Thinking About A Career Change?

NANCI HOGAN is both a Coach and Director of Thought Leadership here at Thrive. She reflects on a growing trend of people considering a career change, and shares some tips if it’s a trend that applies to you.

Lately I’ve been meeting more and more people in the humanitarian and mission world who are asking whether it’s time to change their job or career. There seem to be a couple of reasons for this: some are facing redundancy, and some have found that Covid-19 has caused them to re-evaluate their overall priorities and purpose in life.  

If you’re facing redundancy, it’s natural to feel grief, depression or discouragement. So take heart (you are neither weird nor defective!) and be assured that these feelings will not last forever. Many people I have coached say that in hindsight, losing their job was the best thing that could have happened to them – it was a catalyst for finding a job better suited to their purpose and abilities. And though this realisation was not immediate – in fact it was a slow, painful process to get there – in the end they were better off.

However, if you’re currently feeling stuck or paralysed by these emotions, I encourage you to speak with a coach or a counsellor to help you move through these emotions. They can assist you to think more clearly about what kinds of roles you should go for and can help you identify the concrete steps and actions that will help you move forward. They can also be a sounding board and provide you with some accountability to ensure that you don’t stay stuck.

So if you’re considering a new role, or even a whole new career, below are seven questions to help you determine whether it might be time for you to make a change. Ask yourself, are you:

1. Bored? Has your job become too routine? Are you itching for a new challenge?

2. Irritable? Are things that normally don’t bother you at work getting to you more and more? Are you complaining and resenting things more often than being positive and rising to the challenge?

3. Restless? Are you feeling restless but can’t put their finger on why?

4. Procrastinating? Has your creativity and imagination dried up when it comes to planning the next few months or years in your work?

5. Less motivated? Do you live for the weekend? Do you dread Monday mornings? Are you finding it harder to get out of bed in the morning?

6. Experiencing safeguarding issues? Are you in a toxic workplace? Is there bullying or discrimination?

7. Feeling Unfulfilled? Do you have a sense that your work is meaningless or not in line with your purpose and values?

If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more of the above, it may be time to think about changing jobs, organisation or both. Here are six more questions to help you think about what might be next:

1. What would your ideal job be if money weren’t a factor? Once you narrow it down, are there aspects of this you can do in your current job? Or could you volunteer part time for a charity and do some of the things this job encompasses?

2. What are the non-negotiable values in your life? List three or four of them. Are you compromising these values in your current role? If so, you will likely feel uneasy. It is so important to choose roles that are in line with your core values. If you don’t, you may experience physical or mental health issues.

3. What are your passions? What do you love doing, whether in your personal life, your professional life or both? Personally, I love gathering information about all kinds of things and curating it for people who need it (e.g. when my mother contracted pancreatic cancer, I researched it thoroughly and was able to provide her and my family information about her disease).

4. What themes or ‘golden thread’ unites all that you do? If you were to write your life as a story, what themes crop up? Do you like helping people with practical things? (e.g. I have a friend who always responds practically to the human need need around her – she is like this in her personal and professional life).

5. What is your ‘personal brand’ or unique selling point? What unique skills and experience can you take to each job you do? Knowing this can help you discern which roles to apply for in the first place. You may even be able to create a role for yourself in an organisation by persuading them that they need you even when they haven’t advertised a role!

6. What’s your purpose? Answering all these questions above will help you begin to identify your purpose i.e. the things that give your life meaning and significance. It needn’t be a grand over-arching purpose, but what are the little things that give your life meaning, purpose and value? People whose work aligns with this tend to feel tremendous job satisfaction and a sense of personal fulfilment. What would that look like for you?

The Goal: Convergence

As you answer these questions you want to find your personal sweet spot. This will be where your unique self aligns with what the world needs and what someone will pay you to do.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t stay stuck. There is lots of support out there to help you, so take that first step!

Could career coaching help you work out what’s next? Book a free half hour consultation with Nanci by emailing her nanci.hogan@thrive-worldwide.

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