then reach out for a new challenge to extend yourself. This can be a reality. Frustration is a prism through which we view our effort versus our results. Take time over the break to get a big picture view. If you can push yourself to view the situation differently you might discover some new possibilities and you might just feel a bit better about it all.
2. Are the problems I’m encountering now going to be at another workplace?
Yes, I’m talking about internal problems. If you consistently have issues with bosses and co-workers and that is fuelling your eagerness to change to another company then maybe it’s time to assess yourself. It can be really tough to be this honest with yourself, and you might even need to bounce the ideas off someone who understands your strained relationships. Who can you talk to over the coming break?
3. Are you looking to leave your job, your company or your manager?
This is possibly the most important question you can ask yourself. It is often said that good people don’t leave a company, they leave a manager. That provides a challenge for the company, but what about you? If you’re being poorly managed then perhaps you should be looking within the organisation for new career options?
4. What is your ideal job?
Career shifts are the easiest they ever have been. Organisations are becoming much more diverse and interested in new approaches. This means you should be taking time out to make notes on your ideal job. Think about the size of organisation, the role you want, the level of control/freedom you want, organisation values, geographic location, salary and industry. Once you map these out you can start to look for a specific set of roles. Without defining your ideal job you are prone to random job-seeking with random results.
5. How employable are you?
Your first response to this question is probably “Very employable!” But think about it from a hiring company’s point of view. Do you have the right qualifications? Do you have the right industry connections? Do you have the right experience? It’s all very well to want to be the CEO of a major telco, but you may have to temper your ideal job in a way that matches your current position.
6. What’s your next step?
If you’re sure that you want to shift your career then make a plan. Continue to improve skills through courses, self-teaching and attending events and seminars. Reach out to people in the field or organisation you want to work in. Set aside some time every day, or every week that is dedicated to career progression. This will mean that if you do work in a role that is no longer appropriate that you have the tools to step out into something new.
Career change is a tough slog. It can be quite harrowing, often leaving us feeling stuck and frustrated. We tie so much of our self-image to our career path that we take setbacks very personally. Forward steps are also exhilarating, and possible career progression is really motivating. Craft a plan and be honest with yourself and you’ll soon be progressing and enjoying work in the way you want to.