The First Step To Career Change in 2011
January is a time when our minds naturally seem to turn to career change. So many of us reappraise where we are heading in life at the turn of the year and frequently, we don't like the answer.
But where to start?
At the risk of wearing out an already tired cliche, career change is a journey. And any journey begins by understanding where exactly we are in the first place.
So what exactly is the issue with your current career? For example, my clients present to me with different problems. Most often they:
- Can't move into the area they really want to get into
- Hate their job but don't know what else they could do
- Fear change even more than they hate their job
- 'Just wonder' what else might be out there (read: are screaming at the meaninglessness of their current jobs)
- Feel overwhelmed by the choices that seem to be out there and unsure of how to choose between them
- Have lost confidence in themselves / are struggling with anxiety, works stress, even depression
- Just simply feel 'stuck' and like they're going round and round in circles.
Some people also feel more than one of these, some may even have the full house. But identifying where you are and facing up to the reality of the present is an essential first step to taking control over your career change.
I suggest finding a place which is quiet and still. Think about your current situation in all its nuanced complexity. Then, consider the following questions:
- What precisely is wrong with your current job (list the reasons)?
- In each case, what would be better or preferable?
- When have you experienced better or ideal working conditions? What were you doing?
- What would happen if nothing changed? How would you feel, both in the short term and long term.
- What are the emotions and thoughts you are feeling about your career? List them.
- What's right with your career?
I think it's also a good idea to do a number of psychological tests, to establish a baseline of how you're feeling.
My final suggestion is to write a 3 page autobiography of your life so far up to and including your current job. Try to include the forces that have shaped you, the main relationships, the major decisions, the highlights, lowlights and the factors that feel important in your life to date. From this, extract what you have learnt about how you got where you are. The results are often revealing.
This approach will help you to face up to the reality of the present moment, as it is. If you can do that, then you will be well on your way to an effective career change.
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