In hard times, like the ones we go through, jobs seem tougher and not what we were expecting; positively connecting and communicating with people seems almost impossible, hence a lot of frustration building up which leads to the decision that the best solution is to change careers. Changing just the company is not enough; it is not the company, it is the job that drives us nuts. We’ve had enough of it all! After doing the same thing for too many years, do we need a radical change?
Fair enough, in some cases that might be the case. But wouldn’t you rather be sure about it? A lot of bad decisions are being made under stress and the outcome could be worst than the starting point.
Few steps should to be taken before a life changing decision is to be made. Tick all the right boxes before closing the door on the old life and embarking on the exciting journey of a new career. Taking the time to understand the real reasons behind such a drastic step is mandatory, in my opinion. Due to my job, I come across a lot of such cases of “out with the old, in with new” only to end up realizing that they addressed the effect and not the actual cause which resulted in them not only being as unhappy as before, but actually much more frustrated.
Here are the 7 steps I recommend you take before you consider changing careers:
Step 1. Divide a piece of paper in two and handwrite on one part the positives and on the other the negatives of the job you are in. Start with the negatives. This way you will let off the negative energy and will allow your mind to better recognize the positives. Also, the negatives should come easier to your mind since they are the reason you are considering career change. Keep in mind that you can also put names on these lists. If you put names, then it might be helpful to write down their position in relation to yours as well. It’s not a must, but it might be helpful later on. Why handwrite? Because it is more personal and makes you think deeper about what you are going to write on that piece of paper. Write down whatever comes to your mind, regardless of how foolish it might seem. You’ll deal with that later.
Step 2. Give it a day or two and then order everything you wrote on each piece of paper according to how important they are to you. In the case of the negatives, start with the ones that annoy you most and end with the ones which bother you least. Same with the positives: start with the ones that make you most happy and end with the ones that make you least happy.
Step 3. Write next to each one how they make you feel: angry, annoyed, irritated, infuriated, disappointed, frustrated, unappreciated, incompetent, etc. Same with the positives: appreciated, competent, happy, confident, etc.
Step 4. Next step is to identify, out of the most annoying ones, which are related only to work and which have a personal trigger or effect attached to them. Do the same with the positives. For example: most annoying is the fact that you work long hours and John, your colleague, just had a baby and can’t stop talking about it. If you would like to have a baby but it is not happening and you are blaming it on the stress of having to work long hours, then the personal component is making you unhappy, not the professional one. If you have to work long hours because of colleagues being made redundant and their work is pilling on the remaining ones, then the trigger is the company’s policies. If you have to do things that require more knowledge and experience than what you possess, then the cause is professional. And remember: don’t panic, it’s not as complicated as it seems!
Step 5. Identify the solutions that would turn the negatives into positives. Be honest and do your best to find as many options as possible, admitting that some of them might lay with the company and some may lay with you. The key is the change in your feelings. Once you believe you found the correct solution to change a negative into a positive, the feeling associated with the negative should turn into a positive one.
Step 6. Decide whether you are willing to work on the solutions you identified, whether you like your job but not the company you work for, or whether you would still want to make a life changing change and go into a completely different direction.
Step 7. Once you made this decision, there is a whole different process to go through in order to understand what you need to do next in order for your decision to be successful, but that is subject to a different post ☺
If you find it difficult to go through the steps by yourself, you could always contact a coach to work with. I would not recommend you do this with a friend or colleague, as the chance that they will influence your responses and alter your real feelings is very high. The result will not be genuine and you might end up doing something entirely inappropriate.
Changing careers is a hard decision to make and a very important one, so take the time to make sure it is what you really want to do. Going through the seven steps I recommend might seem like a lot of work, but wouldn’t you rather do this work beforehand than throwing yourself into a scenario that might not be the right one for you? Please consider this: sometimes it’s wiser to take the time to find and fix an existing problem rather than replace it altogether. Or, to put it literally: “better the devil you know “…