Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.
Point to Ponder:
It’s worth aiming for a job with a quick and simple commute. Having one will boost your happiness.
One of the most common reasons clients come to a coach is to figure out how to make the leap from a career they tolerate to a career they love. I get it. I made my first major career transition when I left corporate America in 1997 to launch my own PR firm. And another one in 2001 when I jumped out of PR all together to pursue my passion and calling—inspiring others to live more fulfilling lives.
If you’ve thought at all about changing careers, coach yourself with these five questions before you make a career transition:
- Do I really want a whole new career or just a new situation?
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Think back to a time in your career when you felt enthusiastic about your work. Were you in the same field? What would it take to use more of the strengths and skills you used in that favorable scenario? If you’ve never been enthusiastic about your work, and there is no hope for building on the career you’ve already established, then it’s time to look at new options. Have a vision. Write it down.
- What am I missing in my current career that I want in a new one?
Be vivid and specific. If it is more income, name the exact number or range you’re looking for. If it is the ability to use a particular skill set, be clear about what specific talents and abilities you would like to use every day. If it is time with your family, be specific about how much time and when. Do you want to be home with them in the early afternoons? Have more time to take vacations as a family? Rate the importance of each item on your list. What things must be in place for it to be really worthwhile to abandon your current career? Think about compensation, flexibility, location, types of tasks, emotional satisfaction, opportunities and advancement, and whatever else will indicate to you, “Yes! This move is really worth it.”
- What do I have in my current career that I might have to give up in a new one?
The grass often looks greener on the other side…until you get there. Don’t take for granted what you already have. Make a list of what’s good about your current career. Rate the importance of each item on the list just like you rated the importance of the things you’ll gain in a new career. Do the pros really outweigh the cons? Will what you gain outweigh what you give up?
- Do I have the “real scoop” on the new career?
It can be easy, especially when frustrated in your current career, to idealize what it will be like to land in a new field. However, your expectations could be dead wrong. The only way to know is to talk to the people who are already there. Talk to more than one person—preferably at least three. Have a standard list of questions you want answers to. Ask the same questions of each person so you can get multiple perspectives.
- Can I leverage my experience so that I am not starting from scratch?
Ideally, some of your experience and background will be relevant to your new career. If there is any way to make that experience count, do your best to leverage it. If you’re finding it difficult to connect the dots between your experience to date and your new career goal, talk to a career coach, mentor, or someone already in the field you aspire to. They may be able to see your experience from a different perspective and give you advice on what aspects of your background to play up as you seek opportunities in your new field.