Should I stay or should I go?
Should I stay or should I go?
Rachel Brushfield is an experienced career strategist and coach who helps her clients create a future-proof career.
20 years of career coaching with solicitors has shown me that the majority of people don’t make a move until they are on the ‘back foot’, i.e. their job is under threat of redundancy, they are at the ‘end of their tether’ and fed up of being fed up, they are signed off work with stress, their employer is taken over or merges with another organisation, or there is an unwelcome change in leadership, or change in their employer’s strategic priorities. Burn out or excess stress inhibits clarity of thought.
Some of my clients who have found their current workplace unbearable come to me when they have the time, having been signed off work on sick-leave.
Reasons for a lack of career fulfilment include a mismatch between their strengths and their role, the culture doesn’t fit their personal values, what is important to them, the workload is excessive and stressful, or they are ‘pushed out’ e.g. Returners so that their employer avoids having to fund their redundancy. Narcissistic bosses have also featured.
Very few people proactively create a career strategy and have a career plan so that they are on the ‘front foot’. Do you have a career strategy and plan?
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
Common fears about making a career change
A significant amount of time, money and energy is invested in your job/career, and it provides money to fund commitments such as a mortgage or rent, food bills, childcare and much more depending on your individual situation.
Common fears about making a change include:
- Making the wrong decision
- Regretting your decision
- Losing your employment law rights
- Having to ‘start again from scratch’ building new relationships at work
- Proving yourself and earning trust and respect all over again
What would you add?
So, if you currently have a job, and are considering making a career move, should you stay or should you go?
Pros of moving
“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” Seth Godin
- New challenges
- New experience
- Broaden your knowledge
- Extend your future career horizons and possibilities
- Diversify your network
- Push out your comfort zone
- Build your career agility and change competence
- Staying too long with an employer can create perceptions that you don’t like change and aren’t adaptable
What pros would you add?
Cons of moving
- The clock restarts on your employment rights
- The ‘grass may not be greener’
- You may risk ‘going from the frying pan into the fire’
What cons would you add?
How to make the right decision
Use your lawyering skills to do research so that you ensure you make the right decision for you. Thorough due diligence will mitigate any risk. Getting support helps to manage natural fears and break actions into bite size steps. Self-awareness and marketing yourself are essential. In a fast-changing world of work, with a move to contracting and less full time jobs/certainty, career agility is vital, so make sure that you include this as part of your personal development plan.
Staying in your comfort zone may give the illusion of safety, but will it give you what you really want?
- What is my reason for considering changing employers?
- What are the potential risks?
- What are the potential gains?
- How will I know I have made the right career decision next?
- What support would help me to think through my options?
- What is the question I most need to ask myself?
- How can I explore self-employment as an option?
12 tips for your career crossroads
1. Consider discussing an internal career move with your current employer e.g. a secondment or job redesign.
2. Do some deep thinking about whether your dissatisfaction is caused by work or something else in your life and you are projecting this onto your work.
3. Know your own values – what is important to you, so that you can pin-point the cause of frustration and whether you can do anything about it, and make sure you work in a culture in future that suits you.
4. Create a career plan ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ – just in case things don’t work as you had envisaged.
5. Craft some incisive questions to really understand what your potential employer is like, rather than what they say they are like.
6. Do some practical purposeful reflection about what you really want by working with an experienced career coach or attend a careers workshop.
7. ‘Stress test’ your career decision – consider all the different eventualities of what might happen and how you would feel about these scenarios.
8. Create a ‘financial cushion’ should things not turn out according to plan to give yourself some breathing space.
9. Be aware of job, career and skill trends and continually invest in your marketability via continual personal and professional development (CPD).
10. Do your due diligence on your potential employer – use your network to speak to people currently working there and look at Glassdoor to see what it is really like.
11. Road-test your decision – ask to work at your future potential employer for a couple of days to experience it and decide if the culture is right for you.
12. Get a ‘job move buddy’ so that you can support and encourage each other
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
To discuss your concerns about changing job you can contact the LawCare support service on 0800 279 6888
Real stories of people in the legal community who have experienced stress, depression, anxiety and more.