Time for a career change?
Sunday evening and you have that sinking feeling in your stomach again. You do not sleep well because your mind is working over-time wondering what you might find when you “go” into work in the morning. You might even be tempted to check work e-mails “just to reassure” yourself that it is not as bad as you think, which often leads to more difficulty in sleeping. Does any of this sound familiar?
If it does maybe you should start thinking about a change of role. I hear you say 'yes but…'. There are always many reasons that people stay in a job that makes them unhappy, possibly stressed. As human beings we are all great at finding reasons not to change. Change is the unknown and it can be scary, but it can also be amazing, exciting, and fulfilling.
What is stopping you from making the change? From looking for the next opportunity or better still from pursuing your dreams.
What do you need to help you make the right step for you?
Sometimes we all need a push to make the right move. I know I did. After 16 years in a large pharmaceutical company my role was made redundant. I was angry and scared of what life might hold for me next, but I knew deep down that the time was right for me to move on. I had not been happy in my role for some time. Yes, there were aspects that I loved, but on balance these were outweighed by the stuff that made me stressed. It was only after I had left that I realised quite how stressed I had been.
Maybe this is where you find yourself too.
I sought out a coach to help me work out what the right next step for me was. It was awesome to have someone there supporting and challenging me in a non-judgemental way. I held a dream of developing my own coaching skills and setting up by myself. Through the coaching I realised that before I could do that, I had unfinished business in the corporate world, so I focused on finding another corporate role.
Fast forward another three years and I find myself facing redundancy again. This time I turned down the offer of another permanent role as I knew the time was right for me to follow my passion and focus on building my coaching business.
This was a huge step. As the sole breadwinner I felt I was putting my needs before everyone else’s, risking everyone’s security for a dream. Wow, heavy stuff to put on yourself. Would I have to take my son out of his school? How would the bills be paid? Yet still I knew I had to take this step now.
So, what helped me be so clear and focused on this?
- I had taken time to figure out what my passion was.
- I listened to my gut as well as my brain. Too often we overlook or dismiss that ‘gut’ feeling; we should pay more attention to it as it plays an important role in how our mind and body works.
- I had been planning for this for a little while, so had some savings.
- I had over the past three years invested in my coaching skills to get me to the point where I felt credible as a coach.
- I had a great coach beside me, helping me to work through the many wobbles, fears, and challenges that I faced.
'Not all of that is available to me' I hear you say. It may not be, but it may be if you investigate it.
Stopping before you start lets the fear take control. If you find the courage to take the first step you will already start to feel happier and nothing has changed but your attitude!
I would recommend that you start by spending time working out what you enjoy in your job and what you dislike in it. If you feel stressed, figure out exactly what it is that makes you feel this way.
Make three columns – like, dislike, causes stress and list everything that comes to mind. Then leave it for a while, maybe even a few days before going back to it. Read it again, what is missing? What is in the wrong column? Try reading the list out loud to yourself in the mirror; you will be surprised the impact this can have. When you say something out loud it somehow creates more self-awareness. Once you are happy with the list you can move to the next step.
You now have a good idea what you like about your role, what else would you want in your ideal role? List them and again leave it for a while before coming back and taking another look. What is missing? What should not be on there? Refine the list. If it helps start by making a list of what you really would not want in a job, sometimes this is easier.
Now you have written down the attributes of an ideal role. It may be that this looks like your current role, great if it does. You then need to figure out what needs to change to make it work and pluck up the courage to ask for it. Not asking means nothing will change. If you ask, something might.
If your current role looks more like the list of what you would never want in a role then the next step is to start identifying what roles you would like.
Do not constrain your thinking. Start with a curious attitude and investigate what is out there. Talk to different people, research online, read articles about unusual jobs. Remember at this point you have not committed yourself to anything; you are just being curious!
Or maybe you already know what your ideal role is, and something is stopping you making it a reality. Challenging your thinking and trying to understand what is holding you back is critical to enabling you to figure out the first steps.
I really do understand that the stuff holding you back is real and can be huge. Concern about finances, about time, about the family. None of this is to be taken lightly, but there is a way. The fear of the unknown can and will stop you taking a step forward towards a more fulfilled life. You have it within your control to not let it. Take back that control and ‘Dare to Dream’.
Be brave and take that first step. Who knows where it may lead?
You can do this on your own with support of family and friends or you might want support from elsewhere, maybe a coach.
Investing in a coach may seem like an indulgence or an extravagance. Try thinking of it as an investment in your future and it might not be as expensive as you think as many offer discounts. To quote a famous brand “You are worth it.”
The next step in your career is out there, be brave and take the first step to find it.