In this article I explore the questions to ask yourself before you consider a career change. If you ask yourself these questions and do the work, it will increase the probability of you taking the required actions to get more satisfaction and reward from your career.
My mission is to help you achieve confidence and success in your career. As an experienced Career Practitioner I spend most of my days having conversations with people who have so many thoughts circling in their heads. They feel undervalued by their employers or have simply lost that loving feeling towards their work and believe it’s time to consider a different career path. In other cases they want to escape a job they hate, or they have a toxic workplace culture and they worry that this will stop them from securing future job opportunities in other organisations.
The problem with feeling this way is that it’s often hard to ‘see straight’. Without my guidance I have seen many people resign from their jobs in frustration, as a way to protect or maintain their sanity, or apply for the wrong types of jobs. In both cases, this action is taken because they mistakenly think leaving is their only way to make a change.
But this is not you!
You are more methodical and understand that change takes time and you need to carefully research and consider your options before leaving gainful employment.
You know not to apply for roles that won’t serve you well in the medium to longer term.
You know you need to mix things up and make a change but you’re not sure where to start.
If I am describing you, I’m so glad you found me! If I’m not describing you, but you’d like to change, you’re welcome to read on too.
Right & Wrong Reasons for Changing Careers
Making the decision to change careers is not for the faint hearted. A better way to describe a career change is a ‘career transition’ or even a ‘career transformation’. It takes time and a lot of hard work, which is worth it if you carefully consider your reasons for change and the steps you need to take.
The good news is that there’s no right or wrong reason for wanting to make a change in career direction. Some say change is better than a holiday, but when it comes to changing careers there is a lot more involved than booking a trip and getting travel insurance.
Some people are not happy in their current career and do not see themselves settled in that industry for at least 5 years.
Some people want to change careers because they are not satisfied with the income generated by their current career.
Some people change careers because they’re bored of the routine day-to-day work in their current profession.
Some people are seeking a work life balance lifestyle and their current role does not allow for this.
What’s important is that you’ve acknowledged that you may need to make some sort of change and you’re willing to reflect on whether changing careers is for you.
The decision to change your career is not an easy one. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration before you make the leap. It’s important to do your research and prepare yourself for any potential obstacles that you might face.
The more you know about the factors that will impact your career change, the more prepared you will be to handle them. You know the saying – fail to plan, plan to fail.
Create the right environment as you answer these questions
It is so important for you to acknowledge that unsettled feeling you have about your current role, desire for change and prospective job opportunities. You need to do the necessary reflection and consider your answers to these questions before embarking on a career change.
By answering these questions you will be better equipped to figure out whether a career change is for you or not.
Let’s get ready to get started.
I’d like you to get a piece of paper, or even a journal, your favourite pen and sit in a quiet and private spot where you will not be interrupted. You may even like to pour yourself a refreshing glass of water or a comforting cup of your favourite tea.
Take a few deep breaths to acknowledge and honour this time with yourself and then write each of these questions (and your answers) on the paper or in the journal.
Let your words flow freely.
If you do not like writing, you may prefer to say this out aloud. Ask yourself the question out aloud and then share your answer out aloud. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s only you who’s listening.
The beauty of taking the time to do this is that what you write or say may surprise you!
And that’s the point of this exercise.
When you dig deep and spend this sacred time with yourself, you are allowing yourself to really consider if career change is the right thing for you.
15 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Consider a Career change
- Why am I considering a career change?
- What do I want in my next role?
- What are the specific career goals I would like to achieve?
- What skillsets can be put to better use elsewhere?
- Would I really be happier somewhere else?
- Why is now the right time to make a change?
- What other changes should I be considering as well, or instead?
- What emotions am I feeling about my desire for change?*
- How are these emotions helping or hindering me?
- How can I use previous experiences with managing change to help me now?
- What might prevent me from moving forward with my plan?
- What steps can I take to prepare for the transition?
- What resources do I need to make the change?
- Who else could help me as I explore this?
- How badly do I want to make this change?
Your answers to these questions will help you decide whether a career change is for you. Once you’ve answered these questions, sit quietly and take some deep breaths. While there’s no harm in making a list of your actions as you settle on your decision, do let this exercise settle within you over the next few days before taking any drastic action.
Once you are clear that a career change is for you, make a plan, get your resources updated and start your new journey. And if you need any help along the way, please ask!
*If you’re having trouble naming your emotions, please refer to this List of Core Emotions, thanks to Brené Brown.
I am a passionate Career Coach who works with individuals in the explore and search phase of their career journey, helping you realise your strengths through my career coaching and training programs. I enjoy showing people the path to greater career satisfaction and providing insight and tools to help you make your next career move.