When should i consider a career change?

When should i consider a career change?

Procrastination

We all do it, especially for those little things in life, tomorrow seems a much more suitable time than right now! But what about the big things in life…. Our careers.

How often do we put off talking and thinking about our careers?

I suspect we all like to complain, to a certain extent, about our jobs; but when should the odd grumble turn into action?

We are all different and as such, clearly some complain more than others and some are more content with a less than perfect job. Many of us may think and talk about doing something about our careers but yet it is too easy to put it off for another day, another week, or another year. So when is enough enough? When should we take action and what is the first step? Is it looking at job sites, updating our CV?

If we were to measure job satisfaction as a percentage should we consider a move when 50%, 75% or 100% satisfied?  

 Of course the reality is that no one solution is applicable to all but the following is worth bearing in mind:

  1. The unhappiness trap: too many people move jobs when they are unhappy. Perhaps they are running away from people, personalities and company cultures. Perhaps they are running away from boring repetitive projects, or a failure to get ahead in their organisation. Moving for negative reasons can be dangerous.
  2. The immediate gain trap: too many of us move jobs for short term gain, a better salary, a more convenient location, a promotion, more exciting projects. Again moving for short term gain can be dangerous.
  3. The happiness trap: but almost worst of all are the people who don’t ever consider a move because they are happy. They love their work, they get the best projects, they get the pay rises and promotions and they have a vibrant social network within work.

Whilst most probably move for a combination of points one and two the first step shouldn’t be moving jobs but working out what you want and what you are working towards. The best time to consider your career is when you are happy and fulfilled. Short term emotional push and pull factors are then less likely to cloud your judgement. So in actual fact it’s not about whether you are 50% or 100% satisfied with work because it is so hard to determine whether a new job is right unless you know what you’re working towards.

Too many of us only have a vague career plan based on conventional perceptions of “success.” Success isn’t necessarily more money and more responsibility but rather the particular job that gives you and your family what you want. The two are very different. For example more money and more responsibility often comes with more travel, more stress, longer hours and perhaps a role you never trained for and don’t even like.

Therefore the first step, and what I am urging you to take action on this week, is to think about your career. It is almost impossible to truly ascertain whether you should or shouldn’t move jobs without knowing what you are working towards. How are you defining success? What is going to make you happy and fulfilled. What energises you? What career path will best give you what you want whilst still providing the financial rewards and flexibility you require to maintain the lifestyle you want for you and your family.

It’s not about procrastinating on a job move but rather not procrastinating on discussing the best career path for yourself. Whilst most reading this I suspect are in the unhappiness trap, they are most likely to take action. It is those in the happiness trap who actually most need to take action. All too often those in the happiness trap don’t think about their career until it is too late and they have headed off down a path that may not be the one best suited to them.

We should all, on a regular basis sit down with career mentors, friends and family to discuss what we are working towards. Which future job do we want? Do we truly understand what this job entails and is this right for our unique requirements?

Don’t procrastinate, start thinking today. Talk to someone you trust who understands your industry. Take action this week; not in terms of moving employers but rather in thinking about what you are working towards. Only then can you ascertain whether a move is right. The grass often isn’t greener on the other side of the fence and sometimes we need to make changes within ourselves and ensure we have considered all relevant factors where we are before moving. Ultimately however, if we know what we are working towards and what is important to us, it becomes pretty easy to determine where we need to be to best get there.

If you are an Architect, Engineer or Construction professional; CTC are always available to listen and help you work out what you are working towards and how best to get there. The first step is talking not moving so don’t procrastinate, think and talk about what you want this week.