You wake up in the morning and feel physically sick going into work. You spend more time on the internet at work than performing your job duties. You’ve feel completely disinterested in your work. You’re the bad apple at your job complaining always about something. You find yourself volunteering to do what you love often. You self sabotage when climbing up your organization’s latter. These are all signs that it may be time for a change.
I don’t believe that Americans typically pursue their passions at the onset. The Land of Make Believe, often times dictates what types of careers we choose. We take jobs for various reasons; money, location, love, status, and many other reasons besides “we simply enjoy the work”. Once we solve our initial reason for pursuing that career, the truth wants to come out. Some find that they would rather teach than practice law, or design clothing instead of act, or start a technology company instead of be an accountant.
Finding purpose and passion is the subject of thousands of books, talk shows and blogs. Most are looking for it and eventually the truth wins. By the time the truth shows up or our priorities change, life has changed also. We usually have more bills and/or families, and/or other responsibilities that make it difficult make a change. Sometimes, we’ve just been in the gear for too long.
If you’re a Gen Xer, like myself, then having more than more than one career is in the stars for you, per many researchers. However, I’m not just talking about having a new job or career. I’m talking about doing something you love. Having had a few careers in corporate environments, having my truth come to the forefront and now running my business, I can empathize. Prior to leaving corporate america, it took some real soul searching. I was not a spring chicken, I had two children and real responsibilities. But, most of all I had a unquenchable thirst to live true.
Before making a move to my next career, I wanted to be sure that I was making a good move. Whether you’re going from one organization to another or venturing out on your own, changing careers takes knowledge, planning, commitment and presence. The first order of business is assessing what prompted the want for a change. Sometimes, through taking an honest look at your circumstances, you may come to realize that there is purpose and passion where you are. Other times, you realize the need for real change.
The first step is understanding the elements of an environment where you would thrive the most. For example, if you thrive where there is variety in your day, then putting yourself in an environment that is built on routine, may impede your success. Or, if you are a problem solver then taking a position that calls for applying old ways to new situations, is probably not your best environment. Often times this process will assist you in discovering what prompted the want for a career change. Some of the other factors to consider in your decision to change careers are your knowledge base, future company culture, current skill set, skills to acquire and if a career change is actually what you want.
If you are unclear about what you want to do next, and all you know is that you want out of what you’re currently doing, take some time to assess what you’re good at, what you like to do and what people engage you to do. There is truth here.
Once you’ve gotten a clear picture of where your purpose and passion can be found, the next steps are relatively easy in comparison. Ensure that you can make your current skills relatable, have your resume updated, network for opportunities, save money if going out on your own, and stay focused in your current position. You never know who you’ll need in the future. Your resume should list transitional skills or new skills that would give the potential employer confidence that you are able to succeed in your new position. Also, have your elevator pitch ready. Your new employers will want to know why you’re making the change.
Lastly, I’ll just mention that being mindful of the reason for the want to change is the most important part of the assessment. Sometimes, a new project, an understanding of your current company’s culture, a realization that the grass is not greener or simply asking for the types of assignments that your passionate about, in your current organization, can make all the difference. Or, a career change could be on the horizon.
Here’s to shifting gears.
Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a communications and brand management firm. Email her at: [email protected] Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost. Coming soon www.monicacost.com