Career development is a lifelong endeavor, an evolution of goals and values and expertise. If you have not reached the level of success in your current path that you know yourself to be capable of, then it could be time for a change. Reinventing your professional life could be just what you need to shake yourself out of a rut and start living your best life.
Navigating any major change in your life requires about equal parts self-awareness, planning and the courage to plunge into the unknown. Before you hand in your notice, consider the following questions:
What are your motivations?
Why do you want to change your career? Discerning the problem will make the solution much clearer. What is it, exactly, that you’d like to change?
Are you feeling undervalued, are you not progressing as you’d like, unsatisfied with your work-life balance or are you not meshing with the office culture?
Is your work misaligned with your personal values? Have you lost interest in it? Are you one of those people who crave novelty for its own sake?
What would make your working life more fulfilling?
A happy career marries what you are good at and what is important to you. Think about when you were at your best, and how you can be at your best more of the time.
What do you want from your career? What are your values? What sort of work would give your life meaning? What do you have to give back?
Make a list of your career goals. Elucidate, in detail, what your ideal job looks like.
What are your existing skills and do you want to use them?
Can you transfer to a different role that utilizes your current skill set or would you need to retrain? Are you willing to go back to school, or to take a cut in pay? How much money to do you need to make?
So, you’re motivated to make a change and you know what you’d like to do instead. Now what?
There are myriad ways you can shake up your professional life:
- If you enjoy the work but dislike the office culture, consider a similar role with a different organization.
- A lateral move within your current organization. A new role may utilize your skills in a more interesting way.
- A similar role in a different country.
- A completely different career.
Decide which option is the best for you, and think about the steps you will need to get there. Do you need to take a course? Volunteer somewhere? Network? All of the above? Make a clear, step-by-step action plan with realistic deadlines to get you where you want to go.
And ask for help. Talk to people you know, join relevant professional groups, ask career counsellors for advice and attend networking events.
Make it happen.
“A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd