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“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.” Steve Jobs
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?
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:
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
What pros would you add?
Cons of moving
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?
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.” Nelson Mandela.
Rachel Brushfield is an experienced career strategist and coach who helps her clients create a future-proof career.
Book your free complimentary 20-minute consultation with Rachel Brushfield or find her on Linkedin
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