Changing career - 4 steps to help you make it joyous
I'm going to tell you about the first time I handed in my notice and how I thought it would be the last time. I was in my early twenties and hungry to learn so I left a role I had loved (with a lot of stability), to work at a start-up. I had hope in my heart and determination in my step that this pivot from sales into retail would be my big break. I just knew that the meteoric growth opportunity was months away.
Of course, as with start-ups and job changes, there is a lot we don’t know and so it wasn’t like this at all. Instead, it was a mere four months later that I found myself looking for another career change.
Looking back, I know now that I projected a lot of hope onto that job description, that I read into too many open-ended responsibilities and I made assumptions when I should have just asked. I also was impatient to have a change.
So, this leads us to our first step:
1. Read the job description
And be anal about it. What does it actually say? Do you understand what your working day looks like and do you actively see yourself doing (and enjoying) that work?
The desire to grow had led me to a job role that was, in reality, really ill-fitting for me. Yes, I learned but I also learned a lot in areas I wasn’t interested in, with people I didn’t resonate with. Not ideal. And so, I wasted a lot of time treading water and even more time building my confidence back up once I left. It was a long journey!
Jump forward a few months and I was working for a lovely company in a role that fitted my idea of who I was and who I wanted to become. Each day, new skills of mine were being stretched and I was also doing things I knew I was already good at. Overall, this meant I felt I had a good work balance where I felt challenged yet confident.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t last and, as with everything, change eventually reared its curious-looking head and, as it arrived, my balance was lost and I knew it was time to move on.
2. Wanting to grow isn’t enough
What do you want to grow in? What would you be proud to tell people about your work? Which skills do you already have or enjoy that can support you in making the most out of your working day? Keep building on those skills so that you both enjoy your work but also have epic skills you would want to use in your side hustle or to talk about at your next interview.
So, as fate would have it, I was in the tangled web of career change again. By this point, though the fear of changing career from a few years back had subsided, it had been replaced instead with the fear that I would never feel satisfied at work. Horror crept in and recognising I felt nearing burnout (plus, I got shingles), I stopped.
I took a proper break, I found a coach and I read books like ‘Flow’ and ‘I could do anything, if only I knew what it was’. They were all helpful choices and it wasn’t an overnight process but they all helped me to take a step back.
The trigger that helped line this all up for me though, was an observation from an old colleague. Over dinner, we had been discussing my love for South America and, after a long while of me sharing my stories, he commented on the passion in my voice when I talked about travelling.
He commented that he had never heard me speak like that before and reflected on how inspiring it was to hear. This got me thinking, what are those things I talk about (normally at people) because I just feel so shamelessly passionate about them? And suddenly I had a list of criteria that my next job needed to have. I hadn’t realised it at the time but some of the words I came up with were what coaches would call your values.
Through a very long and winding method, I had come to the conclusion that my work had to align with what I believed in.
3. What can’t you stop talking about?
What values are represented in that topic? How does that value need to show up for you at work and which values or passions are non-negotiable? I really value freedom and independence and that shows up in the fact that I work for myself but also in the fact that I have dedicated my coaching practice to supporting others to find their voice and stand up for what they want for themselves.
And whether it was fate, manifestation, luck or something else, after I had created this list, I got three job offers in things I wanted. And things I actually wanted. Somehow, many years after I had first quit for my big career change, I had finally pieced together the working week I had desired.
Making a career change is a process. There are many practical things we need to take into consideration but there are also many other things we may have overlooked. Taking the time to understand ourselves, our desires and what we can benefit from at that moment in time can be the catalyst to making the next smart move.
These things can not only set us up for success in our career change but also support us when times are turbulent. The things you tell yourself and the environments you put yourself in are also important considerations and so, that brings us to the final step:
4. Keep a list of skills you enjoy
Remember the things you're good at and find ways to keep reinforcing your self-belief. How are you investing in yourself at the moment? Can you get clear on the future you’re creating for yourself? How is your environment and even the smaller details like your work wardrobe, what you eat and who you hang around, supporting you with the career change you want to see?
It may be that we make a career change more than once and that’s OK! But I hope that by using the above questions, you can at least make it a joyous experience with purpose, growth and skills that are relevant to you.
Looking to make a career change? I'd love to work with you on finding that passion and shouting it from the rooftops! Just click on my bio below to get started.