Knowing if a Career Change is Right for You

I think 2022 will go down as the year that we spoke more about our careers than any other year in history. Some recent polls and research prove this point: 

  • More than ⅓ of Americans have changed jobs during the pandemic found a PBS/NPR poll
  • According to LinkedIn, there was an 88% year-over-year increase in hires in 2022.
  • Microsoft research determined that 41% of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year and 46% say they’re likely to move because they can now work remotely.

If you have been considering changing jobs, careers, or industries, it will be important for you to do your homework to determine if making a move is right for you now. Deciding you want to make the change is the first step. Creating a life that you have dreamed of and planned for is exciting and holds great possibilities. Most importantly, a career can lead to much personal growth, happiness, and success if it’s aligned with your passion and gifts. Remember grit is the most important determinant of success rather than other factors such as age, education, experience, etc.

If you are still debating the issue or procrastinating I find it’s helpful to look at some of the roadblocks that hold us back and use that to inform your decision. It can be easy to come up with reasons why not to do things or make changes. Not letting fear, negativity, or uncertainty about the future hold you back from your potential is critical. Growth does not happen by saying no. Rid yourself of fear and negativity, and avoid what holds many back.

What Holds People Back from Career Changes 

Negative Thinking  

We often fill our heads with stories that are untrue or focus on the worst-case scenario. Those “what if” moments. What if I try something new and I fail? What if the new industry I move into is harder to learn than I anticipate? What if my new team does not like me? Instead, focus on the positives around growth, learning opportunities, and building a better future. If you need inspiration, I follow The Success Club on Instagram and there are great motivational quotes.

A number of years ago, I was asked to become the speechwriter for my company’s CEO. I was hesitant about taking the role since writing speeches was not in my wheelhouse, but my apprehension was balanced by the excitement of the challenge and opportunity. My partner and I spoke about the role and he had the attitude I should go for it and step out of my comfort zone. After I came to that conclusion myself, I jumped in with two feet and learned along the way. In retrospect, it was one of the most fun jobs of my career. 

Remind yourself of the positive perspectives – what if I succeed wildly and love this new role, what if this new career gives me much more fulfillment, what if I learn new skills I can apply for years? Focus on the positive and fill your head with possibilities instead of negative and fearful thoughts.

You Don’t Know What You Want

Much of life’s happiness can be in the self-discovery process. Once you get to know yourself and pursue the life you imagined with gusto, it can be very rewarding. The key is knowing what makes you fulfilled. Think outside of the conventional box to create that life. This is your story. It is not the story that might have been planted in your head by those around you. You need to get crystal clear about what you want, write it down, believe in it, and pursue it with all your passion. 

During any career transition, I revisit my rolling purpose document that I’ve kept for the past decade. I really enjoy building off of this document, since I can look back at how far I’ve come and also reconfirm that my core beliefs are guiding me. There are three components of this document – 1. My goals for the coming year/s, 2. My observations and lessons learned this year, and 3. Evaluation if I’ve. made the strides I want to become the best version of myself? Writing down what I want has been critical for me in order to make this life real. 

As I’ve shared in a past post, one of the best resources to get clear about who you are and what you want is a book named Designing Your Life where you answer questions such as:

  • Why do we work?
  • What does work mean?
  • What defines good or worthwhile work?
  • What’s the relationship between work and money?
  • How does work relate to the individual and society?
  • What do experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with it?

The Designing Your Life process is an excellent starting point if you are unsure how to get going.

Don’t Expect Linear Progress

When you find yourself saying you can’t do something, or I’ve always done it this way or my life is good enough, it is time for a reset. Trying something new is what builds character and moves you a step closer to your dreams. Remember that life is rarely a linear path where everything lines up just perfectly step after step. Sometimes we need to move backward or sideways in the journey to ultimately get back on track and move forward. Don’t let the reasons not to pursue things outnumber the reasons to go after the life you want. Stop overthinking and start pursuing one step at a time.

Next week, I’m going to share part two of this blog which are my observations and tips for pursuing the career you want.

In the meantime, make this your year where you align words, dreams, and actions to pursue your career goals. Think about how proud the person you are five or 10 years from now will be of the steps you took in 2023.

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